Creating new perspectives since 2009

The Guardian: Jamming targetted at Al-Jazeera traced to sites near Egyptian military bases

February 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm

The source of jamming of Al-Jazeera‘s Egyptian TV service is outside Cairo, according to a company that investigates interference with satellite signals.

Bruno Dupas, president of Integral Systems, said his company was able to geo-locate the origin of the interference which Al-Jazeera says it has been suffering on a daily basis since 3 July when Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi was deposed. “We are confident about the locations in Egypt are around Cairo to an accuracy of less than 10km,” Dupas added.

Al-Jazeera, which commissioned the investigation, said the locations Integral provided are close to Egyptian military sites, leading it to believe the jamming was carried out by the Egyptian government.

On Monday, the Egyptian government was accused of jamming the signal of Al-Jazeera, the pan-Arabic news channel, for the past seven weeks.

It has also been blamed for blocking the broadcaster from sending out raw TV feeds on the Egyptian crisis to other broadcasters.

Egyptian government officials have called the broadcasts of Al-Jazeera Mubasher a national threat, saying it operated without a permit and accusing it of being biased in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood, a charge the broadcaster denies.

Integral Systems, which has built a global business investigating satellite interference for governments and broadcasters, said it is not the first time Al-Jazeera has been jammed.

Mysterious jamming of Al-Jazeera broadcasts of the 2010 World Cup was traced to Jordan, which appears to have retaliated angrily after the collapse of a deal that would have allowed football fans there free access to the matches.

Millions of Al-Jazeera Sports subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa cried foul on 12 June when the opening game between South Africa and Mexico was hit by interference which produced blank screens, pixelated images and commentary in the wrong languages. It occurred seven more times during the tournament’s biggest games.

Interference on satellite broadcasts has the same causes as radio, where pirates can jam a station by broadcasting on the same frequency.

“It’s pretty simple. You need an antenna to provide you with an uplink and then transmit on the same frequency to jam. Most of the time the interference is a mistake,” said Dupas.

Written by Lisa O’Carroll for