Burmese jam BBC

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The Independent Online
London (Reuter) - The BBC said yesterday its World Service broadcasts in Burmese were being jammed for the first time in their 55-year history.

"BBC engineers have found deliberate interference on two of the three regular short-wave radio frequencies carrying BBC Burmese-language programmes," the corporation said. Elizabeth Wright, the BBC World Service's Asia- Pacific head, said a distinctive electronic "wobble" noise was first detected in the Burmese capital, Rangoon, two weeks ago and had now been confirmed by BBC staff as jamming.

The BBC said the exact source of the noise has not been established and a spokeswoman refused to say whether the Burmese authorities might be responsible. She said the jamming began shortly after a BBC interview with the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was broadcast in Burma.

Ms Suu Kyi was freed last month from nearly six years of house arrest.

Ms Wright said additional frequencies for the three hours of daily Burmese- language broadcast have been allocated to try to beat the jamming. "Jamming is a practice which violates international broadcasting regulations."