"Ce sont les ondes d'un autre temps." TDF closes French Guiana shortwave relay site.

Posted: 30 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
France-Guyane, 19 Feb 2013, Nicolas Camus: The TDF shortwave broadcast relay at Montsinery, French Guiana, ends transmissions this weekend. "There are several reasons: competition of Internet and satellite platforms, and also the fact that many developing countries that were our main targets are more stable politically." -- This was Radio France International's main gateway to the Western Hemisphere. Following recent closure of the Radio Netherlands relay at Bonaire, and Radio Canada International at Sackville NB, shortwave transmission facilities in this hemisphere are becoming scarce.

France-Guyana, 25 Mar 2013, Nicolas Camus: "These technicians who specialize in shortwave will have to learn a trade. 'They are very competent, but in an obsolete area.'" See also France-Guyane, 20 Mar 2013.

VOA and BBC World Service announce reductions to their shortwave schedules.

Posted: 30 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Voice of America press release, 26 Mar 2013: "Voice of America is reducing some of its radio transmissions this weekend and ending shortwave broadcasts to regions where audiences have alternative ways of receiving VOA news and information programs. The transmission reductions allow VOA to comply with budget cuts required by sequestration and to avoid furloughs of staff members. When the new broadcast schedule goes into effect on March 31st, cross-border shortwave and medium wave broadcasts to Albania, Georgia, Iran and Latin America will be curtailed, along with English language broadcasts to the Middle East and Afghanistan. VOA will continue to provide audiences in these regions with up-to-date news and information through a host of other platforms, including radio and TV affiliate stations, direct-to-home satellite, web streaming, mobile sites and social media. The new broadcast schedule calls for reductions in some shortwave and medium wave radio broadcasts in Cantonese, Dari/Pashto, English to Africa, Khmer, Kurdish, Mandarin, Portuguese, Urdu and Vietnamese. Direct radio broadcasts to all of these regions will continue. The transmission reductions are expected to have minimal impact on audience numbers since primary modes of delivery will remain. Shortwave and medium wave broadcasts will continue to regions where they draw substantial audiences, and to countries where other signal delivery is difficult or impossible."

See VOA transmission schedule, 31 March 2013 through 26 October 2013 (not available at voanews.com). This schedule is for transmissions through IBB-owned shortwave and medium wave transmitters and does not include broadcasts that are through partner stations in target countries.

BBC World Service press release, 25 Mar 2013: "The World Service English global schedule will be simplified with fewer regional variations from Sunday 31 March 2013 and shortwave Arabic broadcasts will cease. The reductions to shortwave services were announced in October 2012 as part of the UK government’s 2010 spending review. BBC World Service on FM and online and on television will not be affected and no language services are closing. Shortwave and medium wave transmissions in English will be reduced to a minimum of 6 hours in total each day. This will generally be two periods of between 2 and 4 hours each, usually at peak listening times in the morning and evening to help minimise disruption. ... The estimated loss of listeners to Global English on shortwave will be around 1.5m listeners, equivalent to 1.3% of the total Global News English audience on any platform. BBC Arabic audiences are estimated to reduce by 800,000 as a result of the closure of shortwave broadcasts. In the Arabic speaking world, the World Service broadcasts on a network of FM relays, a 24-hour television channel and the bbcarabic.com website. Shortwave services to Sudan are not affected as the shortwave service is currently the most viable method of broadcasting to this large region."

