Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Statement on Interference with Broadcasts to Iran

The Broadcasting Board of Governors condemns the latest efforts of the Iranian Government and its associates to interfere and censor the free flow of objective news and information to the Iranian people. By monitoring satellite signals, BBG’s technical experts have determined that on December 27, the Government of Iran engaged in the intentional jamming of satellite transmissions of the Voice of America’s (VOA) Persian News Network and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Radio Farda.

These efforts continue a pattern by the Iranian Government to block the broadcasting of objective and balanced news and information to the Iranian people, efforts which the Government of Iran has amplified since the June 12 Iranian elections. As Iranian citizens once again demonstrate against the current government, Iran has stepped up its measures to ensure that the Iranian people are deprived of the international reaction, as well as of accurate news about the protests taking place in various cities in Iran.

The latest actions of the Iranian government in jamming commercial satellites appear calculated to intimidate the commercial satellite providers that are targets of the jamming into complicity with the actions of the Government of Iran and deprive the Iranian people access to free press and information.

“Private industry is an essential partner in freedom of the press. We urge our satellite partners to stand united in the face of these authoritarian acts or risk even greater human rights losses,” BBG Governor D. Jeffrey Hirschberg said after the Iranian Government’s latest efforts to jam U.S. International Broadcasting signals.

“This type of intentional, harmful interference is not only a violation of the rules of the International Telecommunications Union to which the Government of Iran has subscribed, but is also a flagrant violation of the internationally recognized right of the people of Iran to receive news and information without government censorship.”

Calls to the Iranian Mission to the UN for comment have not been returned.

The BBG condemns censorship in any form and vigorously affirms the right of all peoples of the world to receive news and information freely and without restriction. The BBG also strongly urges satellite owners and service providers not to allow themselves to become unwitting instruments of censorship of the free press under the guise of avoiding harmful interference. The people of Iran, like the peoples of all countries, have the right to know about their country and the world.

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The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas. BBG broadcasting organizations 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).