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Iran to fight satellite programmes with private TV network

October 2, 2000, Teheran (dpa) - Iran plans to fight foreign satellite programmes with the establishment of a private television network, the daily Tehran Times reported Monday.

Head of state-run broadcasting, Ali Larijani, has written a letter to the senate-like Guardian Council asking the conservative body about the possibility of setting up a private television network, the daily said.

Tehran Times further quoted communication experts as saying that the private network would be able to confront foreign satellite televisions ``which show immoral and obscene programmes and are among the major tools of cultural aggression''.

The parliament in 1995 - at that time still dominated by conservatives - approved a bill banning use of satellite dishes for foreign television programmes. But a large number of people have camouflaged dishes on the roofs and receive the programmes through digital and analogue tuners.

Several Iranian officials however called for a revision of the bill and said that the ``Western cultural invasion'' cannot be confronted by force but through cultural means.

State-run television has five channels and has in the last three years improved its programmes in an effort to confront the satellite programmes.

Many satellite programmes are in foreign languages and therefore not understandable for many Iranians. A Persian programme by Iranian artists in exile in California started last April but according to satellite dealers, the initial enthusiasm among the Iranians gradually faded due to what they term as repetitious programmes.


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