VOA schedule

Posted: 30 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
VOA Broadcast Frequency Schedules Effective 31 March 2013 through 26 October 2013 Notes: All times and dates are Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), same as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Frequencies are in kiloHertz (kHz). 1 MegaHertz (MHz) is equal to 1000 kHz. Conversion to meter bands: Meters=300000/frequency in kHz. e.g.: 17705 kHz --> 16.9 meters Abbreviations: All programs/frequencies are on daily unless noted otherwise. & - Monday only * - Monday through Friday = - Monday through Saturday < - Tuesday through Friday / - Tuesday and Friday only # - Tuesday through Saturday % - Tuesday through Sunday ~ - Thursday only > - Friday and Saturday @ - Saturday only $ - Saturday and Sunday " - Sunday only + - Sunday and Monday ^ - Sunday through Thursday ! - Sunday through Friday Afan Oromo 1730-1800 UTC* 11905 11925 12140 13870 15620 Amharic 1600-1630 UTC* 1431 1800-1900 UTC 11905 11925 12140 13870 15620 Azerbaijani 1730-1800 UTC 7435 9490 11760 Bambara 2130-2200 UTC* 7310 9620 12005 13670 Bangla 1600-1700 UTC 1575 7475 11790 Burmese 0000-0030 UTC 1575 5955 7430 9325 0130-0300 UTC 7305 15115 17780 1130-1230 UTC 11965 15555 17680 1430-1500 UTC 1575 5880 9320 11965 12120 1500-1530 UTC 5880 9320 11965 1500-1530 UTC$ 1575 1530-1600 UTC 1575 5880 9320 1600-1630 UTC 5880 9320 2300-2400 UTC 6185 7430 9325 Cantonese 1300-1500 UTC 7365 Chinese 0000-0100 UTC 9545 15385 15565 17560 0900-1100 UTC 11825 11965 13740 17485 21695 1100-1200 UTC 6110 9845 11785 11825 15250 1200-1300 UTC 6110 11785 11825 15250 1300-1400 UTC 6110 11785 11805 15115 1400-1500 UTC 6110 9845 11615 12040 2200-2300 UTC 6135 9845 Dari 0130-0230 UTC 1296 9335 11565 1530-1630 UTC 1296 9335 9790 15090 English to Africa 0300-0400 UTC 909 1530 4930 6080 9885 0400-0430 UTC 909 1530 4930 4960 6080 9885 12025 0430-0500 UTC 909 4930 4960 6080 12025 0500-0600 UTC 909 4930 6080 12025 15580 0600-0700 UTC 909 1530 6080 12025 15580 1400-1500 UTC 4930 6080 15580 1500-1600 UTC 4930 6080 15580 17895 1600-1700 UTC 909 1530 4930 6080 15580 1700-1800 UTC 6080 11795 15580 17895 1800-1830 UTC 6080 15580 17895 1800-1830 UTC$ 909 4930 1830-1900 UTC 4930 15580 1830-1900 UTC$ 909 1900-1930 UTC 909 4930 9850 15580 1930-2000 UTC 909 4930 15580 2000-2030 UTC 909 1530 4930 15580 2030-2100 UTC 909 1530 4930 6080 15580 2030-2100 UTC$ 4940 2100-2200 UTC 1530 6080 15580 English to Far East Asia, South Asia and Oceania 0100-0200 UTC 7430 9780 11705 1100-1200 UTC$ 1575 1200-1300 UTC 7575 9510 12075 12150 1300-1400 UTC$ 7575 9510 12075 12150 1400-1500 UTC* 7540 7575 12150 1500-1600 UTC 7540 7575 12150 2200-2300 UTC^ 5895 5915 7480 7575 12150 2230-2400 UTC> 1575 2300-2400 UTC 5895 7480 7575 12150 English-Special 0030-0100 UTC 1575 7430 9325 9790 12015 15290 17820 0130-0200 UTC# 9820 1500-1600 UTC 6140 9485 9760 1600-1700 UTC 11915 13570 17895 1900-2000 UTC 7485 2230-2400 UTC 7460 9570 11840 French 0530-0600 UTC* 1530 4960 6095 9885 13830 0600-0630 UTC* 4960 6095 9885 13830 1100-1130 UTC@ 12030 13735 15715 17850 1830-2000 UTC 1530 9815 17530 2000-2030 UTC 6065 9815 11900 15730 17530 2030-2100 UTC" 9885 15730 2030-2100 UTC$ 11900 15185 2100-2130 UTC* 9690 9815 9885 11900 Hausa 0500-0530 UTC 1530 4960 6035 6095 0700-0730 UTC 4960 11785 13725 1500-1530 UTC 12085 13725 17680 2030-2100 UTC* 4940 7325 9815 11885 2030-2100 UTC@ 9885 15730 2030-2100 UTC= 6035 Khmer 1330-1430 UTC 1575 11695 2200-2230 UTC 1575 6060 9320 Kinyarwanda/Kirunda 0330-0430 UTC 7325 7340 11905 1600-1630 UTC@ 12080 15460 17530 Korean 1200-1300 UTC 1188 7225 9490 15775 1300-1500 UTC 1188 7225 11935 15775 1900-2100 UTC 648 5900 6060 7365 Kurdish 0500-0600 UTC 11905 15525 17870 1400-1500 UTC 9850 17870 1700-1800 UTC 7365 9850 11985 Lao 1230-1300 UTC 1575 9695 11965 Pashto 1430-1530 UTC 1296 9335 9790 15090 1630-1730 UTC 1296 9335 9790 11580 PASHTUN 0100-0400 UTC 621 9370 11895 12035 1300-1500 UTC 621 7495 9310 9695 11590 1500-1600 UTC 621 7495 9310 9355 11590 1600-1700 UTC 621 7495 9310 9355 9965 1700-1900 UTC 621 7495 9310 9780 9965 Portuguese 1700-1800 UTC 1530 1800-1830 UTC* 9825 17530 Somali 0330-0400 UTC 11750 13680 15620 1300-1400 UTC 15170 17530 1600-1630 UTC$ 1431 12055 15620 1630-1700 UTC 12055 15620 1700-1800 UTC 12055 13680 South Sudan - English 1630-1700 UTC* 9490 11655 13870 Swahili 1630-1700 UTC 11760 15265 15460 Tibetan 0000-0100 UTC 7250 9480 9855 0300-0400 UTC 15130 15605 17735 0400-0500 UTC 15155 15605 17735 0500-0600 UTC 15265 15605 17490 1400-1500 UTC 9920 17540 17740 1600-1700 UTC 7545 9565 17485 Tigrigna 1900-1930 UTC* 11905 11925 12140 13870 15620 Urdu 0000-0200 UTC 972 1539 1400-2400 UTC 972 1539 Uzbek 1500-1530 UTC 9540 9580 11920 15100 Vietnamese 1300-1330 UTC 1575 Zimbabwe 1700-1800 UTC 909 4930 5940 15455 1800-1830 UTC* 909 4930 5940 15455 1830-1900 UTC* 909 5940 15455

