Press TV argues satellite ban is illegal

UK transmission specialists Arqiva and satellite operator Eutelsat have been accused of “illegally” banning carriage of Iran’s Press TV.  “The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has contracts going back 20 years with Eutelsat, which were renewed for five- or 10-year periods,” IRIB vice president Mohammed Sarafraz was quoted as saying, and he accused Eutelsat that the banning of Press TV and 18 other IRIB channels as being “without legal justification”.

Last month, when similar complaints were made by Iran, Eutelsat’s response was that “This decision was based on reinforced EU Council sanctions and a confirmation by France’s broadcasting authority that the Sahar 1 TV channel that broadcast in IRIB’s multiplex of television and radio services should be permanently switched off.  IRIB has been informed of the termination of its contract.”

Eutelsat is far from alone in banning the channels. Similar bans are in place with SES, Asiasat, Intelsat and others.

Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati has called for the lifting of a ban of Facebook and other social networks in his country, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on November 4th.  But he added that he is not directly responsible for decisions over Facebook, which, along with Twitter, remains banned in Iran.

“Facebook comes under the remit of the Filtering Committee, which is not directly supervised by the Ministry of Culture, and we only have one representative in that committee,” Jannati said in a meeting with people involved with digital media.  “We need to talk to all the people in that [filtering] committee, because not only Facebook, but also other social networks have to be accessible, and there should be no legal constraints to access them.”

Elsewhere in the meeting, Jannati said that “filtering cannot stop people from accessing information,” a separate ISNA report said.  “As we have not succeeded to hinder access to television channels through jamming and prohibition of installing satellite dishes for these channels, we cannot make impact on accessibility to information through filtering,” ISNA quoted the Iranian culture minister as saying.

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