Iran Curbs Foreign Media Coverage: BBC Claims Service Disruptions
Today, as more opposition protests unraveled in Iran and abroad in the wake of Friday's presidential election, Iran has shut out foreign media from continued coverage of protests within the country. An independent news agency BBC has reported the jamming of its electronic signal from within Iran. As of Sunday, June 14, 3:51 PST, no notice of service disruptions in Iran was posted on BBC's website, however.
But given cell phone service was down since Saturday and social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter were not accessible, does the failure of communications on the part of Ahmadinejad's government mean a deliberate policy against free information exchange or a restraining measure to avoid more chaos in the country?
The British Broadcasting Co. said that electronic jamming of its news report, which it said began on election day Friday, had worsened by Sunday, causing service disruptions for BBC viewers and listeners in Iran, the Middle East and Europe. It said it had traced the jamming of the satellite signal broadcasting its Farsi-language service to a spot inside Iran.
"It seems to be part of a pattern of behavior by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election," said Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC World Service in London.
Iran restored cell phone service Sunday that had been down in the capital since Saturday. But Iranians still could not send text messages from their mobile phones, and the government increased its Internet filtering in an apparent attempt to undercut opposition voices. Social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter were also not working.
Iran regulates and monitors the activities of international and independent media operating within its borders, and it closely watches and guides its own internal state media. Many reformist newspapers, magazines and Web sites have emerged in the past decade, but often come under restrictions or are shut down.