Eutelsat and Arqiva pull Iranian channels off satellite

Arqiva and Eutelsat have jointly agreed to terminate broadcasts via Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellites of channels belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Ten TV channels in total were switched off on Monday, October 15.

The move includes Iran’s international English langauge news channel Press TV, as well as the Arabic news channel Al-Alam.

The Paris based satellite operator said in a statement: “This decision was based on reinforced EU Council sanctions and a confirmation by France’s broadcasting authority that the Sahar 1 TV channel that broadcast in IRIB’s multiplex of television and radio services should be permanently switched off. IRIB has been informed of the termination of its contract. Transmissions consequently ceased this morning through the Hot Bird transponder.”

The French broadcasting authority Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) confirmed its decision of 2005 that the Sahar 1 channel should be permanently switched off via Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellites. As a French company, Eutelsat is bound to comply with instructions from the French broadcasting authority.

The removal of the channels does not affect viewers in Iran, only those satellite homes in the footprint of the Hot Bird satellites in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Moreover, Ezzattolah Zarghami, as the head of Iranian’s state broadcaster IRIB, was included in the list of European Union sanctioned persons disclosed on March 23, 2012, following a violation of human rights by IRIB in its programming.

The move follows earlier protests by the satellite operator that Iran was deliberately jamming a number of the channels on its satellites, including BBC Persian, the Voice of America’s Persian service and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda.