Thursday, December 31, 2009

BBC Persian television broadcasting despite interference from Iran

BBC Persian television is continuing to broadcast into Iran despite attempts to jam the station's signal. The persistent interference began soon after BBC Persian began extended coverage of the death of leading reformist cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri. This includes the first airing of an exclusive interview with the grand ayatollah which was filmed before his death. The senior cleric, who had not been seen on Iranian television screens for 20 years, was one of Shia Islam's most respected figures and a leading critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The jamming began on Sunday 20 December and affected the Hotbird 6 satellite which carries the BBC's international television and radio services in various languages as well as services from other broadcasters. BBC Persian television is also carried on other satellite networks including Telstar and Eutelsat W2M.
The BBC is looking at ways to increase the options for its Farsi-speaking audiences in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, which may include broadcasting on other satellites. In June this year, BBC Persian television suffered similar deliberate attempts to interfere with its signal when airing extended coverage of the Iranian elections. At that time, the satellite operator traced the interference and confirmed it was coming from inside Iran. BBC World Service Director, Peter Horrocks, said: "The fact that someone would go to these lengths to jam BBC Persian television's signal is indicative of the impact we make in Iran. The Iranian people want to know the truth about what is happening in their country, and they know they will get impartial and independent news from the BBC. We'll do everything we can to give them that news."

BBC Persian is the BBC's integrated news and information service for Persian-speakers. It is available on-air and on-demand 24-hours a day, seven days a week. It is designed to reach audiences on radio, television, 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 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 Publicity)

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