Tehran, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Iranian authorities have banned any cooperation by Iranians with Persian language satellite networks based outside Iran according to the state-run Iranian news agency
Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced on Sunday that the activities and programs of such networks did not comply with Islamic laws and moralities and that Iranian artists and cultural centers were not allowed to cooperate with them.
Any cooperation with these networks, including participating in their programs, advertising activities, interviews and program productions were banned, the ministry said. “Violators will be prosecuted,” it added in a statement.
The rationale behind this measure is that many of the Persian channels based outside Iran are aligned with the opposition and disseminate messages critical of the official line.
Many of the Persian-language satellite channels broadcast from the United States, and especially Los Angeles, home to a large Iranian exile community.
Satellite dishes have been legally banned in Iran since the mid 1990s, but the ban is not effectively enforced. Every so often, authorities clamp down on satellite dish owners and confiscate the devices, but this usually has a short-term effect. The most recent campaign was carried out earlier in the month in Tehran and several other cities.
Iran’s government recently urged the clamp down on newspapers which spread “lies”.
The press has been a major political battleground in Iran since the late 1990s. The conservative-controlled judiciary has closed down more than 100 liberal reformist publications since then, although a few have survived.