A group of leading International broadcasters – gathered in the DG5 consortium – declared today that media freedom faces its greatest challenge since the Cold War with Internet blocking, satellite jamming and the return of shortwave jamming.
The statement issued on behalf of the representatives of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) [Australia], British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [United Kingdom], Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [US], Deutsche Welle (DW) [Germany], Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) [Japan] and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), said: “The jamming of satellite broadcasts has become a regular occurrence as regimes seek to block certain services from the being received. This jamming affects area stretching from Northern Europe to Afghanistan and as far south as Northern Africa. We have also seen internet blocking of services and cyber-attacks on media organisations of all over the world, shortwave jamming and disruption and interference with FM broadcasts. Media Freedom has not faced such a concerted campaign of disruption since the end of the Cold War. ”
The broadcasters called on all nations to recognise the legitimate role played by international broadcasts in offering free access to global media and coverage of events.
During the cold war the jamming of radio broadcasts to East of the Iron Curtain was common place. European and US broadcasters worked hard to overcome this in a game of cat and mouse. From the late 1990s digital satellite broadcasting has flourished delivering a wide range of programmes in many languages to communities across the globe. Audiences have been able to benefit from international broadcasts that provide a different perspective on news and cultures.
Increased satellite jamming of FRANCE 24 broadcasts to Iran and Syria stepped up significantly this year and this marks an unwelcome increase of the oldest method of interrupting programmes. The deliberate satellite interference is both extensive and powerful. This is contrary to the international regulations that govern TV satellite broadcasts. RFI’s shortwave broadcasts to Iran in Persian continue to be jammed intermittently, and access to RFI websites continue to be blocked in China.
The AEF is heavily involved in pooling resources with fellow broadcasters and lobbying the satellite industry to stop deliberate interference and achieve media freedom worldwide. This involves seeking both long term and short term technical solutions in order for our content to continue to be received during major political events and crises. Like all the other leading international broadcasters, we are working with the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) and other UN bodies to spread the word about the profound influence that jamming is having on audiences and the industry.
For fifteen years, the DG5 consortium meets once a year and gathers the presidents of the five major international media groups from the Western States (AEF, BBC, BBG, DW, RNW). NHK (Japan) and ABC (Australia) joined the group as observers in 2012. Meetings are also held several times a year between media experts to discuss the wave interferences, the Internet blocking, audience researches, strategies and international distribution.
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The group in charge of French international broadcasting services comprises three media: the trilingual news TV channel FRANCE 24, the international radio station RFI and the Arabic-language radio Monte Carlo Doualiya. From Paris, they broadcast to the world in 14 languages. The group’s journalists and its unique network of correspondents offer viewers and listeners comprehensive coverage of world events, with a focus on cultural diversity and contrasting viewpoints via news bulletins, reports, magazines and debates. The group has a combined weekly audience of over 90 million listeners and TV viewers and its new media platforms attract 25 million visits a month. The group is also a shareholder and partner of the French-language general interest TV channel TV5MONDE.
Date created : 2013-05-06