Intelsat ban on IRIB exposes West’s war on free speech: Experts

A recent decision by communications satellite services provider, Intelsat, to suspend services to Iranian news channels further uncovers the intolerant West’s campaign to silence alternative media, Press TV reports.

The European-based company announced the decision on June 19, claiming the measure was taken in recognition of illegal sanctions the United States has declared against the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) – that is the country’s national broadcasting corporation.

“Intelsat sought a waiver from the US government in order to extend the term of this [IRIB’s] license. However, the US government has now advised Intelsat that it will not extend the license. Intelsat must therefore stop providing services to you on June 30, 2013, to comply with the US laws and regulations,” the Luxembourg-based company stated.

The decision will especially affect the 24-hour English-language news channel, Press TV.

The suspension of services comes on the heels of a similar decision by Eutelsat and most other satellite operators in taking Iranian TV channels and radio stations off the air in several Western countries including Britain, France, Germany, and Spain.

The Israeli lobby in the United States has openly supported the attempt to silence the voice of Iranian media in Europe.

European companies claim they are abiding by anti-Iran sanctions. However, the European Union Foreign Policy chief’s spokesman, Michael Mann, says the restrictions do not apply to media.

Media activists have condemned the attacks on Iranian TV channels as a campaign against free speech, and criticized the West for applying a double standard by silencing the voices of independent news channels.

They also blamed the West for its hypocrisy in stripping the public of its right to freely choosing the media outlets they like.

“A new voice that gives alternative views [and] alternative debates with high-caliber critics of the West from the West is a sweat, and that’s why they want them to be off the air,” Iranian movie director and media expert, Nader Talebzadeh, pointed out.

Talebzadeh, however, expressed confidence that people’s awareness of the developments in the world – such as the rule of neo-cons on the US and Western media and the policies that have dragged the Western population into bottomless wars – has rendered the West’s war on free speech ineffective.

“The public knows what is going on, and I think it is an ineffective way to try to silence free speech,” he stressed.

The attacks on Iranian media are in clear contradiction with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines individuals’ right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,” the article reads.

Analysts say the sanctions have revealed the true face of the West and the falsehood of its claims regarding respect for democracy, human rights and free speech, as the West proves it will not tolerate any alterative voices which do not fit in its agenda.

By Press TV


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