Sputnik – The recent shutdown of PressTV and HispanTV’s YouTube and Gmail accounts are more examples of the continued effort by the US government to silence Iranian media outlets, Alex Rubinstein, a journalist for MintPress News, told Sputnik.
“I think that this is part of a larger trend of cracking down on Iranian media,” Rubinstein told Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary on Wednesday. “Just as this was happening, the United States was saying that we want to bring down Iranian oil exports to zero. Well, it seems like they’re also trying to bring down Iranian expression down to zero through these kinds of moves.”
“It’s a message which both strangles their economy and also suffocates their voice,” he added.
Google barred PressTV and HispanTV, an Iranian Spanish-language outlet, from accessing their respective YouTube and Gmail accounts without notice and without an explanation detailing what Google policies were violated, the outlets recently reported.
Although content from both outlets is still viewable, the organizations are unable to upload new content.
Israeli media outlets have speculated that the order was handed down by Google after HispanTV issued a report claiming imprisoned Palestinians were being used for medical experiments.
“On its face, that sounds like that could be questionable,” Rubinstein said of the speculation. “But there have been a number of other outlets to carry this report, and it wasn’t like they were pulling this information out of thin air — it came from a Palestinian politician in Israel… he made this allegation, and they were citing him properly.”
The journalist told hosts Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon that while it’s unclear what initiated Google’s action, it seems in line with the behavior of tech companies vying to “stifle Iranian media” at the behest of the US government.
“These tech companies are basically extensions of the US empire. You look at all that’s going on with NATO and the US government trying to push back on Chinese 5G — well, the point of that is that [the US] can’t spy so well if [the 5G grid is] Chinese,” Rubinstein said.
“The American government has a dominance over these companies, and we see that with the ban on PressTV, and we see that with the other countries that have been targeted, which are primarily Russia and Venezuela.”
“It’s hard to imagine that this is just a coincidence,” he added.
Earlier this month, after the US formally designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, popular photo and video-sharing platform Instagram began banning pages belonging to various Iranian military officials. The site later explained that the move was in line with the US’ designation.
“I understand to have a policy against spreading terrorist messages on a social media platform… but we didn’t see these crackdowns for terrorist organizations like the Free Syrian Army, or any of the other supposedly moderate rebels in Syria,” Rubinstein told Blackmon.
“We see them [crackdowns] for the supposed terrorist that are enemies of the United States… It seems like the tech companies are all too happy to follow in lockstep.”