Al Jazeera’s World Cup mysterious jamming traced to Jordan

September 30, 2010

The mysterious jamming of Al Jazeera’s World Cup broadcast has been traced to Jordan, The Guardian reported.

Millions of Al Jazeera Sports subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa were shocked on 12 June when the opening match between hosts South Africa and Mexico was hit by interference which produced blank screens, pixelated images and commentary in the wrong languages.

The technical chaos occurred seven more times during the tournament’s biggest games, the British paper said.

Al Jazeera in June protested that the jamming of the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites was an act of “sabotage”, but the network has never named any suspects or gone public with the results of its own investigation.

However, The Guardian on Wednesday said that secret documents it has seen exclusively trace five episodes of jamming definitively to a location near As Salt in Jordan, north-east of the capital, Amman.

Technical teams using geolocation technology confirmed the location and the co-ordinates identified were 32.125N 35.766E. The technology is accurate to within a range of 3-5km. However, it remains unclear whether the sophisticated attack was mounted from a fixed ground station or a vehicle, the daily said.

Jamming involves the transmission of radio or TV signals that disrupt the original signal to prevent reception on the ground. It is illegal under international treaties.

Al Jazeera had exclusive pay-TV rights to broadcast World Cup matches to all Arab countries and to Iran.

Saeed Bawazir, the head of Al Jazeera’s technical department, said that the jamming could be done only through modern and sophisticated equipment.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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