Iran’s Press TV taken off air in N America

Al Jazeera – Feb 10, 2013

Iran’s state-run news network Press TV has been taken off air in North America, the English-language television station has said on its website.

The channel said on Saturday that it had been dropped from the Galaxy 19 satellite platform that allowed it to broadcast in the United States and Canada, without saying when it was dropped.

The state-owned, 24-hour network broadcasts world news and pro-government views beyond Iran’s borders.

The network called the move “another flagrant violation of freedom of speech”.

It said the move was part of Western sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are aimed at peaceful purposes.

Intelsat, the Luxembour-based company which owns Galaxy 19, has not commented on its decision.

New sanctions announced by the US Treasury Department this week blacklisted the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and its director, Ezatollah Zarghami, which oversees Iran’s broadcast channels.

In October, the Paris-based Eutelsat, one of Europe’s leading satellite providers, cut Iranian state television and radio broadcasts to comply with tougher European Union sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The Eutelsat decision hit 19 channels provided by IRIB, including Press TV.

In January, the Spanish government also ordered the Press-TV-affiliated Spanish language channel Hispan to stop broadcast on the Hotbird satellite platform.

Iran’s state-run television network IRIB launched Press TV, Hispan and Arabic-language news channel Al-Alam in order to reach a wider global audience for its ideological standpoints.

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