News Release

Biden, Building on Trump’s Censorship, Targets Iranian and Palestinian Websites


Al Jazeera reports in “U.S. seizes three dozen websites used for ‘Iranian disinformation’” that: “Seized sites include Press TV and Houthi and Palestinian outlets. Move comes amid tense efforts to revive nuclear deal.”

At NATO headquarters recently, Biden spoke of his commitment to the “important shared missions” of “renewing and strengthening the resilience of our democracies” as well as “protecting the free press and independent judiciaries.” Later, he spoke of his insistence to Russian President Vladimir Putin of the “importance of a free press and freedom of speech.”

See Institute for Public Accuracy news release from last year: “Code Red: Barr Seizes Internet Domains of Media Outlets.”

On Tuesday, Stewart wrote the piece “FBI & Dept of Commerce Seize Iranian Press TV Web Domain” for Washington Babylon.

He states: “This step by Commerce and the FBI proves … rhetorical flourishes are a smokescreen for a widening censorship mandate within Washington. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the federal policing agencies have sharpened a carceral lens upon the information superhighway, invoking moral panics like ‘internet radicalization,’ aberrant sexual behavior, multimedia piracy, or illicit drug trafficking to justify the crackdown. While there’s certainly no denying that serious malfeasance like white nationalist indoctrination, child pornography, copyright infringement, or sales of narcotics take place online, laws passed in the name of combatting such practices are wildly overreaching and create judicial precedents for later use in cases like that of Press TV. These legislative efforts also conveniently ignore that there were already plenty of laws with harsh, sometimes overly-sadistic penalties for sexual assault, kidnapping, murder, or narco vending. However, none of those laws provided censorship opportunities, something that Washington and Silicon Valley have been desperate to implement after the early Wild West days of the web opened floodgates for free information that could not be used for profits and taxes.

“I have always been wary of state-sponsored broadcasters like RT or Press TV. Both have editorial lines driven by the geopolitical concerns of their sponsors, which is anathema to what journalists are mandated to serve. … None of these qualms, however, justify censorship.”