20 April 2019- Google has disabled 39 YouTube channels with connections to the Islamic Republic of Iran, including Press TV and HispanTV. Though Google has not announced any reason for this action, Press TV has claimed that their channel’s YouTube and Gmail accounts were disabled for “violating Google’s policies.”
Over the past few years, Press TV has broadcast numerous forced confessions from political prisoners, ethnic minorities, labour activists, and journalists. These forced confessions, obtained with pressure from intelligence forces, have been used as evidence in courts to sentence Iranians to longer prison terms or even execution.
Justice for Iran has published multiple research reports on Press TV’s illegal activities, including “Cut! Take Press TV Off the Air,” which is based on interviews with former political prisoners and their families and evidence gathered from programs broadcast by Press TV. Justice for Iran has called on international satellite companies to stop the channel’s programming and has submitted reports to the Council of the European Union calling for sanctions on Press TV, its Director Mohammad Sarafraz, and its Senior Editor Hamid Reza Emadi. Sarafraz and Emadi received sanctions from the Council in March 2013.
Following complaints by Sarafraz and Emadi, The European Court of Justice upheld these sanctions by ruling in December 2015, that under their leadership, Press TV had repeatedly and closely collaborated with the Iranian security apparatus and the Revolutionary Court prosecutors to coerce confessions from prisoners of conscience and then broadcast them under the pretext of interviews conducted with the prisoner’s approval.
In January 2012, Britain’s communications regulator Ofcom revoked Press TV’s license to broadcast in the United Kingdom after the channel refused to pay the £100,000 penalties resulting from a complaint filed by Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker, Maziar Bahari, for broadcasting his interview, which was filmed in prison under extreme duress and without Mr. Bahari’s consent.