Iran destroys 100,000 'depraving' satellite dishes

Authorities say the banned satellite dishes are morally damaging, despite high-level calls for reform of the law.

    The head of the Basij militia warned that satellite TV was having a negative effect on Iran [Hossein Zohrevand/AFP]
    The head of the Basij militia warned that satellite TV was having a negative effect on Iran [Hossein Zohrevand/AFP]

    Iranian authorities have destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers as part of a widespread crackdown against illegal devices they say "deviate morality and culture".

    Most of these satellite channels not only weaken the foundation of families but also cause disruptions in children's education and children who are under the influence of satellite have improper behaviour.

    General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, Basij militia

    General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of Iran's Basij militia, oversaw the destruction ceremony in Tehran on Sunday and warned of the impact that satellite television was having in the country.

    "The truth is that most satellite channels... deviate the society's morality and culture," AFP news agency reported him as saying.

    "What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society."

    Naghdi said that a total of one million Iranians had already voluntarily handed over their satellite dishes to authorities.

    Conservatives regularly denounce the channels as an attempt to corrupt Iranian culture and Islamic values.

    Iranian police regularly raid neighbourhoods and confiscate dishes from rooftops, and under Iranian law, satellite equipment is banned and those who distribute, use, or repair them can be fined up to $2,800.

    READ MORE: Is Iran's halal internet possible?

    On Friday, Culture Minister Ali Jannati called for a revision of the law.

    "Reforming this law is very necessary as using satellite is strictly prohibited, but most people use it," he said.

    "This means that 70 percent of Iranians violate the law" by owning satellite dishes.

    Naghdi criticised Jannati's comments and said those in charge of cultural affairs "should be truthful with people rather than following what pleases them".

    "Most of these satellite channels not only weaken the foundation of families but also cause disruptions in children's education and children who are under the influence of satellite have improper behaviour," Naghdi said.

    There are dozens of foreign-based Farsi satellite channels broadcasting mostly news, entertainment, films and series.

    President Hassan Rouhani, whose four-year mandate ends in June 2017, has repeatedly said that the ban on satellite dishes is unnecessary and counterproductive.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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