Board Condemns Jamming of Broadcasts to Iran

Washington, D.C. —   U.S. international broadcasting signals to Iran are once again being jammed, possibly in connection with street demonstrations and arrests there, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors has condemned the resumption of interference in its programming for Iranians.

“The jamming of news delivered by satellite into Iran is an outrage, a deplorable violation of well-established international agreements,” said International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard M. Lobo. “Freedom of information is a universal human right as well as an essential component for the health of any nation.”

The practice of deliberate interference with broadcast signals, known as “jamming,” is prohibited under rules of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The most recent interference began on Wednesday, October 3, and affected both video and audio signals of the Voice of America’s Persian Service and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda.

The jamming coincided with reports of street demonstrations and mass arrests of Iranians protesting falling currency exchange rates. Both VOA and RFE/RL report that, in some instances, interference starts just before newscasts, and ends just afterwards.

The jamming affected three satellite transponders operated by Eutelsat and those most popular among Iranian viewers: HotBird 13B, Eutelsat 25A and Eutelsat 7A. Viewers said the signals reappear intermittently, and that less-popular satellites are not impacted.

The interference has affected other U.S. international broadcasting programs on the Eutelsat satellites, including Georgian, Armenian and Balkan-language broadcasts.

VOA and RFE/RL programs continue to be broadcast on diverse media platforms, including digital audio and video streams on other satellite paths and on the Internet.

In February 2012, the ITU called upon the world’s nations to take “necessary actions” to stop intentional interference with satellite transmissions. Earlier, the BBG and other international broadcasters called for action against jamming.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti).

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