Tehran: Iran on Monday put into operation a 24-hour English-language satellite television channel to extend its global reach during a period of growing pressure from the US.
The satellite channel, called Press TV, is sponsored by Iran’s state-run television operation, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
“Press TV was born out of the need to break the global media stranglehold of Western outlets,” the channel’s website says. The channel aims to compete with other 24-hour English satellite channels such as BBC, CNN and Qatar-based Al Jazeera International.
Press TV officials said last month that the station would present news every half-hour and focus on developments in West Asia and the US.
“Press TV plans to present a new perspective to its viewers around the world,” said Muhammad Sarafraz, the deputy director for international affairs, the Mehr News Agency reported.
The channel’s website says it has 400 staff members, and 26 reporters based in places such as Washington, London, Beirut and Damascus.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told staff during an opening ceremony on Monday that the channel “should stay beside the oppressed people of the world,” the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said. “Broadcasting the truth immediately, providing precise analysis and exposing the plots of propaganda networks of the enemy is among your duties,” he was quoted as saying.
The US has been putting increasing pressure on Iran over its role in Iraq and its nuclear programme. It has accused Iran of having a clandestine nuclear weapons programme and has urged members of the UN Security Council to impose tough economic sanctions on Iran. But Iran contends that its programme is for peaceful energy purposes.