Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Iran destroys 100,000 satellite dishes as 'morally damaging'

Iranian authorities destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers on Sunday, in the framework of a widespread crackdown against the devices. So reported Agence France Presse (AFP).

The destruction ceremony took place in Tehran in the presence of General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of Iran's Basij militia, who warned of the impact that satellite television was having in the country. "The truth is that most satellite channels... deviate the society's morality and culture," he said at the event.

"What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society," added the general.

Some one million Iranians have voluntarily handed over their satellite apparatuses to authorities, Naghdi said, though this information could not be verified. Under Iranian law, those who distribute, use, or repair satellite equipment can be fined up to $2,800.

President Hassan Rouhani, considered a "moderate," believes the law against satellite equipment is unnecessary. Similarly, Culture Minister Ali Jannati was quoted as having said last week that rather than continue to outlaw and destroy the satellite equipment, the law should be eased. "Reforming this law is very necessary," he said, "as using satellite is strictly prohibited, but most people use it."

Gen. Naghdi, however, insisted that "most of these satellite channels not only weaken the foundation of families but also cause disruptions in children's education." He added that "children who are under the influence of satellite have improper behavior."

Dozens of foreign-based Farsi satellite channels broadcast mostly news, entertainment, films and TV series.

One need not be a Muslim extremist, of course, to warn of the educational dangers of television and the like. Back in 1975, four leading rabbis – Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach, Rabbi Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky, and Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky – composed a document entitled "Torah Analysis of Television" in which they decried the dangers of watching TV. Seven years later, the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. 

Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a summary of scientific opinion about the safety of TV, producing a two-volume work that was very critical of the medium's programming.