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US seizure of websites shows Washington's selective view towards speech freedom: MEP

Mick Wallace, an independent Irish Member of the European Parliament (MEP)

An independent Irish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) says the US government’s seizure of multiple websites belonging to Iranian and regional news outlets shows Washington's selective view towards democracy and the freedom of speech.

Mick Wallace made the comment in an interview with Press TV late on Tuesday after the United States government seized around three dozen websites belonging to Iranian and regional news outlets, including the Tehran-based English-language television news network.

Wallace said the United States has a "very selective view towards the freedom of speech and democracy" while accusing other countries of violating such an inalienable right, adding that, "The American regime does not really tolerate dissent and tries to silence it."

Wallace also said the decision of the Americans to close down a long list of news outlets that challenged the US imperialism narrative is a blatant example of the fact that America could no longer boast that it promotes democracy around the world.

"They just do what they want to further American financial insurance and any one trying to challenge them is going to be silenced," he added.

Kevin Barrett, an author, journalist and radio host with a Ph.D. in Islamic and Arabic Studies, also censured the US government's move to seize Press TV's domain.

“The us governing philosophy is a kind of a rabid form of Neo-liberalism which seems to be metastasizing into bullshitism recently," Barrett said.

“Apparently they don’t think that they can debate Press TV’s point of view, they are apparently unable to refute what Press TV is saying, they are unable to win a free and fair debate… the only way they can win the debate is preventing Press TV from presenting its viewpoints,” he added.

Scot Bennett, a political analyst from San Francisco, denounced the move as "illegal" and said the administration of US President Joe Biden was afraid of Press TV's clout.         

"This action is illegal under all forms of law especially international law," Bennett said. "It is very curious why the United States under the Biden administration is so fearful of having Press TV with commentators from America commenting on things." 

The notice, which appeared late Tuesday on the website of English-language television news network Press TV as well as a number of other Iranian and regional news channels, cited US sanctions laws for the seizure and was accompanied by the seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Commerce.

The websites of Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam television news network, Yemen’s al-Masirah TV channel and Bahrain's Lualua television network were also among the targeted outlets.

The US government has not officially commented on the matter, but some reports said the websites might have been hacked.

Press TV has announced that its website will be available on .ir domain.

Over the past years, the United States has for several times taken similar measures against Iranian media outlets.

The US tech giant Google has recurrently taken on Press TV more than any other Iranian outlet given the expanse of its viewership and readership.

In March, Google for the seventh time blocked the English-language news network’s access to its official YouTube account without any prior notice, citing "violations of community guidelines."

The US-based social media giant Facebook also informed Press TV in the same month that its account had been shut down for what it claimed to be the Iranian news channel’s failure to “follow our Community Standards.” The page was reinstated a few days later.

The Tehran-based English-language news network has repeatedly fallen victim to censorship on multiple fronts, including Twitter and Instagram besides Google and its services.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku