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Eutelsat has stopped carrying channels from Iranian state broadcaster IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting). UK-based Arqiva is the service supplier and holds the IRIB contract, and has terminated its contract with IRIB. 19 TV and radio channels are affected, mostly transmitting from Eutelsat’s popular ‘Hotbird’ satellites.
French media regulator, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) started the ball rolling and confirmed that the Iranian channels violated human rights in its transmissions. Earlier this year the EU placed the head of IRIB, Ezzatollah Zarghami, on a list of people ‘sanctioned’ again on human rights terms. Eutelsat says it is duty bound to obey the CSA. The EU, on Monday, approved new swinging sanctions on Iran covering financial transactions, trade, energy and shipping.
Eutelsat, and its broadcasting clients, has also suffered deliberate jamming and interference coming from Iran. Eutelsat is also in dispute with Arabsat over claimed Iranian rights to an orbital slot. On October 4th Eutelsat complained that US and UK news transmissions into Iran were being deliberately jammed.
IRIB condemned the ban, blaming the “US and Zionists” sympathizers and said that the ban violated freedom of speech and that Iran would pursue legal action, although it is doubtful as to where such an action might be started. Iran’s Press TV, already the subject of a similar ban by the UK, German and French regulators, also condemned the move. A report read by the Press TV’s correspondent in a 2am news bulletin Oct 16 said: “This is not the first time that the West is trying to silence the alternative media and stop Iranian broadcasters from commenting on what is going on truly across the world. But this time what is most surprising is that the latest instance of media crackdown comes from the new Nobel Peace laureate.”
Iran TV has also started up a Facebook petition to ‘save’ the channels over Europe.
However, just at the moment both Intelsat and Canada’s Telesat also carry some IRIB channels.