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DW protests jamming of broadcasts

International television and radio broadcasts to the Middle East have been disrupted recently. DW Director-General Erik Bettermann has protested against these acts of censorship.

Various Western television and radio programs transmitted to the Middle East have been disrupted intentionally, according to some Western broadcasters.

"The deliberate and intermittent interference that began earlier this week is coming from Syria," a spokesperson for the French satellite provider Eutelsat told the AFP news agency.

The disruptions have affected BBC, Voice of America and DW programming and are being blamed on state censorship.

DW: Iran behind the action

DW is blaming Iran for the disruption. Following another jamming incident on Thursday morning, DW director-general Erik Bettermann accused Iran of repeated efforts to jam satellite broadcasts from reaching an Iranian audience and said DW was joining forces with the other broadcasters to issue a protest resolution.

The BBC has confirmed that its BBC World Service broadcasts for TV and radio as well as BBC Arabic television channels had been disrupted. A spokeswoman condemned the action as an attack on free access to news and information and a "blatant violation of international regulations concerning the use of satellites."

Eutelsat blocks Iranian transmissions

The disruption of programming follows the removal of 19 Iranian radio and television channels' broadcasting frequencies from Hot Bird satellites on Monday.

Eutelsat said its decision was based on a new round of EU sanctions against Tehran, which also target the Iranian broadcaster IRIB.

"[British satellite provider] Arqiva and Eutelsat have jointly agreed to terminate broadcasts of channels belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) via Eutelsat's Hot Bird satellites," Eutelsat said in a statement on Monday.

EU foreign ministers had agreed on Monday to introduce new financial and trade sanctions on Iran aimed at forcing it to resume talks on its nuclear program. The EU – alongside the United States and Israel – believes Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation Tehran denies.

mm, rg / slk (AFP, DW, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)