Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Persian Letters

Nothing Comes Between Iranians And Their Satellite Dishes -- Not Even The Police

Iranian police remove satellite dishes from roofs in east Tehran in late February.
Iranian police remove satellite dishes from roofs in east Tehran in late February.
For years now, the authorities in Iran have tried to crack down on the use of satellite dishes, which give Iranians access to foreign channels. The dishes are banned in the Islamic republic. Police officers spend a considerable amount of time searching for them, dismantling them, and confiscating them. (See a YouTube video here of one such "dismantling.")

But it appears that Iran's war on satellite dishes is a losing one. Neither police raids nor stiff fines have been able to stop Iranians from watching their favorite shows.

At a recent seminar about the "harming effects" of satellite dishes, held in the city of Qom, researcher Mohammad Reza Khoshrou said that, according to the latest figures, 65 percent of Tehran residents use satellite dishes.

Khoshrou said the figure in Qom – which is home to Iran's religious seminaries --  is between 30 and 40 percent, the same as in other Iranian cities. He didn't provide details about the source of the figures.

PHOTO GALLERY: Iran's (Losing) War Against Satellite Dishes

Iranian officials have acknowledged the popularity of satellite channels on a number of occasions and warned against what they see as the negative impact of foreign channels.

In July 2011, hard-line Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami called satellite programs part of the "soft war" that Iran's enemies have launched against the country.  

"Fighting against Islam, the Islamic Revolution, and the great Iranian nation" are among the major goals of satellite channels, Khatami said during an appearance at Tehran's Friday Prayers.  

For many Iranians, satellite channels are the only source of uncensored news, as well as quality entertainment, which is also a rare commodity on state television.

One woman in the Iranian capital, whose satellite dish was demolished by the police several months ago, told "Persian Letters" that the first thing she did the day after her apartment complex was raided was order a new dish and receiver.

"That's the only fun we have here. There's nothing worth watching on [state television]," she said. "They can come and take my dish away. I will get a new one."

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Rastgoo from: Germany
March 13, 2012 19:19
The Iranians do the right thing to destroy those satelite dishes. anyway, the people who have them, only look mtv, hollywood movies and soap operas, which bring filthy western values into iranain societies. Western TV channels do not bring freedom or information. It is all about filth and cultural colonialisation of iran.

i hope iran will continue to keep out western influence out of the society.

and dear mrs esfandiari: who says that iran is losing the game against dishes? they can abolis satelite dishes in tehran within one week.

they just need to threat the owner of an apartment building with prison, so he will take care that no one will have a dish.
In Response

by: Rastgoo 2 from: Germany
March 13, 2012 21:18
Who cares what people watch? The point is they have the freedom to watch whatever they want! I imagine you left your country in search of freedoms and here you are bashing the places that have afforded you those freedoms. I'm curious.. If the west is so "Filthy" why are you not back home, enjoying the delights and unfilthy lifestyle i'm sure all iranians lead
In Response

by: Anonymous
March 13, 2012 21:26
What period of Germany are you living in..?? Hitler and SS have left the world my friend.. you hating west what are you doing in Germany ..?? Yo will be happier in Kabul or Ghoum // pack your suitcase cause it is time for you to go back where you belong 1400 years back..!! Good bye and please don t come back to west..
In Response

by: DSP from: Czech Republic
March 13, 2012 21:46
Rastgoo - There is allways one simple advice for people likey you, with same opinions: "When you love Iranian totalitarianism so much, Why don't you move there?"

by: Anonymous from: Dubai
March 13, 2012 22:01
It is obvious that authorities themselves are involved in importing receivers and dishes. They own the business of imports and whenever the business slows down, they collect dishes so that their sales numbers go higher.
How are they able to bust so many drug transfers on the borders? If they wanted they could do the same for sattelites.
Besides by collecting people's dishes the society won't become "pure" people are not like children. If you take away what adults like, they will react. If you want to convince them that sattelites are bad, convince them with reason and logic.

by: Petr from: Varanau
March 13, 2012 22:35
Common Iranians do not seem to forsee the moral decline occuring with the advent of 'good entertainment' via the internet and television. I do not profess to know the content of Iranian television but it is a surety that it does not contain such things as see in the West. I believe that the motives of the Iranian establishment are to keep their population uncorrupted in terms of their political views, but the mutual act of keeping them away from morally deficient content is probably a more applaudable action. Unfortunately Internet access through proxies probably makes this all a moot topic. May the Iranians be guided to the right path

by: Paolo from: Berlin
March 14, 2012 01:18
Hey Rastgoo from Germany,

Why are you living in Germany and not in Iran? You should move back to enjoy the Iranian persecution and slavery if you like it so much. What a hypocrite just like clerics in Iran. Shame on you!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 14, 2012 09:15
Hi, Paolo from Berlin, I do not know why Rastgoo lives in Germany, but - living in a German-speaking country myself - I can assure you that one does not really do something like that because one likes it - rather because one has to :-). And - if there is some interesting job offer in Iran, in Lebanon, in India, in Latin America or wherever - very frankly, deciding to go for it and leaving all these Germanies behind would not be a difficult one to make :-).
Cheers from Vienna!
In Response

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
March 16, 2012 00:28
Hey dude!
Do you like in Austria, because a famous person was born there- Mr.Schicklgruber?...or any other causes?
We love Germans because they produce Mercedes, play football and they have Neuner..
On the other hand they are very greedy, super practical and like to drink Schnäpse,so they can go for the money to work for the terrorists.
Merkel for the gas sold her honor and conscience to man from the KGB who worked in Germany as a spy...
Pragmatism is nice...Selling moms and dads!!Main thing- income...Do not care about the reputation....

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

Guerrilla Translators

Seen anything in the Iranian blogosphere that you think Persian Letters should cover? If so, contact Golnaz Esfandiari at esfandiarig@rferl.org