France, Germany and the UK have asked the European Union to take measures aimed at preventing the jamming of foreign broadcasts in Iran and censorship, particularly by banning exports of certain technologies.
The three foreign ministers, Bernard Kouchner, Guido Westerwelle and David Miliband have written to partners calling for “the adoption of a European statement condemning Iran’s jamming of foreign television and radio stations and calling for an immediate stop”, explained French ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.
The jamming “clearly has the goal of preventing the Iranian population freely exercising its right to information”, the spokesman said, confirming a report in French daily Le Figaro.
France, Germany and the UK are also calling for “equipment and technology that contribute to censorship and attacks on freedom of communication to be added to the list of goods that may not be exported to Iran”, he continued.
Meanwhile, satellite operator Eutelsat issued the following clarification regarding tha jamming of its transmission via its satellites of BBC Persian and Voice of America in Persian:
1. Eutelsat continually carries out technical operations aiming to preserve transmission of BBC Persian and Voice of America via its Hot Bird 8 satellite. Both channels have been transmitted via this satellite without disruption or jamming since the beginning of March;
2. When jamming first began, Eutelsat decided to duplicate the BBC Persian and Voice of America channels on other satellites within its fleet that are more resistant to jamming from Iran. Today, BBC Persian and Voice of America are also transmitted via the W3A satellite in addition to Hot Bird 8;
3. Several complaints have been lodged by Eutelsat over the last 10 months with the relevant French and international telecommunications regulatory authorities to denounce these deliberate jamming operations. A first complaint was made to the ANFR (Agence Nationale des Frequences Francaise) in May 2009. A second complaint was lodged in February 2010, via the official channel of the Eutelsat Intergovernmental Organisation to prompt the International Telecommunication Union’s Radio Regulations Board (ITU-R) to give priority to address the matter. The board is to meet between 22 and 26 March.
4. This situation has also prompted a joint initiative on 16 March 2010 by the French, British and German Ministers of Foreign Affairs, who called upon all European Union Member States to adopt a declaration denouncing the jamming operations at the next Foreign Affairs Council meeting due to be held on March 22.