ITU vote allows member states to take "necessary actions" against satellite interference (updated).

Posted: 23 Feb 2012   Print   Send a link
European Broadcasting Union, 20 Feb 2012: "The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) today applauds an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) move to allow governments to take 'necessary actions' when foreign powers deliberately interfere with satellite transmissions. Member states approved a revision of the ITU regulations that will give governments greater powers to counter the practice. The decision was taken at this year’s ITU World Radio Communications Conference (WRC-12), after individual broadcasters, the EBU, human rights groups and media freedom campaigners called for tougher action on the growing problem. The change, adopted by 165 member states of the WRC (out of 193 ITU members), was to article 15.21 of the regulations, which now reads, 'If an administration has information of an infringement of the Constitution, the Convention or the Radio Regulations (in particular Article 45 of the Constitution and No. 15.1 of the Radio Regulations) committed by a station under its jurisdiction, the administration shall ascertain the facts and take the necessary actions.'"

Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 20 Feb 2012: "The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has called upon the world’s nations to take 'necessary actions' to stop intentional interference with satellite transmissions. The change in ITU regulations, which was approved at the just-concluded World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) in Geneva, Switzerland, came after numerous complaints that international satellite TV programs in Persian and Arabic were suffering from deliberate interference, known as 'jamming'. Two satellite operators that have been targeted, Eutelsat and Arabsat, said the interfering signals originated from Iran and Syria. 'We are gratified to see the World Radiocommunication Conference take a position on this vital issue,' said Richard M. Lobo, Director of the United States International Broadcasting Bureau. 'Of course, it remains to be seen whether Iran, Syria and other countries which interfere with international satellite communications will change their practices. Jamming is a fundamental violation, not only of international regulations and norms, but of the right of people everywhere to receive and impart information,' Lobo said."

ITU News, January 2012, Julie N. Zoller: "Given that ITU is the leading United Nations agency for the global management of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits, it is appropriate that problems of harmful interference or 'jamming' should be treated and resolved within ITU through the diligent application of the Constitution, Convention and Radio Regulations. From the outset, ITU has successfully relied upon Member States exercising goodwill and mutual assistance. But studies may be needed to determine what additional measures could be incorporated in the Radio Regulations to improve the protection of satellite networks and enable this type of harmful interference to be resolved expeditiously."

Update: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, 22 Feb 2012: "Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and the Campaign’s spokesperson Hadi Ghaemi expressed concern that Eutelsat, whose satellites host Iran’s state media network the IRIB, and other telecommunications companies have done little or nothing to hold Iran accountable for its censorship. Eutelsat’s failure comes despite the fact that much of the Islamic Republic’s jamming is aimed at other Eutelsat clients, BBC Persian and Voice of America (VOA), and the IRIB has itself been implicated in gross human rights violations for producing televised forced confessions of prisoners of conscience. 'The ITU has now made Iran’s legal obligations perfectly clear. But the international community, including telecommunications corporations like Eutelsat, needs to sustain its efforts to make sure Iran stops jamming satellite broadcasts,' said Ghaemi."