BBG Condemns Cuba’s Jamming of Satellite TV Broadcasts To Iran

Washington, D.C., July 15, 2003 – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today condemned Cuba’s jamming of U.S. international broadcasts to Iran, calling the action a “deliberate and malicious” effort to block Iranian audiences from gaining access to truthful news and information.

The BBG, the federal agency which oversees all U.S. non-military international broadcasting, also urged providers such as Intelsat and Eutelsat to stop giving service to countries that have jammed satellite transmissions to Iran, where pro-democracy advocates have staged repeated demonstrations against the ruling Islamic government.

“The BBG calls upon the international community to censure the states that have caused the interference,” the nine-member board said in a unanimous resolution. “The BBG strongly condemns the deliberate and malicious interference with its legitimate efforts to impart truthful, objective, and balanced news to its Iranian audience.”

“Cuba’s jamming of satellite transmissions is illegal and interferes with the free and open flow of international communications,” said Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the BBG’s chairman. “This action is illegal, represents a major threat to satellite communication and must be stopped.”

The jamming was first detected on July 6, the day the BBG’s Voice of America (VOA) launched a daily, 30-minute, Persian-language television news and analysis program, News and Views, aimed at providing information to the millions of people who have access to satellite TV in Iran. The program, broadcast from 9:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. in Iran, features original, in-depth news reporting from Iran, world news round-ups, analyses of issues and events and special interest and cultural features. Two other weekly VOA Persian-language television programs, Next Chapter and Roundtable with You, are also jammed.

The BBG said service providers have said the source of jamming is located near Havana, Cuba, which is about 90 miles from the coast of the United States.

The resolution urged the State Department and the Federal Communications Commission to “lodge an appropriate formal protest against the government of Cuba for this unwarranted and wrongful interference.”

VOA’s Persian-language television complements other BBG broadcasting to Iran, including Radio Farda, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, youth-oriented radio program that is a joint project of VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and VOA Persian’s radio service.

The BBG is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); Radio Free Asia (RFA); Radio and TV Mart