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article imageBBC radio and television are being jammed from inside Iran

By Michael Cosgrove     Jun 14, 2009 in Politics
The BBC has announced today that its satellite TV and radio broadcasts to Iran and other parts of the Middle East and Europe are experiencing heavy electronic jamming by sources that BBC technicians have identified as being situated in Iran.
The jamming, which began on Friday but has increased in intensity since, is targeting one of the BBC’s satellites that broadcasts BBC Persian TV to Iran.
A BBC comminiqué quoted by French daily Le Figaro stated that they are using various methods to counter the jamming, which is mainly hitting its programmes in Arabic, although some other countries have been affected. Reception problems range from bad image and sound to total interruption of signal reception.
“This seems to be part of the Iranian Authorities’ plan to limit news coverage of the possible consequences of a contentious election” declared Peter Horrocks, Director of the BBC World Service. “Any attempt at jamming BBC Persian is unjustified and is contrary to international treaties concerning communication satellites.”
Horrocks also revealed that John Simpson, a BBC Correspondent in Tehran was arrested and briefly detained along with his photographer on Friday.
In another of a pattern of actions by the Iranian Authorities which seems to be aimed at limiting negative image and opinion from entering or leaving the country, Al-Arabiya, the major Saudi TV news channel, has had its Tehran offices shut down for a week. No reasons for the shutdown are said to have been given.
Other reports from Tehran indicate that social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and twitter have been taken down since the elections. SMS texting services have also been curtailed.
The media organisation Reporters Without Borders, which campaigns for press freedom, issued a statement today which read “The blocking of access to foreign news media has been stepped up. In addition to the blocking of the BBC’s website, the Farsi-language satellite broadcasts of the Voice of America and BBC — which are very popular in Iran — have been partially jammed.”
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