Deutsche Welle, BBC, France 24 and Voice of America are amongst numerous members of the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) who are angered by Ethiopian authorities’ intentional jam of satellite programs, and claim the action is a violation of international agreements.
This also prevents audiences from being able to freely access the media and violates the internationally recognized freedom of speech and freedom of the press rights as per Article 19 of the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights. AIB is responding by lodging protests with the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry and its Missions in London, Berlin, Paris, Riyadh and Washington DC.
Simon Spanswick, Chief Executive of the AIB stated, “AIB and its members call for the immediate and complete cessation of this unwarranted interference by Ethiopia in the region’s telecommunications and broadcasting services. Significant, harmful interference has been directed at satellites in the Arabsat and Eutelsat fleets, and consequently to the broadcasts of a wide range of TV and radio channels.
“This deliberate interference is illegal and contravenes international law. It deprives viewers and listeners across the region of access to news, information and entertainment. The interference also adversely impacts the important operational role that Arabsat and Eutelsat have in distributing content. It also harms their businesses. Extensive technical research has confirmed that the jamming originates within the territory of Ethiopia. AIB reminds the authorities in Ethiopia that causing interference is in direct contravention to the agreements that the Ethiopian government is party to at the International Telecommunication Union. “
Liliane Landor, acting Director of the BBC World Service Group, added, “The BBC calls upon the Ethiopian authorities to end this interference. They are disrupting international news broadcasts for no apparent reason. This is a deliberate act of vandalism that tarnishes their reputation.”
French satellite provider Eutelsat has said its satellite fleet has experienced a drastic rise in interference originating from Ethiopia, according to a report.
NexTV reports the company’s disruptions in its satellite service from the region have increased from 5 per cent in 2010 to 15 per cent last year.
HumanIPO reported last week the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and numerous other international broadcasters had claimed television and radio broadcasts on the Arabsat satellites had been intentionally jammed by the Ethiopian authorities.
“The BBC calls upon the Ethiopian authorities to end this interference. They are disrupting international news broadcasts for no apparent reason. This is a deliberate act of vandalism that tarnishes their reputation,” said Liliane Landor, acting director of the BBC World Service Group.
According to Eutelsat, its provision of signal to Saudi Arabia has also been disrupted by the jamming programme. It said the antennae are located in the northeast of the country and serve to disrupt programming on its satellites at 7 degrees West and 21 degrees East.
The company said it would be reporting the disruptions to the French National Frequencies Agency (ANF), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Ethiopian government.
Additionally, the Ethiopian government has been accused of implementing surveillance programmes targeting those in the country and its refugees being housed by foreign states.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) the country hasbeen using foreign technology to boost its widespread telecoms surveillance of opposition activists and journalists in Ethiopia and abroad.
Privacy Internationallodged a criminal complaint with the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) of the National Crime Agency for the allegedly unlawful interception of personal communications of an Ethiopian political refugee living in the UK.
The privacy groups said that the UK-based company Gamma International played a role in the development of commercial surveillance software Finspy, which has been used by the Ethiopian government to target dissenters.
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