Software does what USIB entities will not do: consolidate.

Posted: 30 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 18 Mar 2013: "Breaking international news gathered by one of the world’s most extensive networks of journalists can now be found in one place thanks to a new online initiative by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Today marks the launch of the BBG’s Global News Dashboard, which pulls together the English-language news from the more than 50 bureaus, production centers and offices supported by the agency’s staff journalists and more than 1500 stringers around the globe. ... The new site’s English-language content will come from Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia. Users who access stories will be directed to the original content on the sites of the three broadcasters. The Global News Dashboard also will include links to original content in Spanish of Radio/TV Martí and the Arabic-language online offerings of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Before development of the Dashboard, people interested in the work of the BBG would have to visit the websites of five separate broadcasters. This tool, built on the Pangea content management system developed by RFE/RL and used by the majority of BBG’s broadcasters to power their websites, makes that search easier. 'It’s such a simple tool, but it will have a resounding effect,' said Robert Bole, director of BBG’s Office of Digital and Design Innovation. 'Bringing all these sources of information together makes a powerful statement about this agency and the way we do business. We’re so much greater than just the sum of our parts.'" The Global News Dashboard can be found at www.globalnewsdashboard.com.

Voice of Russia and China Radio International sign "treaty" to exchange content.

Posted: 24 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Voice of Russia, 21 Mar 2013: "The Voice of Russia (VOR) and China Radio International (CRI) have concluded a treaty on expanding media cooperation, news reports said on Thursday. The document was signed by VOR chairman Andrei Bystritsky and his Chinese counterpart Wang Gengnian in Moscow earlier today in a ceremony also attended by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets. The treaty stipulates CRI broadcasting a spate of VOR programs that will help the Chinese people get a better understanding of Russia’s history and culture. For its part, the VOR will broadcast a series of CRI’s programs in Russian. The document underlines long-term partnership between the VOR and CRI and contributes to enhancing ties between Russia and China. ... Wang Gengnian stressed that all the time the Russian-language service of China Radio International has been in existence, it had received support from the Voice of Russia." -- Voice of Russia must depend on "news reports" to report on what Voice of Russia is doing? In any case, this appears to be the exchange on content on the international services, not VOR content on Chinese domestic broadcasting outlets, or vice versa. China Radio International may have "received support" from Voice of Russia, but in the 1960s and 1970s, the USSR vigorously jammed Radio Peking, and China did the same to Radio Moscow.

Voice of Russia, 21 Mar 2013: "Voice of Russia and its old-time partner China Radio International signed an agreement on media space sharing that will become a new milestone in the Russian-Chinese relationship. The symbolic gathering will run off in the framework of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow. Under the accord, the Voice of Russia will air Russian-language programs of its Chinese colleagues devoted to the Year of Russian tourism in China, while the China Radio International will launch similar projects on Russia’s culture and history for CRI’s Chinese listeners."

End of the Bettermann era: Peter Limbourg named new DG of Deutsche Welle.

