International broadcasters slam Iran over signal jamming
Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 08-12-2011
Five western broadcasters have joined forces to condemn Iran over its "increase in deliberate interference" of Farsi language television services during the past year.
A statement, issued by the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Voice of America, calls for action to be taken against those responsible for blocking satellite signals.
"We call upon the regulatory authorities to take action against those who deliberately cause interference to satellite signals on the grounds that this is contrary to international conventions for the use of satellites," the broadcasters said in their statement.
"We specifically ask national telecommunications authorities to take up the issue at an upcoming meeting of the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva.
"We also call upon satellite operators and service providers to recognise the importance of the role they play in ensuring the free flow of information."
Both the BBC and the British Government have been accused by politicians in Tehran of inciting the mass protests following Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009.
BBC Persian TV, which has broadcast in the Farsi language since 2009, does not have a base in Iran. Receiving its broadcasts – or that of any other satellite-provided TV service – is illegal in Iran, though satellite TV reception is widespread in practice. Working for the BBC is also banned, and the reported arrests and intimidation recently of relatives of ten of the broadcaster's staff by Iranian authorities have been condemned by BBC bosses.
"We have seen an escalation this year in the number of pressure tactics that have been used on the media being accessed by audiences in Iran and other countries," the broadcasters said in their statement.
Iran has also been accused by satellite operator Eutelsat of repeatedly jamming satellite signals to prevent transmission of BBC Persian.
The statement from the five international broadcasters came after a meeting in London of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a US government funded agency which broadcasts to about 187 million people in 100 countries around the globe.