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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Releases

BBC Persian television combats broadcast interference from Iran

The BBC has increased the number of satellites that carry its BBC Persian television service for Farsi-speakers in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

This follows persistent interference of the Hotbird 6 satellite which carries the BBC's international television and radio services in various languages as well as services from other broadcasters.

From now on, BBC Persian television will now be additionally available on the Eutelsat W2M satellite and continues un-interrupted on the Telstar 12 satellite.

BBC Persian is also expected to be available on Nilesat soon.

They will serve Farsi-speaking audiences across the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Since Friday 12 June the BBC Persian service, other BBC services, and the services of other broadcasters on Hotbird 6 have been subject to deliberate interference.

BBC Arabic television and various language services have also been experiencing transmission problems including being off the air at various points.

The satellite operator has traced the interference and has confirmed it is coming from within Iran.

This interference is contrary to all international agreements for satellite usage to which Iran is a signatory.

BBC Persian television has extended its broadcast hours. There are an extra five hours of programming at Iranian breakfast and lunchtime, in addition to its usual evening broadcasts.

Radio broadcasts have also been extended.

BBC World Service Director Peter Horrocks said: "This is an important time for Iran and many Iranians are turning to the BBC for impartial and independent news and information during this crisis.

"We hope that by adding more ways to access BBC Persian television, Farsi-speaking audiences can get the high-quality news, analysis and debate they clearly desire.

"We also hope this will lessen the impact on other broadcasters who have been affected by the interference."

BBC Persian will be available on:

  • Eutelsat W2M at 3.1° East (11. 473 GHz – vertical polarised). This is only 10º west of Hotbird 6 and can be found by making a small adjustment to the position of the satellite receiver dish.
  • Nilesat at 7° West, 10.757 GHz (vertically polarised)
  • Telstar T12, 15° West , 12.608 GHz (horizontally polarised)

BBC Persian's online services have been partially blocked in Iran since 2006.

Despite the interference, has experienced a huge growth in usage since the current protests began.

Compared to traffic in May, the number of daily page impressions increased seven-fold to more than 3.6 million page impressions earlier this week. The number of visitors to the website has seen a four-fold increase.

Online users streaming BBC Persian television through have also increased. On Monday 15 June alone the stream was accessed nearly half a million times online – this is more video requests than the whole of last May.

The BBC Persian YouTube channel showed an increase in usage until the Iranian authorities blocked the site to those within Iran last weekend.

The huge growth in Iran's usage of the BBC's online services means Iran is now second only to the USA as the country which streams the most BBC World Service TV and radio services.

BBC Persian has also been receiving user-generated content, such as videos and eye-witness accounts via email and phone, at a rate of up to eight per minute.

Notes to Editors

BBC Persian is the BBC's integrated news and information service for Persian-speakers. It is available on demand 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

It is designed to reach audiences on radio, TV, the internet – on – mobile phones and handheld computers in whatever way best suits the audience.

BBC Persian is one of the oldest of the BBC's non-English language services. Launched on 28 December 1940, it has evolved into the Persian-speaking world's leading international broadcaster, covering the political, social and cultural issues that matter to its diverse audiences in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and across the world.

With its new 12-hour-a-day TV presence, BBC Persian is bringing the world to Persian-speaking audiences, reporting the news wherever it leads.

The latest news from BBC Persian is now available on mobile phones, PDAs and other wireless handheld devices.

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering 32 language and regional services, including: Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, English, English for Africa, English for the Caribbean, French for Africa , Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese for Africa, Portuguese for Brazil, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish for Latin America, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.

It uses multiple platforms to reach 188 million users globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels.

It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices.

Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate.

For more information, visit To find out more about the BBC's English language offer and subscribe to a free e-newsletter, visit

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