U.S. State Department’s Anti-Censorship Strategy? Funding the BBC

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Photo: Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department is poised to invest a "significant" amount of money in the BBC World Service to help combat TV and Internet censorship in countries like Iran and China. The amount, pegged at the low six figures, would be used to develop anti-jamming technology and software. The State Department's decision to back the BBC was based on the service's reach. BBC Persian television, for example, airs in Iran and neighboring countries and has been jammed by government forces numerous times. BBC's Arabic TV news service was also jammed in North Africa during the uprisings in Egypt and Libya. It will be used to develop an early warning software, relying on reports from users on the ground to detect jamming. The BBC also plans to establish proxy servers to give the impression that computers are located in a different country so that users abroad can continue to access the news during times of upheaval. Just wait til the anti-NPR brigade gets wind that U.S. funds are going to foreigners.

BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US state department [Guardian UK]