Press TV CEO Mohammad Sarafraz
“The measure (removing Press TV from SES Astra) was taken because of the influences of our channels on audiences,” Sarafraz said in an interview with Fars News Agency on Friday
Sarafraz cited the growing role of the Islamic Republic in the international arena as a reason for the move, adding that the country’s world services play an extensive role in countering Western mainstream propaganda.
“This major role and influence has prompted these people (the Western governments), contrary to their slogans about seeking free flow of information and freedom of press, to resort to illegal and illogical means to eliminate channels,” the Press TV chief said.
Under pressure from the German government, Munich’s media regulatory office (BLM) moved to ban Press TV from SES Astra at 19:00 local time on April 3.
In an email sent to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) officials, Vice President of the SES Platforms Services Stephane Goebel said BLM had demanded Press TV be immediately taken off the platform, claiming that the channel does not have a license for broadcast in Europe.
The move was apparently part of a plot orchestrated by the West to silence the voice of the alternative news network, and has prompted Press TV to file a lawsuit against the decision.
According to the lawsuit, BLM does not have the authority to pass a verdict for the removal of Press TV from the platform as such an authority is vested in the commission for licensing and supervision (ZAK) in Germany.
Sarafraz also described Press TV show host George Galloway’s recent landslide victory in the UK parliamentary by-election, despite the British government removing the Iranian new channel from the Sky platform, as a sign that the West cannot suppress freedom of expression.
The West cannot block the free flow of information by closing down channels, because the truth will finally come out through a variety of means and find its way to the audience, Sarafraz said.
Addressing the Western governments, Sarafraz said, “You can no longer prevent the [flow of] information by cutting off our voices and blocking the broadcast of our messages.”