Unexpected In Tuesday’s operation, the U.S. government seized more than 30 Iranian government, Suspend access to media supported by multiple countries.U.S. officials stated that this action originated from Terrorism false information Distribute on the website and violate sanctions. But press freedom advocates warn that the deletion has a much broader impact on freedom of speech and diplomatic relations.

The affected websites include English and Arabic-language media Press TV and Al-Alam, as well as other websites such as the Yemeni Houthi channel Al-Masirah TV. They are all managed by the Iranian Islamic Broadcasting and Television Union. The US Department of Justice has also banned three locations related to the Iraqi paramilitary organization Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran. This move continues a controversial precedent set by the Trump administration, but is even more worrying due to the disjointed and seemingly uncoordinated nature of the operation.

“It is unclear why the U.S. government took action on these specific sites, why it is now, or what their standards of intervention are,” said Evelyn Duke, A research scholar at the Knight’s First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. “One of the core principles of the right to freedom of speech is that the government’s restrictions on speech should be transparent and reasonable, and this has not happened as much as it should.”

The action occurred as the Biden administration was trying to negotiate with Tehran (including President-elect Ibrahim Raisi) on Iran’s nuclear program and support for proxy militias in the Middle East. However, the domain name occupation of the website seems to be poorly coordinated and the website visits are intermittent for several hours. The notice on the homepage of the affected website stated that the domain name has been blocked by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, the Office of Export Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, other parts of some websites continued to operate at first. Within a few hours after Internet users began to notice the impact, the Justice Department had not previously acknowledged or confirmed the move.

“Part of the Iranian government…disguised as a news organization or media, targeting the United States with false propaganda activities and malicious influence operations,” the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in a report late Tuesday. statement“Of the websites seized today, 33 are operated by IRTMU.” The US Department of Justice went on to say that these 33 domain names were purchased through US registrars, but IRTU did not obtain permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control-making the website violate Sanctions.

Surgery is Not the first time U.S. government agencies target News website supported by the Iranian stateHowever, domain occupation can only interrupt the service for a long time, and the site usually returns the modified URL.News TV quickly stated on Tuesday that it had transitional From “.com” to “.ir” address, this address will not be managed by a US domain registrar.

“This is part of a broader trend, because Trump’s maximum pressure on Iran sanctions was imposed by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance, namely the closure of some Iranian websites, and the closure of some users on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram,” Assistant Narges Bajoghli said Professor of Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

The US-based social media company has been struggling to deal with Iranian disinformation activities on its platform, and increasingly focus on Off shelf To limit the impact on users.The Ministry of Justice has previously Collaborate with Google, Facebook and Twitter Tracking and disseminating misinformation on Iranian websites. In 2020, the Trump administration gave the Fars News Agency, the Iran Daily and Dozens of other domains US officials said it was used to spread illegal false information. The U.S. Department of Justice did not indicate whether it was cooperating with social media companies in this week’s removal operations.

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