The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) claimed on Monday that its English language World Service radio channel is being jammed in China. The BBC, Britain’s state media organisation, suggested that Chinese authorities were responsible for the disruption.
“The BBC has received reports that World Service English shortwave frequencies are being jammed in China,” said a BBC statement. The BBC strongly condemns this action which is designed to disrupt audiences’ free access to news and information,” it added.
Suggesting that the Chinese government was behind the disruption, the BBC said that although ”it is not possible at this stage to attribute the source of the jamming definitively, the extensive and coordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”
This is not first time that Chinese authorities, who impose strict controls and censorship on its domestic media organisations, have been accused of blocking foreign news media.
Last year the BBC accused China of censoring its World News Television Channel by using jamming techniques to disrupt broadcasts on sensitive issues. The BBC website has also run afoul of China’s tight internet controls, and is consistently blocked. US state-funded Voice of America Radio and Radio Free Asia have has similar experiences. Recently there have also been accusations made by media organisations such as the New York Times, which reported at the end of January this year that its computers had been attacked by Chinese hackers.
World Propaganda Wars
Whilst China is certainly one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to media censorship – ranking at 173 out of 179 countries on a World Press Freedom Index compiled by campaign group Reporters Without Borders – this is part of a much broader propaganda war whose tentacles stretch across the globe.