Published: 25/03/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)
Bern: The US Army mistakenly jammed the satellite signal of a number of news organisations earlier this year - including the French and Swiss national news agencies - in an attempt to shut down an Iraqi TV station, according to a Swiss newspaper.
Daily Tages-Anzeiger reported in yesterday's edition that the incident occurred on January 23 and lasted about 24 hours, affecting a large number of radio, television and internet services, including those of Agence France Presse (AFP) and its Swiss counterpart Schweizerische Depeschagentur (SDA).
An internal SDA memo states that "the loss of all transmission signals via the Eutelsat satellite was caused by a mistaken attack by the US Army". Tages-Anzeiger says the reason for the mistake may have been a report in The Washington Post two days before the incident, in which the owner of Iraqi satellite channel Al Zawraa is cited saying his station would start broadcasting via Eutelsat "in 48 hours".
In fact, Al Zawraa, a Sunni station which broadcasts pictures of insurgent attacks on US and Iraqi forces, never broadcast on the Hot Bird 8 satellite, although another station with a similar name did.