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Iran Calls For Suing Persian Broadcasting Abroad

Iran -- Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting director Mohammad Ali Askari, undated

The head of Iran's state-run radio and television agency, Abdul-Ali Aliaskari, called on Tuesday for the prosecution of Persian-speaking channels abroad, targeting what he described “130 channels in Persian and 140 channels with ethnic Iranian accents” without pointing out which channels he is referring to. The claimed number of channels has raised eyebrows among observers.

According to official Iranian news agencies, Aliaskari said that Tehran has so far filed no lawsuits against what he claimed to be “anti-Iranian content published on foreign-based satellite channels”.

However, the Islamic Republic Broadcasting Organization's top official stopped short of providing details about filing lawsuits against Persian-speaking broadcasters outside Iran. He also did not mention where the cases are supposed to be filed.

Aliaskari is expressing his dissatisfaction with Persian broadcasting entities outside Iran at a time when Iran's state-run Seda va Sima (Voice and Vision) national radio and television organization has dozens of television and radio channels that broadcast in different languages.

Despite its massive budget, Seda va Sima has failed to attract domestic, let alone foreign audiences worldwide, critics have repeatedly claimed.

In recent years, Iranian officials have complained to Ofcom, a British media regulator, about several Persian-language networks based in the United Kingdom that are allegedly guilty of "disrupting national security" and "subversive and separatist actions."

Iranian state run TV has been under constant criticism by human rights organizations for coercion of false confessions from political prisoners and for acting as an arm of the security and intelligence bodies.