BBC, DW, VOA condemn new satellite jamming by Iran.

Posted: 12 Feb 2010

"International broadcasters – BBC, Deutsche Welle, and Voice Of America - today issued a strong message of condemnation following a new wave of deliberate electronic interference by the Iranian authorities which is affecting their broadcasts. BBC World News – the English language channel - was the latest channel to be jammed this week. The new wave of jamming occurred as Iranians marked the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. The jamming is affecting services on the Hotbird satellite which covers audiences across Europe and the Middle East. These include BBC Persian television, the Voice Of America television channel in Persian, the Radio Farda service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Deutsche Welle's television and radio services. In a joint statement: Peter Horrocks, Director of BBC World Service, Erik Bettermann, Director of Deutsche Welle and Dan Austin, Director of Voice Of America said: 'We condemn any jamming of these channels. It contravenes international agreements and is interfering with the free and open flow of international transmissions that are protected by international treaties.'" BBC World Service press release, 12 February 2010. See also BBC News, 12 February 2010
     "International broadcasters like Deutsche Welle are broadcasting again in Iran and the surrounding region, after their programming was jammed, apparently by the government in Tehran. The Iranian government had reportedly blocked transmissions from a number of international news outlets, including Deutsche Welle, the BBC and Voice of America. Deutsche Welle Director General Erik Betterman submitted a letter of protest to the Iranian ambassador in Berlin, blaming Iran for the disruption of DW broadcasts since Wednesday." DW News, 12 February 2010. See also German version. Thanks to Kai Ludwig for the news tip. See his additional comments.
     "Radio Netherlands Worldwide was also affected. RNW’s English and Indonesian-language broadcasts as well as its BVN television signal were disrupted. Short-wave radio broadcasts were not affected." Radio Netherlands, 12 February 2010.
     The European Parliament "whereas restrictions on freedom of the press and of expression continue to grow, and whereas the Iranian authorities have engaged in large-scale and frequent jamming of international radio and TV networks, many international websites, including Facebook and Twitter, and local opposition sites and mobile-phone services in Tehran, thereby also causing transmission problems for networks in other Middle Eastern countries and even in Europe, --whereas European and Russian companies have been providing Iran with the necessary filtering and jamming devices, some of which might even pose a health risk to those living in the vicinity of the installations ... Condemns the Iranian authorities' efforts to censor the print media and to jam radio, television and Internet services, such as the BBC, and calls on the EU and its Member States to address the international fallout from these methods in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)." Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, 12 February 2010.
     "On days when higher levels of demonstrations and protests are experienced, cell phone connections are also interrupted in many parts of Iran. This is done mainly to cut off and prevent any form of communication with the outside world. News broadcasts such as BBC Persian and Voice Of America have been operating for some time now and serve as good means of alternative news for the Iranians. Both programs are highly popular across the Iranian borders. Following the controversial elections in Iran this summer the government used 'microwave technology' to jam satellite signals in efforts to stop all broadcasting, posing a serious health threat to the public. An interesting fact is that the Iranian government continuously accuses the British and U.S. governments, BBC and VOA as the main cause for the public demonstrations in Iran. Meanwhile the Iranian government broadcasts programs in multiple languages for many different countries and in doing so is essentially fully participating in what it claims to be unethical for other countries." Shirin Ebadi, CNN, 11 February 2010.

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