AFP: More than half of Iran’s 70 million population watch satellite television channels even though they are illegal in the Islamic republic, a conservative MP said in comments published Sunday. TEHRAN (AFP) More than half of Iran’s 70 million population watch satellite television channels even though they are illegal in the Islamic republic, a conservative MP said in comments published Sunday.
“More than 50 percent of people use satellites,” Saeed Abutaleb, a member of parliament’s culture committee, told Iranian newspapers.
Iranian police launch sporadic crackdowns on satellite television, which is deemed “decadent” by the authorities, by raiding rooftops in Tehran and other major cities and seizing hundreds of illegal dishes.
In the past, police also raided homes, confiscating receivers and fining their owners.
However, successive campaigns have failed to stop dishes springing up like mushrooms on Iran’s rooftops.
“The punishment by police of satellite users cannot be successful because it bears some legal ambiguities,” Abutaleb said.
“Restriction and punishment” were no longer effective in preventing people from watching satellite channels, he added.
He pointed to Iran’s seven state television channels and said: “Considering different tastes, it is not possible to satisfy all the audience.”
The conservative-dominated parliament has drawn up a bill to allow satellite television under state supervision but the bill remains on the drawing board “due to some political issues”, Abutaleb said.
He urged Iranian officials to “manage the viewing of satellite programmes and allow people the choice.”
Iranians can receive signals from several satellite channels run by the country’s opposition groups mainly based in the United States, while the Islamic regime tries to jam the signals.