Global media accuse Iran over signal jamming

AP News
Posted: Dec 07, 2011 6:10 PM
Global media accuse Iran over signal jamming

Leading international broadcasters on Wednesday accused Iran of increasing its intimidation of foreign media and accelerating efforts to jam satellite broadcasts in Farsi from reaching Iranian audiences.

Following a meeting of senior media executives in London, Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Germany's Deutsche Welle, France's AEF and Radio Netherlands Worldwide issued a joint statement calling for an end to attempts to block independent media.

Iran has previously been criticized over its efforts to jam broadcasts and block websites of foreign-based Farsi-language media, including BBC Persian and Voice of America.

"We call upon the regulatory authorities to take action against those who deliberately cause interference to satellite signals," the broadcasters said in a statement, urging national authorities to take up the issue at a meeting of the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva.

Tehran has accused the BBC, along with the British government, of fomenting the mass protests that broke out after Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009.

In September, the BBC said jamming from within Iran had been expanded to target Eutelsat's W3A satellite, which covers Africa, Europe and parts of the Middle East.

Iranian authorities have also questioned an unspecified number of people over their alleged links to BBC's Farsi-language service, and arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly providing the BBC with video and news reports perceived as damaging to Iran.

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"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.

The issue was discussed at a meeting in London of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. government funded agency which has channels broadcasting to about 187 million people in 100 countries.