BBC condemns Ethiopia For Jamming Its Broadcasts
|Picture of BBC correspondent Komla Dumor. Dumor passed away in January of 2014.|
BBC condemns Ethiopia For Jamming Its Broadcast
Liliane Landor, acting Director of the BBC World Service Group, has called on the Ethiopian authorities to stop jamming BBC broadcasts in the Middle East and North Africa.
She joined directors from Deutsche Welle, France 24, and the US Broadcasting Board of Directors which oversees the Voice of America, in condemning the flagrant violation of the clearly established international procedures on operating satellite equipment.
Liliane Landor said: “The BBC calls upon the Ethiopian authorities to end this interference. They are disrupting international news broadcasts for no apparent reason. This is a deliberate act of vandalism that tarnishes their reputation.”
During the past week, BBC television and radio broadcasts on the Arabsat satellites have been affected by intentional uplink interference. Many international television broadcasts, including those from France 24 and Deutsche Welle, have been badly affected.
The satellite operator Arabsat has reported that the interference has come from within Ethiopia. The interference is intensive and affects services on all three Arabsat satellites. Unlike previous instances of intentional interference, these events do not appear to be linked to any particular content or channel on these satellites.
The interference is contrary to the international regulations that govern the use of radio frequency transmissions and the operation of satellite systems, and inhibits the ability of individuals to freely access media according to Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Arabsat Traces Intentional Jamming to Ethiopian Source
By Peter B. de Selding,
PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Arabsat of Saudi Arabia on May 29 said it has suffered intentional jamming on multiple television channels on its fleet at 26 degrees east longitude and has succeeded in localizing the source of the interference in Ethiopia.
Riyadh-based Arabsat said it would use the full force of the law to collect damages from the jamming parties, without detailing how this might be achieved. The company said it has notified the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations affiliate, and the Arab League of the action.
In addition to expressing its anger, Arabsat said it was “surprised by the vandalism” because its fleet carries neither Ethiopian nor Eritrean programming. The company speculated that the jammers were aiming at one or more satellites nearby and were affecting Arabsat by accident.
“Several efforts are under way to mediate the situation,” Arabsat said.
Several satellite operators serving the Middle East, including Nilesat of Egypt and Eutelsat of Paris, have had to contend with intentional jamming in recent years, most recently during the Arab Spring protests against several governments in the region.
Satellite operators have little recourse except to ask their governments to exert diplomatic pressure on governments in whose territories the jammers operate.
Arabsat and Eutelsat have also responded by designing their new satellites with anti-jamming features that once were used only on military telecommunications satellites.
With just two weeks left until the start of the FIFA World Cup soccer championship in Brazil, an event expected to swell television audiences worldwide, Arabsat has a special incentive to identify the jamming source and use government pressure to stop it. The company asked for the understanding of its customers, saying the situation “is beyond [our] control.”
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