Middle East satellite jamming has reached what one local broadcaster has described as “catastrophic” proportions. While Eutelsat and Intelsat have legitimately removed troublesome Iranian (IRIB) channels from their satellites, the jamming from within Iran and affecting incoming satellite feeds continues. The BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle and the Voice of America are just some of the recently affected channels.
Recent satellite jamming has also occurred from Bahrain, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, again each targeting the signals of channels which local authorities find offensive, or which are transmitting information or programming deemed controversial by one or other Ministry.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on Friday issued a strong condemnation of all “harmful interference”. The ITU, in a statement, said any transmission “which has the intent to cause harmful interference ….is an infringement of the ITU Constitution.”
The ITU’s statement “appeals to all its 193 Member States to exercise the utmost goodwill” in solving and minimising any “harmful interference”. Iran and Syria are full members of the ITU.
The problem with the ITU and its dedicated Radio Regulations Board is that there are no penalties or sanctions that it can apply for transgressions. The United Nations and the European Union both have their own sanctions in place against countries such as Iran. The EBU on October 22nd also issued its own statement “deploring” jamming.