ARTICLE 19 highlights satellite jamming
November 23rd, 2011 - 13:36 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

ARTICLE 19, an organisation that defends freedom of expression and information, says in a statement that it’s deeply concerned by the growing number of cases where reception of television and radio services by citizens in one country is deliberately prevented by the use of various “jamming” mechanisms. One example is the ongoing satellite jamming of LuaLua TV - a London-based Bahraini current affairs television station - which had its satellite signal jammed only four hours after the channel was launched on 17 July 2011.

ARTICLE 19 says it has issued this statement to bring renewed attention to jamming, a practice thought to be confined to the cold war having disappeared with the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, it says, deliberate government intrusion of broadcaster satellite signals (or “jamming”) is far more common than is widely acknowledged and reported, and a growing cause of concern for broadcasters around the world. The case of Lualua TV is just the tip of the iceberg. The satellite signals of a number of media outlets, including BBC World Service, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle and Al Jazeera have been persistent targets for governments keen to censor critical reporting and voices.

ARTICLE 19 believes that the deliberate jamming of broadcasters such as LuaLua TV is in clear violation of international human rights law regarding freedom of expression and interferes with both the rights of individuals and broadcasters to receive and impart information, as provided by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

ARTICLE 19 calls on all governments and international organisations to condemn this violation of the rights to freedom of expression and information. ARTICLE 19 also calls on governments, broadcasters and satellite providers to take all necessary measures to protect against and prevent the deliberate jamming of foreign-based, satellite broadcasters. These are part and parcel of a pluralistic and diverse media landscape particularly important in national contexts characterised by high control over information flow and the absence of an independent media.