Posted: 23 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Deutsche Welle press release, 15 Mar 2013: "Peter Limbourg (52) will be the new Director General of Deutsche Welle (DW). The Chairman of the Broadcasting Board Valentin Schmidt announced the decision after a meeting of the supervisory body on March 15 in Berlin. Upon the Selection Committee's recommendation, the 17 members of the Broadcasting Board elected the current Senior Vice President of News and Political Information of ProSiebenSat.1 TV Germany as the successor to Erik Bettermann with a clear majority. Bettermann (68), whose term as DW's Director General will officially end on September 30, 2013, has been in charge of Germany's international broadcaster since 2001. During this time, he significantly shaped DW's strategic realignment. ... After his military service, Peter Limbourg studied law in Bonn and passed the First State Examination of Law in 1987. From 1988 to 1989 he completed a journalistic traineeship at the German television news agency Deutsche Fernsehnachrichten Agentur (DFA) in Bonn and London. He worked as a reporter in Leipzig in the former GDR before becoming the Europe and NATO correspondent for DFA and SAT.1 in Brussels in 1990. In 1996 he became the Head of the ProSieben studio in Bonn, and in 1999 was appointed Co-Editor-in-Chief of N24 and Head of the Political Department at ProSieben, a position which he also took on at SAT.1 in 2001. In 2004/5 and 2008/9 Limbourg was the CEO of Pool TV, a joint venture of private television stations in Berlin. From 2008 to 2010 he was the Editor-in-Chief responsible for N24's programming. He has been anchor of SAT.1 news since 2008 and Senior Vice President of ProSiebenSat.1 TV since 2010."

Deutsche Welle press release, 8 Mar 2013: "Deutsche Welle will offer audiences worldwide a wealth of content on the Beethovenfest Bonn in 2013. Features in up to 30 languages are planned for television, radio, online and as podcasts."

Deutsche Welle press release, 21 Feb 2013: "For half a century, Deutsche Welle (DW) has been broadcasting in Kiswahili to listeners in East Africa and the Great Lakes region. DW marks this anniversary with a special event in Tanzania."

Deutsche Welle press release, 14 Feb 2013: "In 1963 Deutsche Welle started distributing TV content around the world, reaching an ever-growing viewer base. For more than 20 years now, DW has been one of the key players among international television broadcasters. Sudan was the first recipient of DW-distributed film material in 1963. Two years later, TransTel was co-founded by DW and German public service broadcasters ARD and ZDF, with the support of Germany's federal government. Its central task has been making high-quality, German-produced television content available to broadcasters around the world. Though the original TransTel was dissolved in 1998, DW immediately took over its transcription and distribution services, rebranding the company to DW Transtel."

Teaching old shortwave transmitters new tricks: text and images this weekend via VOA, KBC, WRMI.

Posted: 22 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
VOA Radiogram, 21 Mar 2013: This weekend's official launch of VOA Radiogram will include VOA news items in PSK (phase shift keying) digital modes, including BPSK (binary phase shift keying) and PSKR (R for "robust" with error correction).

VOA Radiogram, 21 Mar 2013: "Olivia is a robust digital text mode. It can overcome all types of noise. But can Olivia 8-1000, reduced by 24 dB, be decoded under the amazing voice of country singer Suzy Bogguss? We will find out 24 March 2013 ... during The Mighty KBC broadcast to North America, 0000-0200 UTC on 7375 kHz." Netherlands-based The Mighty KBC uses a leased transmitter in Nauen, Germany.

VOA Radiogram, 22 Mar 2013: "WRMI, Radio Miami International, will fill its channel (9955 kHz) with multiple instances of digital text." During IDs this weekend.

In Gaza, media war is not just a metaphor (updated).

Posted: 16 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
AP, 21 Nov 2012: "Reporters Without Borders has condemned Israeli missile attacks on two media centers in Gaza that wounded six Palestinian journalists Sunday and damaged the equipment of foreign media outlets. The attacks on the two high-rise buildings damaged offices of the Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, and a Lebanese-based broadcaster, Al Quds TV, seen as sympathetic to the Islamists. Germany's public broadcaster ARD; Russia Today, a state TV network that broadcasts in English; and Sky News Arabia said they lost equipment in the attacks." See also Reporters sans frontières, 21 Nov 2012.

Al Arabiya, 18 Nov 2012: "Two Israeli air raids targeted a media building in Gaza Sunday morning including Al Arabiya’s office, reported the channel’s correspondent. The 12-storey building, which included offices of Arab and Western media outlets, was extensively damaged, according to Al Arabiya’s correspondent, who ensured that there were no gunmen or militants at the site."

RIA Novosti, 18 Nov 2012: "An Israeli airstrike on a media compound in the Gaza Strip destroyed the office of the Russia Today TV channel early on Sunday, the RT press office said. Staff for RT’s Arabic-language channel Rusiya Al-Yaum had left the building about an hour before the Israeli planes delivered the strike, the press office said." See also RT, 19 Nov 2012, with video.

Huffington Post, 19 Nov 2012, Michael Calderone: "The official Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Twitter account -- which has been very active since the start -- quickly confirmed and defended the strike on Twitter. 'A short while ago, the IDF targeted a cadre of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives who were hiding in a media building in #Gaza,' tweeted the IDF spokesperson."

