Why is Boris taking money for TfL from Iran’s Press TV?

A little question came to mind when I took a ride on the Tube at the weekend…

It was bloody stupid for Ken Livingstone to get involved with Press TV, a channel backed by the Iranian government. Taking money from stone-throwing bigots isn’t wise when you’re seeking election to the London mayoralty. And as Adam Bienkov points out, it involves associating yourself with some dodgy characters, like cat-chops above, and a disreputable figure associated with SE London – that’s right, disgraced ex-Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Derek Conway.

So why is Boris Johnson taking their money too, in the form of ads on the London Underground network? We know he’s hardly choosy about who TfL gets its money from, but it seems odd to have your campaign team claim an association with Press TV is “embarrassing”, while taking advertising money from them. It may show an admirable commitment to free speech, granted, but I can’t help thinking it’s a bit inconsistent.

6 comments

  1. Imagine the outcry if politicians started choosing who could / couldn’t advertise on our publicly funded transport system.. 😉

  2. “Imagine the outcry if politicians started choosing who could / couldn’t advertise on our publicly funded transport system.. ;)”

    Didn’t Ken do exactly that, telling Sandals that they couldn’t advertise their romantic holidays on the tube because they banned gay couples? And he was entirely right to do so, imo.

  3. I always thought the Sandals one was a bit iffy anyway, as their holidays were largely in countries where homosexuality was either illegal, or likely to result in beatings if discovered.

    To say they have to advertise holidays for gay couples to countries where said couple had a high chance of returning to the UK in matching coffins did seem to be pushing a political point too far.

  4. @Ian: That’s a remarkably paternalistic conception you have of Sandals’ motivations. “We’re concerned that gay people might get beaten up in our flashy Caribbean resorts, so we’re not going to let you take that risk.”

  5. You can’s pick and choose the advertiser’s you use. If you want to ban ad’s from countries which have anti-gay laws that’s about all of Africa & The Middle East. If we start to ban TV stations let’s at least start with Fox?

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