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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Iranian satellite TV shut

Iranian authorities have shut down the new Saba satellite television channel, launched by the former parliamentary speaker and moderate Hojatolislam Mehdi Karrubi.

The channel, according to the European Journalism Center reports, was ruled illegal by the Tehran government and its director, former MP and film director, Behrouz Afkhami has been summoned to the ministry of intelligence.

Karrubi, one of the challengers of current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the recent elections, had announced immediately after his defeat that he intended to launch a satellite television channel, saying it would be the free voice of the Etermad Melli (National Confidence) party.

Al Larijani, the secretary general of the Superior Council for National Security, who for a decade was head of Iranian state broadcasting, labelled the new channel as anti-constitutional.

Meanwhile, it was also announced weekend that all the films and books which had received the necessary authorisation in the months prior to Ahmadinejad’s election must be re-examined by the ministry of culture and of religion.

Ahmadinejad has given control of this key ministry to one of the symbols of radical Islam, Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, a former editorialist with the conservative daily e Kayhan.

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