Google has acted against two Iranian state broadcasters, Press TV and Hispan TV, blocking access “without warning” to their YouTube and Gmail accounts.
According to Israeli press reports, this came as a response to the publication of incendiary, false accusations that Israel had been conducting medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners. Google declined to comment on the reason for the blocks, but there has been an intensifying crackdown on Iranian social media in light of the U.S. government tightening restrictions on the country.
The article, published by Iran’s Spanish-language service Hispan TV and targeting outlets in Latin America, claimed that “Palestinians held in Israeli jails are being used as guinea pigs in new medical trials,” citing “reports that the health ministry (of Israel) granted licenses to several international companies to carry out medical tests on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons without their knowledge.”
Hispan TV described the block as the “price of being the voice of the oppressed,” and claimed that “Google blocked once again and without warning the access of Hispan TV and Press TV to their accounts with the pretext and false accusation that the content of these international channels violates its rules.”
Press TV reported that Google blocked their access “without prior notice, citing “violation of policies,” and that they received a message saying “your Google Account was disabled and can’t be restored because it was used in a way that violates Google’s policies.” Although their YouTube channels remain open, no new content can be published. Press TV claimed that Google “has refused to offer an explanation for shutting down the accounts,” and that they have not violated any of Google’s listed policies.