Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is one of the monolithic apparatuses of the Mullah regime in Tehran.
It already possesses an economic, political and military power. According to analysts, the IRGC is looked on in Iran as the heavy hand of the theological regime in the face of any dissident of the state's repressive measures.
When it comes to the media, the role of the IRGC is multifaceted. It either hijacks opponent channels or open new channels adopting and promoting its own hawkish and extremist version of events, insiders indicated.
Its elements also work as repressive tools against activists on social media who expose the crimes and corruption of the regime.
Disrupting dissident media
An Iranian lawmaker was cited by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as saying that jamming signals are sent by military and law enforcement departments in the city, which had an impact on the health of local residents.
What locals in Shiraz say about jamming signals is true and that some domestic TV and radio channels are also received with difficulty due to jamming of satellite broadcasts, he added.
Media platforms have also quoted experts as calling jamming signals ‘silent killer of citizens’, saying “experts believe that electromagnetic waves have devastating effects on human body.”
The IRGC started jamming activities aimed at disrupting reception of news and non-news satellite channels began in 2001, reaching its peak in 2009 following widespread protests against the results of the presidential election, and it is still being practiced.
In 2014 the IRGC launched its Ofoq' channel which is, according to insiders, is entitled to indoctrination, with more focus on Khomeni Revolution's values and the 'sacred defense', according to a report posted on AL-Arabiya.
The finances of the channel, which focuses on airing documentaries glamorizing the policies of the regime and its wars against Arab countries, especially the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, will be covered totally by the IRGC, it added.
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Iran's official government entity controlling television and radio stations adopting the government media line, is the sole owner of the channel, local media said.
the IRGC has also increased its media presence and in addition to Basij Press, it is closely involved with the Tasnim, Nasim and Fars News Agencies, a Zamaneh Media report said.
The Ofoq News Channel is also reportedly closely linked to the IRGC, despite the Guards’ refusal to confirm the connection, it further explained.
Yet, the IRGC has been conducting a large-scale crackdown on social media platforms, shutting down apps and arresting activists.
Iranian social media activists arrested ahead of next month’s presidential elections are being held on security and obscenity charges, the judiciary said Wednesday, according a report on Al Arabiya.
“Some of these people have been arrested on national security charges,” deputy judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie told the Mizan Online news agency.
Local media said the Telegram channels were shut down after the arrests. At least one was restored within a few days, but has not posted anything since March 17.
Mansour Amini, an IRGC cyberspace expert, was once cited by Zamaneh Media as saying The IRGC Cyber Battalions have been organized in the same way as the Ashura Battalions.”
“At each Basij resistance base we have formed a cyber battalion,” Amini added. “These bases are no less than the Ashura or military battalions in terms of presence and organization.”
Also, Mohsen Kazemini, the Tehran IRGC Commander, called on the IRGC cyber force to use every virtual tool to “attack the enemy”.
The IRGC cyber headquarters began its operation 10 years ago and expanded it after the 2009 presidential election and the widespread street protests came thereafter.