DUBAI, Sept 30 An Iranian jury voted on Sunday to
convict the Reuters news organisation over a video script that
contained an error, Iran's Press TV reported. The final decision
will be made by a judge, who is expected to issue his verdict
In March, the Iranian government suspended the press
accreditation of Reuters staff in Tehran after the publication
of a video script on women's martial arts training that
incorrectly referred to the athletes as "assassins". Reuters
journalists have not been able to report inside Iran since then.
"A jury member at a Tehran penal court told Press TV on
Sunday that the news agency was found guilty of propagating
against the Islamic Republic and disseminating false information
to disturb public opinion," Press TV said in an article on its
It said the court was due to issue its ruling early in
October, adding that Reuters could appeal.
The jury acts in an advisory capacity in this court, and the
final verdict rests with the judge.
"We understand that the jury has stated its view and we now
await the Court's ruling. We do not intend to comment further
until a decision is issued," a Reuters spokesperson said.
Reuters, the news arm of Thomson Reuters, the global news
and information group, corrected the story after the martial
arts club where the video was filmed made a complaint. Reuters
also apologised for the error.
The story's headline, "Thousands of female Ninjas train as
Iran's assassins", was corrected to read "Three thousand women
Ninjas train in Iran".
Reuters' Bureau Chief in Iran, Iranian national Parisa
Hafezi, was subsequently charged on several counts including
spreading lies and propaganda against the establishment. She was
banned from travelling, and her passport was confiscated.
As bureau chief, Hafezi formally leads Reuters' Iran
operations, but is only responsible for the text stories written
by the bureau, not the visuals, captions or scripts produced by
the television journalists or photographers.
Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in March the
company had conducted an internal review after the incorrect TV
script was published and had taken steps to prevent a
"Reuters always strives for the highest standards in
journalism and our policy is to acknowledge errors honestly and
correct them promptly when they occur," he added.
Hafezi joined Reuters as a staff member in 2003, and held
various reporting positions in the Tehran bureau before being
appointed bureau chief in 2009.