Sunday, August 27, 2006

Iran vows to prosecute advertisers on exiled TV

Iran warned it would prosecute any individual or business inside the country from working with foreign-based Persian language satellite channels, the student ISNA news agency reported.

"Any cooperation, participation in programs, placing advertisements, interviews and joint production of programs is prohibited and will be prosecuted," Iran's conservative culture ministry said in a statement carried by ISNA.

The ministry said the ban was issued because of the "illegal activity and the irreverent content of foreign based Persian-language TV channels".

The reception of satellite programs is prohibited in Iran but media reports say about three to four million people watch the channels despite the Islamic republic jamming the airwaves and the threat of heavy fines. READ MORE

Special decoders make it possible to receive several hundred satellite channels, including more than two dozen financed by the exiled Iranian opposition, mainly based in the United States.

Several local businesses and Iranian movie producers advertise their products on these channels, mainly the ones broadcasting music and non-political programs.

Earlier this month Iran launched a fresh crackdown against "decadent" satellite television raiding rooftops in Tehran and other major cities to seize hundreds of dishes.