The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has applauded an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) move to allow governments to take “necessary actions” when foreign powers deliberately interfere with satellite transmissions. Member states approved a revision of the ITU regulations that will give governments greater powers to counter the practice. The decision was taken at this year’s ITU World Radio Communications Conference (WRC-12), after individual broadcasters, the EBU, human rights groups and media freedom campaigners called for tougher action on the growing problem.
The change, adopted by 165 member states of the WRC (out of 193 ITU members), was to article 15.21 of the regulations, which now reads, “If an administration has information of an infringement of the Constitution, the Convention or the Radio Regulations (in particular Article 45 of the Constitution and No. 15.1 of the Radio Regulations) committed by a station under its jurisdiction, the administration shall ascertain the facts and take the necessary actions.”
Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of EBU said, “From the EBU’s point of view, this decision taken by so many countries participating in WRC-12 is a first important step in the right direction. Now we expect ITU services to be vigilant and ready to react to deliberate attempts to obstruct the free flow of information.”
Numerous complaints have been lodged with the ITU about international satellite TV programmes in Persian and Arabic, carried mainly on Eutelsat and Arabsat satellites. The interference practice, which has increased since September 2011, prevented audiences from receiving TV and radio programmes of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Radio France Internationale, Deutsche Welle (Germany), and RFE/RL, Inc.’s Radio Farda. Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), Voice of America (VOA), and the EBU added their voices to the demands for stricter anti-jamming measures.