Huffington Post, 19 Nov 2012, Jack Mirkinson: "An Al Jazeera host had an extremely contentious conversation with a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister over a series of attacks on a media building in Gaza over the past two days. ... Speaking to Al Jazeera's Darren Jordon, Israeli spokesman Mark Regev defended the strikes. 'We don't target journalists,' he said. 'We target Hamas.' 'Rockets don't stop at a roof,' Jordon said in response. 'You've got the intelligence that journalists were all over that building. It's never going to be precise enough that you can't stop injuring people below the roof.'" With video.

The Algemeiner, 18 Nov 2012, Lakkana Nanayakkara: "Abby Martin, a presenter for Russia Today, accused Israel of 'terrorism' during her program 'Breaking the Set' yesterday. RT is funded by the Russian government and is notable for producing a relentless stream of anti-American and anti-Israel bulletins."

Huffington Post UK, 15 Nov 2012, Sara C Nelson: "Pictures of a BBC worker cradling the body of his 11-month-old baby son after a Gaza strike have emerged online. Jihad Misharawi, of BBC Arabic, lost baby Omar after his house was struck in Israel's air strike on Wednesday. Mr Misharawi's sister-in-law was killed and his brother was seriously injured in the attack."

International Business Times, 15 Nov 2012, Gianluca Mezzofiore: "'Spare a thought for Omar, 11-month son of our BBC Arabic Service colleague in Gaza, killed in today's Israeli air strike,' tweeted Paul Adams, BBC World Service Washington Correspondent."

Update: BBC News, 11 Mar 2013, Jon Donnison: "The son of a BBC journalist and two relatives killed in November's conflict in Gaza may have been hit by a misfired Palestinian rocket, a UN agency says. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said its conclusions were based on a visit to the site a month after the attack. At the time, human rights groups blamed the deaths on an Israeli air strike. ... Jehad Mashhrawi dismissed the UN findings as 'rubbish'. He said nobody from the United Nations had spoken to him, and said Palestinian militant groups would usually apologise to the family if they had been responsible. An Israeli military spokesman said he could not comment on the accuracy of the UN's findings but said it would not be the first time a Palestinian rocket had misfired."

Marietta Daily Times, 21 Nov 2012, Cal Thomas: "In the run-up to confrontation, it has been reported that Hamas placed weaponry among civilians, hoping that when Israeli airstrikes started they could show photos of dead children, bringing condemnation on Israel. ... American and foreign TV networks — particularly CNN and BBC — are then brought in to channel the Palestinian line, portraying Israel as the aggressor."

News24, 21 Nov 2012, Avital: "I have read the news everyday during the Pillar Of Defense operation by the Israeli Defense Force. The bias from the likes of BBC News, CNN, News24 and City Press is quite overwhelming."

Conservative Home, 20 Nov 2012, Raheem Kassam: "We've highlighted various occasions this week where the likes of the BBC and CNN have been falling down to propaganda efforts."

IsraelNationalNews.com, 21 Nov 2012, Eytan Meyersdorf: "If we were to listen to CNN, or BBC, then it would be quite obvious that Israel is in the wrong."

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, 19 Nov 2012: "[W]ell-meaning reporters are led astray and gravely misinformed, as are viewers. A case in point is CNN's local expert on the Middle East, Jim Clancy, who usually appears on CNN International. When a Middle East crisis hits, however, the Atlanta-based Clancy is likely to popup wherever there is a CNN logo. Though Clancy is clearly immersed in Middle East issues, it seems that in his telling Israel can usually do no right and the Palestinians no wrong."

AFP, 19 Nov 2012: "The Israeli army on Monday took over programming at a Gaza-based Hamas television station 'to broadcast warnings,' as deadly violence between the sides entered its sixth day. Al-Aqsa television, the official station of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, said in a statement the Israeli army 'is interfering with Al-Aqsa TV,' with the picture going on and off for several hours and sometimes appearing scrambled. 'We took over the Hamas television to broadcast warnings,' a military spokeswoman said, indicating the takeover would probably last for a number of hours."

Employees (or ex) of US international broadcasting, and their legal challenges, in the news.

Posted: 16 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Croatiantimes.com, 8 Mar 2013: "In a sharply-worded letter to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty recently assigned Acting President Kevin Klose, Czech Helsinki Committee urges him to end the discrimination of RFE/RL foreign personnel in Prague, including Croat Snjezana Pelivan, and stop by peaceful resolutions the resulting ongoing lawsuits. The court case brought by Croatian citizen Snjezana Pelivan against Czech Republic, is pending in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Mrs. Pelivan, former Radio Free Europe employee, is suing Czech Republic, the host country to American RFE/RL, for failing to safeguard her rights to non-discrimination and fair trial guarantied by European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The case of Armenian national, Anna Karapetian, mother of three minor children, is in the Czech Supreme Court."

