Iran's internet blocking, satellite jamming, and journalist imprisonment in the news.

Posted: 03 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
"News channel France 24 accused Iran on Friday of blocking its website to users there, the latest in a series of international broadcasters to complain of censorship by the Islamic Republic. 'France 24 learned today from various sources that its website france24.com was no longer accessible from Iranian territory,' the French rolling news station said in a statement, describing the move as 'censorship'. ... France 24, which is publicly funded and broadcasts in French, English and Arabic, linked the latest blockage to its online coverage of the opposition movement. 'This censorship comes as all France 24's editorial teams are following day by day the events surrounding the opposition movement ... particularly with the help of (online) social networks and amateur pictures sent by the Internet.'" AFP, 2 April 2010.
     "Hot Bird 8 may be Europe's largest and most powerful television satellite, but it still has little chance when the Iranian regime decides to block its signals. When that happens, the Farsi services of the BBC and Voice of America instantly disappear from television screens -- and not just in Iran, but also throughout the satellite's entire coverage area. ... Indeed, it would seem that it is often surprisingly easy for the regime in Tehran to suppress information from abroad. Although Hot Bird 8 is in geostationary orbit about 36,000 kilometers (22,400 miles) above the Earth, it can be easy to sabotage, something which is also true for many other satellites. The Iranians only need to transmit a strong signal in the satellite's direction using the same frequency with which programs are transmitted from the original ground transmission station. ... In the meantime, the satellite operator has changed how some of its services are distributed. The channels affected thusfar are now transmitted via other satellites that can broadcast to the entire Gulf region, but without being reachable by uplinks from Iran. Not all the channels on Hot Bird 8 have been affected by the electronic sabotage, however. The state broadcaster Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting also transmits its Press TV foreign service from Hot Bird 8. So far, it has not experienced any problems." Christoph Seidler, ABC News, 1 April 2010.
     "During the 49th session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) which ends today in Vienna, the Executive Secretary of the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization EUTELSAT IGO, Mr. Christian Roisse, urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease deliberate repeated jamming which has seriously affected frequencies of the international organisation and reception of a number of radio and TV channels broadcast through satellites operated by Eutelsat S.A. in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa." Eutelsat press release, 1 April 2010.
     "The daughters of Badressadat Mofidi, the prominent Iranian journalist and secretary of the banned Iranian Journalists Association, have published a letter describing the appalling conditions in which their mother is being held in prison in Iran. ... Mofidi was arrested on December 29 after discussing the government’s press policies in an interview with the Persian service of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. No formal charges have been disclosed against her." Committee to Protect Journalists, 1 April 2010.
     "George Washington University's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are pleased to present a half-day conference entitled 'Iran's Blogosphere and Grassroots Voices: Risks and Rewards of Engagement' on Monday, April 12 at the Jack Morton Auditorium in downtown Washington, D.C. The conference will examine the powerful effect of the new media and social networks in today's Iran, including in linking young Iranians interested in sharing news and information, in promoting change in their society, and in building bridges to the outside world." GWU IPDGC website.