State censorship at its finest
by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
International satellite services provider Intelsat has blocked Iran’s official broadcast channels in Europe, a company spokesman confirmed on Thursday, October 25, 2012. The company, however, would not confirm or deny an Iranian report that it did so at the order of the US government.
“Intelsat confirms that we took IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) channels off the satellite,” Alexander Horwitz, a spokesman for the Washington-based company, told AFP.
“Our business is a dynamic one, in which the customers’ requirements and our available capacity are constantly changing, and thus the start and stop of services on our satellites is routine
He did, however, decline to identify the IRIB channels that were affected by Intelsat’s move.
According to Press TV, an Iranian satellite broadcaster not affected by the action, Intelsat was ordered to take the action by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the economic and trade sanctions arm of the US Treasury Department.
A spokesman Treasury, when questioned about the report, declined to comment.
Horwitz said that Intelsat still holds a license, amid sweeping US sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, to provide certain broadcast services in Iran. Intelsat also transmits the Farsi language program of Voice of America.
“Intelsat adheres strictly to the US sanctions requirements with respect to the services it provides in Iran,” Horwitz said.
Iranian authorities protested publicly on October 16 against European satellite operator Eutelsat, accusing it of illegally taking off the air Iranian public television channels.
Last week, European Union foreign ministers agreed tough new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building an atomic bomb but which Tehran insists is for peaceful ends only.
When Mr. Horowitz states that Intelsat's business is a dynamic one, in which the customers’ requirements and Intelsat's available capacity are constantly changing, and thus the start and stop of services on our satellites is routine, he was talking, as our Australian cousins would say, bull dust, and he knows it.
The truth, blatantly obvious to all that are prepared to see is that it is not in the interest of the US regime and neither of Intelsat and its backers to have opposing news to that which they want to convey, coming out of Iran, for instance.
So, in order to combat that threat simple censorship is being employed; a step that they would immediately denounce should Iran do it.
People think that, in the West (and I am sure everyone knows which countries are included there), the media is free and governments and service providers will not stoop as low as censorship, but the truth is a different one.
Freedom of speech only applies to those that toe the government line and we have seen that more than once by now in the actions of the governments against posts on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc., that did not fit into their agenda.