Law360, 8 Mar 2013, Dan Prochilo: "The D.C. Circuit ruled on Friday against a Voice of America broadcaster who claimed she wasn't promoted after complaining about allegedly offensive emails and other workplace conduct, finding she did not experience a hostile work environment and was not a victim of retaliation. Camille Grosdidier ... lost her bid Friday to overturn that court's conclusion that she was not passed up for the job because of her race or gender, and that she wasn’t a victim of retaliation for reporting alleged misconduct at VOA's Washington, D.C.-based French-language French to Africa Service."

Mam Sonando, director of RFA and VOA FM outlet in Cambodia, freed from prison.

Posted: 16 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 15 Mar 2013: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors welcomed the news that Cambodian activist and independent radio executive Mam Sonando was freed from prison today. 'This courageous advocate for a more open society was jailed on trumped-up charges, but at least he is now free,' said Michael Meehan, a member of the BBG’s governing board and chairman of the board of directors for Radio Free Asia (RFA). 'Mam Sonando has championed the principle of speaking truth to power and paid an egregiously unfair price. We encourage him to carry on his important mission with the support of our broadcasters.' Sonando is director of Beehive Radio, a popular chain of independent FM stations based in Phnom Penh. He was convicted last fall on charges of instigating insurrection and sentenced in October to 20 years in prison. A Cambodian appeals court on Thursday quashed that ruling, dropped most of the charges, reduced the sentence to time served and ordered his release. Beehive Radio carries news and information programs from two BBG broadcasters, RFA and Voice of America."

Radio Free Asia, 15 Mar 2013: "Mam Sonando ... said that he hopes to increase the range of his radio station to reach more remote areas of the country, although the Ministry of Information has so far prevented him from doing so."

Reported Radio Australia jamming may complicate ABC bid for TV access in China. Or vice versa.

Posted: 16 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Mar 2013, Daniel Flitton: "ABC managing director Mark Scott and chairman James Spigelman are expected in China next month to launch a major children's program co-production with Chinese state television. The trip is also another chance to lobby Chinese officials in long-frustrated efforts for the ABC to win access rights for television broadcasts in the 1.3 billion-strong market. But the goal has been further complicated after China was accused of deliberately jamming Radio Australia broadcasts in Asia over recent weeks, a move that will also compound fears about Beijing's aggressive attempts to hack Western computer networks. ... The ABC has not itself drawn attention to the disruption but, asked on Thursday, a spokeswoman said the network strongly supported the free flow of information and objected to interference of any broadcasters' transmissions. 'While we have received reports of interference of our signal into China it is extremely difficult to identify or confirm the source of this interference and we will continue to monitor the situation as well as consult with partners in the region. No formal complaint has been lodged,' she said."

Australia Network News, 15 Mar 2013: "Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he would be 'horrified' if the ABC's international service was being blocked from broadcasting in China. ... Mr Abbott says the Australian Government should ensure its service is available in China. 'I don't want domestic censorship and I don't want international censorship...[and] I think it would be a pity if the ABC couldn't be accessed in China," he's told ABC local radio. I think the Australian Government should do whatever it reasonably can to try and ensure that Australian media outlets are reasonably available.'" With audio sample of jamming, which is the distorted China National Radio audio used to jam VOA and RFA Mandarin, not the noise that has been jamming VOA and BBC English.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The World Today, 15 Mar 2013, Simon Santow: "Voice of America has been outspoken in condemning what it sees as censorship while the ABC's Radio Australia is treading much more cautiously and not registering any formal complaints with China." With audio interview.

S. Hasegawa, reporting to the DXLD Yahoo! group, 9 Mar 2013, writes: "I cannot confirm the fact [Chinese jamming of RA English] with our monitor. We confirm jamming for the English broadcast of AIR [India] instead." I also cannot hear jamming of RA English from various Southeast Asian monitoring locations of the IBB RMS. See previous post about jamming.

Strange noises on shortwave this weekend from VOA, KBC, WRMI.

Posted: 15 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
VOA Radiogram, 14 Mar 2013 announces this weekend's "soft launch" of VOA Radiogram, an experimental program with digital text modes via analog shortwave broadcast, introduced in voice mode by one Kim Andrew Elliott. Includes transmission schedule, all via the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in North Carolina. See also how to decode the modes and previous post.

The SWLing Post, 15 Mar 2013, Thomas Witherspoon: "Classic technology meets current in this new communication mode which makes internet disruption absolutely irrelevant, and which is even impervious, to a great degree, to interference." See also ARRL, 14 Mar 2013.

