Reuters reported last month that the US Justice Department had seized 36 Iranian-linked websites said to be associated with either disinformation or violent organizations. According to the report, the seizures included PressTV:
DUBAI, June 22 (Reuters) — The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it seized 36 Iranian-linked websites, many of them associated with either disinformation activities or violent organizations, taking them offline for violating U.S. sanctions. Several of the sites were back online within hours with new domain addresses. “Today, pursuant to court orders, the United States seized 33 websites used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) and three websites operated by Kata’ib Hizballah (KH), in violation of U.S. sanctions,” the department said in a statement. Also spelled Kataib Hezbollah, KH is one of the main Iran-aligned Iraqi militia groups and has been designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States. The sites seized included Press TV, the Iranian government’s main English-language satellite television channel, and Al Alam, its Arabic-language equivalent. Both came back online using Iranian domain addresses Alalam.ir and Presstv.ir.
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Press TV is part of the media structure of the Iranian influence network. It was founded in 2007 and is sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Iran’s state-run television operation. According to its website, Press TV “takes revolutionary steps as the first English broadcasting international Iranian news network.” Press TV had its UK broadcasting license revoked in January 2012 by British communication’s regulator Ofcom, which found that the channel was running its editorial from Tehran and not from the UK, thus breaching the Communications Act. In the UK, the channel is directed by film director and writer Hamid Khairoldin, who is also connected to other pro-Iranian media outlets. A 2015 report by the US Anti-Defamation League details various antisemitic themes and conspiracy theories promoted in its programs.
GIOR reporting on Press TV has included:
- A June 2020 report that Iran could potentially shut down PressTV.
- A January 2021 report that Facebook had briefly disabled and then restored the PressTV page.
- A January 2021 report that PressTV had published an article by an American author and describing the COVID vaccination program in the West as a “a widespread crime against humanity.’