BBC 'condemns' Chinese jamming

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks says action is timed to cause 'maximum disruption'

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World Service English programmes are being jammed in China, with the Chinese authorities thought to be responsible.

The BBC says it 'strongly condemns' the action, which is targetting shortwave transmissions and barring the audience from 'free access to news and information'.

'Though it is not possible at this stage to attribute the source of the jamming definitively,' admitted the BBC, 'the extensive and co-ordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.'

Although the deliberate blocking of shortwave transmissions is relatively rare, the jamming of satellite services from broadcasters in Britain, Europe and the US has been on the rise.

Jamming on the rise

The CEO of Eutelsat said at a conference before Christmas that Iran and Syria were responsible for a trebling of the international jamming of their satellites in the last few years, and that it was difficult to prevent.

BBC Persian has been scrambled intermittently from inside Iran since its launch at the start of 2009 and the situation is getting worse. The interference primarily affects satellite broadcasts, although shortwave jamming - used to block BBC broadcasts during the Cold War - is also employed.

Peter Horrocks, director of global news, said the latest action was timed to cause maximum disruption.

'The deliberate and co-ordinated efforts by authorities in countries such as China and Iran illustrate the significance and importance of the role the BBC undertakes to provide impartial and accurate information to audiences around the world,' he added.

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