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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has described recent interruptions to news delivered by satellite into parts of the Middle East as “an attack on media independence.”
The targeted jamming cut off radio and television content by broadcasters including the BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle and the Voice of America. European satellite operator Eutelsat reports that the “deliberate and intermittent interference,” originated from Syria and Iran.
EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said: “Access to information is a universal human right and an essential component for democracy. We deplore this attack on media freedom.”
The most recent episode may link to a Eutelsat decision to stop carrying 19 Iranian channels operated by Iran’s state media organisation, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Eutelsat said it had taken Iranian state television and radio channels off air to comply with tougher EU sanctions on the Islamic state.
In recent years, Iran has jammed the reception of a variety of broadcasters, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The practice of deliberate interference with broadcast signals is banned under ITU rules. In February 2012, the ITU called upon the world’s nations to take “necessary actions” to stop intentional interference with satellite transmissions.
The change in ITU regulations, which was approved at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) in Geneva, Switzerland, came after numerous complaints that international satellite TV programmes in Persian and Arabic were suffering from deliberate interference.