Sanctions Prompt Eutelsat To Drop Iranian TV Channels

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PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on Oct. 15 said it has stopped carrying channels from Iran’s state broadcaster following sanctions on Iran imposed by the European Union and a judgment from the French government broadcast regulator.

In a statement, Paris-based Eutelsat said it and Arqiva, a satellite services provider, agreed to stop transmissions from Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellites of channels from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

Eutelsat said it ceased the transmissions Oct. 15 from the Hot Bird transponder being used for the programming after informing IRIB that its contract had been terminated.

Eutelsat said the French broadcast authority, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, had confirmed that the Sahar 1 channel “should be permanently switched off” from Eutelsat satellites.

“As a French company, Eutelsat is bound to comply with instructions from the French broadcasting authority,” Eutelsat said. The 27-nation European Union earlier this year placed IRIB’s chief executive on the list of “sanctioned persons” after finding that IRIB violated human rights in its broadcasts.

While Eutelsat has carried Iranian programming until recently, the fleet operator has had multiple conflicts with the Iranian government in the past couple of years relating to a conflict about rights to an orbital slot over the Middle East, and to Iran’s alleged jamming of Eutelsat-carried broadcasts into Iran.

The most recent Eutelsat protest came Oct. 4, when the company said it had made a renewed appeal to international frequency regulators to sanction what it called “deliberate interference from Iran” of British and American broadcasts into Iranian territory.

Eutelsat has been calling for regulatory action against presumed Iranian government-backed jamming since 2009. The International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations affiliate based in Geneva, has said it is, in effect, powerless to do anything about it.

 

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