The suppression of pro-resistance media outlets, including Iran’s international English-language service Press TV, by the US government is a “shady act” that points to the complicity of Persian Gulf states, an activist says.
Mohamad Kleit, a Beirut-based journalist and socio-political activist, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday, denouncing both Washington and its Arab allies for the “sudden and strange action” that constitutes a flagrant violation of international law.
He termed the US decision to take down web domains of over 30 Iranian and regional websites as “illogical” at a time when negotiations are underway to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Beside Press TV, Iran's international Arabic-language service, al-Alam, along with Yemen's al-Masirah and domains linked to a branch of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were also shut down by the US Department of Justice last week in a move that drew sharp criticism worldwide.
The Lebanese journalist called out Washington for its duplicitous stance on freedom and democracy, saying “it cannot stand a media outlet that criticizes its policies and interference in other countries’ affairs”.
“Washington is very selective in everything that concerns freedoms, like it goes bonkers and imposes sanctions if a rival country imprisons a journalist or sanctions a newspaper,” Kleit said. “Yet it stays silent when its allies and NATO countries do the same, like when Israel bombs a building full of media offices in Gaza in its latest aggression, or when Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists in the world.”
He said the anti-US and anti-Israel sentiment has grown in the region largely due to unmasking of their destabilizing actions by the pro-resistance media, including Press TV.
“These media outlets have been showing the other side of the story, the one that doesn’t comply with the US policies and that of its allies in the region,” the analyst said.
The US action to arbitrarily censor the Iranian and regional media on flimsy grounds has sparked tremendous outrage and led to a massive backlash.
In a statement, Press TV’s editorial board said the US “hostile measure” shows that not only has it been “defeated by the resistance movement on the ground”, but it has also “lost its narrative-based dominance”.
“Blocking of resistance media outlets is another perilous measure that the regime in Washington erroneously thinks will meet its interests. This measure is another mistake that they have committed without noticing how grave the consequences of this decision would be for them,” the statement read.
Iran's foreign ministry also condemned the move, calling it an attempt to “silence independent voices”.
This is not the first time Press TV has been targeted by the West. YouTube and Facebook have previously taken down Press TV's pages on several occasions.
The news network, launched in 2007 as a counter-weight to Western propaganda outlets, has also been removed from TV broadcasting satellites in Europe, North America and East Asia.