Was ‘Coup 53’ Blocked, and by Whom?

Press Release

17 January 2021

Several articles have now appeared claiming that the End of Empire team ‘blocked’ the digital release of the important new documentary, Coup 53. It is high time to lay this canard to rest. We have never blocked Coup 53.

  • In mid-September 2020 ITV Archive, which holds the copyright on footage in the End of Empire: Iran film [from which Coup 53 has drawn 14 minutes of its screen-time], refused to upgrade the archive licence for the film ‘s release on the grounds that Coup 53 “brought Granada TV and its production team  into disrepute”,  in violation of its normal licensing conditions.
  • Amirani Media withdrew the film from cinemas pending resolution of their rights problem. This issue was between ITV Archive and Amirani Media. It was up to Taghi Amirani to solve it.
  • The End of Empire filmmakers had no part in it and no contact whatsoever with ITV.  We had no power to either give or withhold an archive licence and were unaware of what the copyright issue was until November.   
  • Yet Amirani Media, with no justification, outrageously blamed End of Empire filmmakers for ‘blocking’ – even ‘censoring’ Coup 53.  
  • When this claim appeared in an Observer article (1/11/2020) by Vanessa Thorpe,  the editors were forced to correct it in Guardian online versions.  But Taghi Amirani, Coup 53, and others have perpetuated this mendacious claim on Twitter, and other social media platforms.
  • The End of Empire: Iran team has a separate issue with Amirani Media: it concerns the false claims made in Coup 53 that we filmed an MI6 spy when we didn’t, and we then colluded with MI6 on the censorship of this alleged interview and are covering it up.
  • We requested and continue to request that they remove these untruths from their film in the interests of truth and accuracy.
  • Coup 53 was re-released this January after Amirani Media offered ITV Archive some amendments including a “Right to Reply” from the End of Empire team.  The false narrative of the film remains unchanged despite the objections from us and from two key contributors.  

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