China and international censorship on World Press Freedom Day
Today is World Press Freedom Day and during recent days we have learnt that BBC World News, our 24/7 international news channel, has been jammed by Chinese authorities during stories they regard as sensitive.
This included Damian Grammaticas' report yesterday on Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng leaving the US embassy.
This deliberate electronic interference of the channel's distribution signal is just the latest in a long line of examples to block our impartial news and prevent it reaching audiences.
The BBC's Chinese language website has been consistently blocked in China, apart from a brief respite during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and our radio broadcasts in Mandarin were historically subject to persistent frequency interference for decades.
And these issues are certainly not just restricted to China.
In November, BBC World News was taken off-air in Pakistan by cable operators for broadcasting a documentary entitled Secret Pakistan.
BBC Persian TV has suffered deliberate interference to its broadcasting signals intermittently since its launch and the online service has consistently been blocked.
Other international broadcasters including Deutsche Welle and Voice of America have also been subject to deliberate electronic interference by the Iranian authorities.
In addition, in recent months, new tactics have been introduced which should be of deep concern to all those who believe in a free and independent international media.
This includes the intimidation of the families and acquaintances in Iran of BBC Persian's London-based staff. All journalists should be allowed to operate freely and any attempt to intimidate those known to them, is very concerning.
We strongly condemn these acts of censorship and harassment. The BBC has a long history of standing up to these attempts to prevent access to free media. This includes working closely with other international broadcasters to highlight these issues and encourage concerted international action.
We would again urge the countries where jamming, censorship and harassment emanates from, to stop these restrictive practices.
It is also imperative that the global community is doing all they can to counter attempts to block authoritative news.
The challenges that our international journalists face have never been so many and varied.
The BBC will continue to represent the voice of free media where there is no other access to fair and authoritative news - be it because of suppression and persecution of journalists, a growth in state sponsored media or attempts to jam or censor our news.
Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we repeat the call on international governments and the relevant regulatory bodies to put maximum pressure on those who seek to block access to trusted and independent news.
Peter Horrocks is director, BBC Global News