Madrid follows government’s line in banning Iranian network

Hispan TV sees license revoked owing to “human rights” implications of hosting Tehran news vehicle

The regional government of Madrid has banned Hispan TV, an Iranian television station which broadcasts in the Spanish language, on the grounds that broadcasting it "implies collaboration with persons implicated [...] in the ordering or realization of serious human rights violations."

Hispan TV last year rented a low frequency digital channel from Asociación Cultural Radio Club 47. Its director, Enrique Riboo, received a letter last week from Madrid regional government spokesman José Luis Martínez-Almeida demanding the "immediate" closure of the frequency rented by Hispan TV.

Madrid took the measure at the behest of the central government, which on December 20 banned the broadcast of Hispan TV and Press TV, an English-language Iranian channel, serviced through the Hispasat satellite, which can be picked up in Spain and Latin America. The move was a response to Iran's controversial nuclear program and a first among European countries. The secretary of state for telecommunications, Víctor Calvo-Sotelo, told the director of Hispasat, Elena Pisonero, to suspend transmissions of Iranian channels after the public television chief in Iran, Ezzatollah Zarghami, was included on the European Union's blacklist. Iran stated in December that it would appeal the government's decision and it plans to do the same against Madrid's move. Riboo has said that the shutdown is an attack against freedom of speech.

Hispan TV was inaugurated on January 31, 2012 by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who proclaimed it an ideological weapon with a few words in Spanish.

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