Fri Feb 8, 2013 6:21PM
In another flagrant violation of freedom of speech, Iranian channels Press TV and iFilm have been removed from the Galaxy 19 satellite platform. The satellite platform provided broadcast services to the viewers of the 24-hour English-language Iranian news channel, Press TV, and the film channel, iFilm, in the United States and Canada. This is not the first time that Iranian media have been targeted. In January, the Spanish government ordered Madrid’s regional government to stop the broadcast of the Iranian Spanish language channel Hispan TV as of January 21. The move came a month after the Spanish satellite company, Hispasat, terminated the terrestrial broadcast of Hispan TV. Hispasat is partly owned by Eutelsat, whose French-Israeli CEO is blamed for the recent wave of attacks on Iranian media in Europe. Back then, the move was immediately welcomed by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which called it an important development in worldwide efforts to contain Iran's media influence. AJC Executive Director David Harris has acknowledged that the committee had for months been engaged in discussions with the Spaniards over taking Iranian channels off the air. The ban on Press TV and Hispan TV in Spain followed a similar move by France’s Eutelsat, which had already taken several Iranian satellite channels and radio stations off the air, claiming that the channels were removed because of “a wider interpretation of EU regulations.” Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA, which stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels in October 2012, have cited pressure by the European Union as the main reason. However, the European Union has denied the claims by the European satellite companies. TNP/HGH/SS