AIB condemns jamming of Alhurra, Al Jazeera and DW
Published: 15.33 UTC, February 28, 2011 by Robert Briel

The Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) has expressed its concern at the continuing disruption to transmissions of a number of its members. Deliberate, harmful Interference has been noted to the satellite transmissions of Alhurra, Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle since unrest began in a number of North African and Middle Eastern countries.

According to the AIB, the industry association for international TV, radio, mobile and online broadcasting, it is believed that much of the current jamming originates from the Tripoli area of Libya where the Gaddafi regime continues to control much broadcasting, intelligence and communications infrastructure.

“Deliberate, harmful interference – or jamming – has been something that international broadcasters have had to contend with for decades,” said Simon Spanswick, AIB CEO, in a statement. “Today, the jamming signals are being used against satellite TV services from a range of broadcasters serving audiences in the North Africa and Middle East regions. This restricts access to free and unbiased news and information by people who are desperately in need of this. AIB condemns the interference and calls on any agency involved in jamming satellite signals to desist immediately.”

International broadcasters such as Alhurra and Al Jazeera have established additional satellite feeds to ensure continued access to news and current affairs programming across the region:

Jamming has also affected broadcasts to Iran. Deutsche Welle and Voice of America have suffered extensive jamming of satellite programming during February as popular uprisings developed. It is presumed that Iranian authorities are seeking to prevent news of the revolts from international media reaching the country’s citizens.

“AIB will continue to monitor the situation and assist its members to counteract the attempts to block their programmes,” continued Spanswick. “The attempts to silence news broadcasters demonstrate very clearly the impact that international broadcasters have and the fear felt by dictators when uncensored news is available to their citizens.”

In a related development, Russia Today said its Arabic channel Rusiya al-Yaum, broadcast on the Nilesat (AB4) satellite, is being jammed. According to RRsat Global Communications Network, several attempts have been made to jam the Rusiya al-Yaum signal.