The Mighty KBC, 15 Mar 2013: "Text modes will be included in the North America broadcast of The Mighty KBC, Sunday March 17 at 0000 to 0000 UTC, on 7375 kHz via Nauen, Germany." With details. For more about The Mighty KBC, see Radio Survivor, 22 Feb 2013, Paul Riismandel.

WRMI, Radio Miami International, on its 9955 kHz shortwave frequency, will transmit IDs in digital text modes over the weekend. From UTC Saturday 0400 to UTC Sunday 0400 (midnight to midnight EDT), Olivia 8-2000 (requires a custom setting in Fldigi) will be centered on 2000 Hertz. From UTC Sunday 0400 to UTC Monday 0400, Olivia 8-1000 will be centered on 1300 and 2500 Hz. The IDs are generally at the top of the hour and sometimes also at the bottom of the hour.

Controversy notwithstanding, Radio Liberty celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Posted: 11 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL press release, 1 Mar 2013: "'Listen! Listen! Today, a new radio station, Liberation, begins its broadcasts.' Those words, spoken by broadcaster Boris Vinogradov on March 1, 1953, were the first to be transmitted by Radio Liberty, a new voice with a mission to promote 'the principles of democracy' to Russian listeners behind the Iron Curtain. Sixty years later, friends of Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda, as it is known in Russia) gathered in Washington, Prague, and Moscow to celebrate its legacy and future as one of the most respected sources of independent journalism throughout the Russian Federation and beyond. '(Radio Liberty is) journalism which is guided by an independent, skeptical, constant iterative search for factual reality, verifiable facts, context and consideration of many points of view,' said Kevin Klose, acting president and CEO of RFE/RL, at an event commemorating the anniversary today at the company's Washington bureau. 'That kind of journalism is a first, powerful step to allowing communities of people to share uncensored information...so they can get a very clear picture of the issues in front of them.' ... In Moscow, Russian Service Director Masha Gessen met with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who also congratulated Radio Liberty on its anniversary." With video. -- Borrowing from the methodology of the old Kremlin watchers, it's notable that Masha Gessen is mentioned in this press release. See also RFE/RL, 27 Feb 2013, photos.

RFE/RL News, 28 Feb 2013: "A parallel event was held in Moscow by a group of former Russian Service journalists who were laid off last year as part of a restructuring plan. More than 100 people attended that event, including rights activists and journalists, with speakers praising Svoboda's legacy but criticizing the service's restructuring."

Russia Beyond the Headlines, 11 March 2013, Elena Rykovtseva, Novaya Gazeta: "According to any reasonable interpretation of the laws of the universe, Radio Liberty should never have survived. It was never allowed on an FM frequency in Russia and over time lost nearly all of its regional partners under pressure from local authorities. Finally, now, a Russian law has deprived Radio Liberty of its AM medium wave frequency, on which it was able to broadcast in Moscow and the Moscow Region. But even this latest blow did not finish the station off. Its broadcasts were, after all, still available on shortwave and the Internet, where a substantial audience continued to download programs. ... It remains to be seen if the dismissed journalists will be allowed to return to the station, but the story proves that Radio Liberty can manage to survive no matter if the threats it faces come from internal or external forces."

Georgia Today, 28 Feb 2013, Nino Edilashvili: "Radio Liberty Journalism School, an independent media strengthening program, hosted the graduation ceremony of its first Multimedia Reporting Program class. The program was launched with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through G-Media, a four-year project implemented by IREX. ... Radio Liberty Journalism School opened last year and offers two programs: a one-year certification program and a two-month internship program entitled 'Work and Learn with Radio Liberty.'"

Turning the Voice of America into a bypass.

Posted: 11 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
The News Reporter (Whiteville NC), 26 Feb 2013, Jefferson Weaver: "Officials and Riegelwood [North Carolina] area residents squared off Monday in the latest public meeting about the proposed widening of N.C. 87 through the village. ... The state has considered bypasses known as the Voice of America route (which uses N.C. 11 to access U.S. 74-76) and a bypass that would loop around Riegelwood toward the mill, allowing easier access for trucks but significantly reducing speeds. ... While there has been a lot of interest in using the Voice of America Road route ... 'that doesn’t appear viable at this time.'"

Even though Riegelwood is 120 road miles to the south of the Voice of America (IBB, BBG) shortwave transmitting station near Greenville, North Carolina, N.C. 11 goes by both places. According to the Wikipedia article, "NC 11 is one of the longest North Carolina state highways. It runs north/south for about 190 miles (310 km) in the state. With the exception of a stretch between Greenville and Kinston, most of NC 11 is largely a disused rural route."

Roads named for VOA include Voice of America Road near Sequim, Washington, near the site of a planned VOA shortwave transmission facility that was never built (see previous post).

