In a violent act of censorship, the Iranian militia destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes in a ceremony over the weekend citing that it was to protect the “morality” of the country’s people.
“The truth is that most satellite channels… deviate the society’s morality and culture. What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society,” said General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of the Basij militia, reports AFP. “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 behavior.”
However, not all Iranian officials were keen on this decision. Iran’s Culture Minister, Ali Jannati objected and pointed out that at least 70% of Iran citizens were quietly breaking the law to watch programs via the satellite dishes. Naghi wouldn’t accept this and said the numbers were an absolute lie.
The militia has gone rogue, since Iran’s current president Hassan Rouhani also disagrees with the ban.
Satellite dishes allow Iranians to consume Westernized entertainment that is deemed inappropriate in their culture. “The Iranian government sees satellite channels as a Western front in the ‘soft war’ being waged against their rule, a ‘weapon’ intent on undermining the country’s religious and cultural beliefs,” said Small Media, reports Christian Science Monitor.
Censorship is still very much a part of the government’s way of controlling its populace. “In a closed society like Iran, where the government maintains a tight grip over the media and all modes of communication, satellite television broadcasts from outside the country carry particular significance for both the authorities and the Iranian public,” said Small Media.
Naghdi said that citizens have been more than willing to comply during the major crackdown and have handed over the dishes. Iranians are not allowed to have the satellite dishes and will be fined if they use, sell or repair one. Even though this is the case, Iranians continue to watch their dishes in secret. Many of which who have had their dishes confiscated, immediately went out and illegally purchased a replacement.
Author’s note: Censorship of westernized programing just shows that the Iranian militia reject the American culture. How can we attempt to be allies with a country that wants their citizens to be protected from our immoral society? In America, we celebrate freedom, while Iran continues to dictate what its citizens can and cannot do. Bans like this are foreign to us. Imagine living in a country where watching your favorite program was illegal?