The British Broadcast Corporation said on February 25 that its English-language radio broadcasts distributed by its World Service have been "jammed," or blocked, in China. The BBC suggested that China is to blame.
"The BBC strongly condemns this action, which is designed to disrupt audiences' free access to news and information," the BBC said in a statement. The official broadcaster of the British government did not says when the jamming began nor whether it will continue.
Jamming of satellite services used by the BBC has occured in recent years. Shortwave radio jamming is less frequent, and was historically used to block broadcasts during the Cold War.
The blocking of the BBC follows the jamming of the BBC's Persian-language service to Iran. Last week, a BBC TV news crew was briefly detained in China. Video footage was confiscated by Chinese authorities, allegedly because the BBC crew was investigating a cyber-espionage group in the country. "The deliberate and coordinated efforts by authorities in countries such as China and Iran illustrate the significance and importance of the role the BBC undertakes to provide impartial and accurate information to audiences around the world," said Peter Horrocks of the BBC.
China has not yet commented officially on the BBC's accusations. Currently the BBC World Service has a worldwide weekly audience of 239 million listeners.