Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Iranian Regime Jams Foreign Media Broadcasting

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Agence France Presse (AFP) /

Three international broadcasters on Friday accused Iran of deliberately jamming their output. Britain's BBC, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and the Voice of America said the interference began on Thursday as Iran celebrated the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. They accused Iran of broadcasting freely around the world while denying the Iranian people programmes coming from outside the country. BBC World News was the latest TV channel to be jammed this week. "We condemn any jamming of these channels," said a joint statement by Peter Horrocks, Director of BBC World Service, Erik Bettermann, Director of Deutsche Welle and Dan Austin, Director of Voice of America. "It contravenes international agreements and is interfering with the free and open flow of international transmissions that are protected by international treaties. "The jamming violates article 45 of the constitution of the International Telecommunication Union that prohibits signal interference and we look to the international regulatory community to take a firmer stance on this deliberate act of jamming."

The broadcasters called on satellite operators and regulators to take "urgent action to put pressure on Iran to stop this activity". "The Iranian authorities are using the same satellite services to broadcast freely around the world including broadcasts in English and Arabic; at the same time they are denying their own people programmes coming from the same satellites from the rest of the world," they added. BBC Persian, the corporation's London-based Farsi-language TV channel, has angered Iranian authorities by broadcasting interviews and comment from opposition supporters. The contested re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June sparked the most serious unrest in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The leader of prayers in Tehran on Friday insisted the Iranian people were putting on a show of solidarity for the Islamic revolution anniversary despite the attempts of "enemies" to wreck the event with protests.