BBG Works to Overcome Iran’s Jamming of Persian Satellite News Broadcasts

Washington, DC, June 17, 2005 -The Broadcasting Board of Governors today announced it is using a third satellite to help overcome jamming of Persian-language news broadcasts during Iran’s election period.

The broadcasts affected include Voice of America’s (VOA) direct-to-home Persian-language satellite television news programs, Radio Farda, and VOA English. The three are carried on the Eutelsat Hotbird satellite and Telstar 12. Today, the BBG Office of Engineering added a third satellite transmission. This additional signal makes it more difficult for Iranian authorities to block the broadcasts in many locations.

BBG Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson condemned Iranian attempts to jam satellite television and radio services that carry U.S. international broadcasting for Persian audiences: “That the government of Iran would jam Persian television and other U.S. international broadcasts illustrates how threatened the authorities are by truth.” Tomlinson said the BBG would continue to counter efforts to block open and free information by providing programs on multiple satellites and transponders.

VOA’s Persian service features News & Views, a daily one-hour television news and information program repeated four times with news updates. This week’s 90-minute Looking Ahead program, also produced by VOA Persian, featured Principal Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Elizabeth Cheney. Radio Farda, a joint venture between VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is a youth-oriented 24/7 Persian-language radio service that broadcasts political, social, and economic news, information, public affairs, and music to Iran. Iran also has stepped up jamming on Radio Farda AM and shortwave frequencies.

Iran’s presidential elections are being held today and a runoff is possible. In the past, Iranian jamming of satellite television has occurred around the time of elections and other key political events. The BBG constantly works to overcome jamming.

Iranian authorities also direct Iranian Internet service providers to filter out the ability to connect to the VOA News and Radio Farda websites and They also prevent e-mails from VOA from being received by their citizens. The BBG has been working to counter these efforts through an Internet anti-censorship program.

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); the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa); Radio Free Asia (RFA); and Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Mart