Broadcasters and satellite operators condemned the sharp increase
in jamming of broadcasts and considered what steps can be
taken to address the growing threat of intentional blocking
of international broadcasts and internet services.
experts at a conference hosted by the BBC pointed out that
Article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights states
that individuals should have the freedom to seek, receive
and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless
of frontiers, but this right is not universally respected.
owner Eutelsat reports that jamming incidents doubled between
2010 and 2011. The number of incidents has increased threefold
from 2011 to 2102. From January 2012 to November 2012, 340
incidents have been recorded. The Middle East-based operator
Arabsat has recorded an increase in incidents of deliberate
jamming of between 2011 and 2012 of nearly three times. Eutelsat
estimates that between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of jamming
in 2010 originated in Iran. In 2011, the source was mainly
Iran with some interference traced to Syria and Bahrain. This
year, most of the interference has been traced to Syria, but
jamming also continues in Bahrain and Iran. The current regulatory
process offers no direct sanction against countries that allow
jamming to originate from within their borders.
CEO Michel de Rosen said, "The meeting adds more weight
to the growing voice of condemnation of pollution of the airwaves
and the need for decisive action to combat jamming."
speaker Jamie Saunders, who is International Cyber Policy
at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office director, said, The
FCO is a strong supporter of freedom of expression, and we
believe that the existing framework of international human
rights law is as equally applicable in the digital environment
as it is on the off-line world. Specifically, we believe that
efforts to block and suppress broadcasting are wrong and are
bound to fail over time: we need to understand what more can
be done to address deliberate interference, and what part
the Government should play.
director of global news Peter Horrocks said, Satellite
jamming is a growing scourge and a threat to the vital flow
of free information. Throughout its history the BBC World
Service has countered the efforts of jammers, whether on old
shortwave or new satellites. We always called on the guile
of the best editorial and technical minds to overcome jamming.
Today we do that again to help tackle the menace of jamming."
the internet, BBC Chinese has been blocked in China since
its launch in 1999. BBC Persian has been blocked intermittently
from 2006 onwards, and routinely since 2009. The BBC has run
pilot services with Psiphon (a Canadian corporation that develops
advanced censorship circumvention systems and technologies
specifically designed to support users in countries where
access to the internet is restricted) to deliver content into
China, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan so that people who
want to read BBC news are still able to do so. Over one million
pages are viewed weekly through the BBC's Psiphon web proxies.
In a study commissioned by BBC in Iran, 97 per cent of respondents
believed that unmonitored and uncensored access to the Internet
is a universal right.
of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Richard Ottaway MP
said, Gunboat diplomacy is history. Soft power is the
future. We live in a globally networked world where human
rights abuses cannot hide.
International Broadcasting without Barriers Conference brought
over 100 delegates from a variety of satellite operators,
broadcasters and stakeholders together to consider what political
and technical steps can be taken to make the distribution
of media less vulnerable to interference. They face the challenge
that jamming is becoming more frequent and there is currently
no viable technical solution that can protect direct to home