Shocker: GAO finds duplication in US international broadcasting (updated).

Posted: 10 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 29 Jan 2013: "Nearly two-thirds of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) language services--offices that produce content for particular languages and regions-- overlap with another BBG service by providing programs to the same countries in the same languages. GAO identified 23 instances of overlap involving 43 of BBG's 69 services. For example, in 8 instances involving 16 services, a Voice of America service and a Radio Free Asia service overlapped. Almost all overlapping services also broadcast on the same platform (i.e., radio or television). BBG officials noted that some overlap may be helpful in providing news from various sources in countries of strategic interest to the United States; however, they acknowledged that overlap reduces the funding available for broadcasts that may have greater impact. ... GAO recommends that BBG systematically consider in its annual language service reviews (1) the cost and impact of overlap among BBG entities' language services and (2) the activities of other international broadcasters. BBG agreed with GAO's recommendations and reported taking initial steps to implement them."

A quick look at the websites of its entities shows that duplication is pervasive in US international broadcasting. Since 1989, I've been writing about, and seeking to eliminate, this duplication. As an indicator of my effectiveness, in 1994 Congress and the Clinton administration, egged on by then-BBG-member Bette Bao Lord, created Radio Free Asia, thus adding eight more languages of duplication and massively increasing the inefficiency of USIB.

The danger now is that the GAO report will force USIB to transform itself from one unsatisfactory situation, i.e. duplication, to another, i.e. inconvenience. If VOA is no longer allowed to broadcast news about the target country, then audience will be required to tune to two US stations, different times, different frequencies, to get all of the day's news. The audience will, of course, not put up with such nonsense. They will tune instead to the BBC to get all of the news from one source.

In 35 years of international broadcasting audience research, I am aware of no audiences that are interested only in news about their own country, and none interested only in news about the rest of the world. Audiences are interested in world news, US news, and news about their own country, in proportions that vary by country. To succeed, USIB should provide news in the ratio appropriate for each target country. In the present structure of USIB, there is no provision for success.

The GAO report considers the possibility of duplication with the international broadcasters of other democracies. In theory, such duplication cannot occur because the international broadcaster of another country cannot report as completely about the United States as VOA. In reality, BBC and even Al Jazeera English have more US reporters than VOA, which concentrates its resources on reporting about its target countries. Elimination of duplication would allow VOA to shift its resources to coverage of the USA.

The report also addresses duplication with US private international broadcasting efforts. USIB attracts its audience because of its news, not because of any public diplomacy function. The private sector also provides news. If private broadcasters can supply news to foreign audiences at no cost to the US taxpayer, this is a good thing. USIB should not duplicate, or compete with, or undercut the profit potential of US private international broadcasting. Indeed, USIB should cooperate and barter with US private news media, and therefore enjoy the same benefits that the BBC World Service derives from the domestic BBC.

It is difficult for USIB to justify broadcasting in English, except to Africa. CNN International is established as a successful global news channel, and there are many US-based English news websites. Any plans to expand USIB in Spanish should carefully weigh the role that CNN en Español already plays in the Hemisphere. CNN activities and partnerships in Turkish, Hindi, Urdu, and Arabic should be taken into account, along with the expanding number of foreign language websites of the New York Times.

It might be said that CNN cannot substitute for VOA because CNN does not speak for the US government. Such a statement, however, would be an admission that VOA is not entirely a news organization. To the extent VOA adds advocacy to its output, it subtracts from its credibility. In this duplication-elimination exercise, VOA should no longer duplicate the work conducted by the public diplomacy offices of the State Department. The best way for VOA explain the policies of the United States is through its news and current affairs coverage.

A short term solution to duplication is one that VOA will not like. VOA would no longer have separate broadcasts in languages also transmitted by a "radio free" grantee. VOA staff in those language services would serve as the VOA-branded Washington and US corespondents for the grantees. VOA would also be the clearinghouse for the global reporting of VOA and USIB correspondents in all languages, translating and feeding those reports back to the grantees.

After such short-term adjustments, USIB would still be a cumbersome organization. In the long term (I hope not too long), consolidation is the only satisfactory way to eliminate duplication. Consolidation would reduce the number of senior management structures from seven (BBG, IBB, VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, MBN, OCB) to one. The senior managers who stand to lose their jobs as a result will resist mightily. They will fight to keep their jobs and to keep USIB inefficient.

Government Executive, 1 Feb 2013, Charles S. Clark: "In response to the report's publication, BBG put some of the blame on Congress. 'During the past decade, the BBG has proposed to cut 20 language services due to overlap and obsolescence,' the agency said in a statement. 'But in each of the last three years, Congress has restored funding for what we identified to cut.' BBG also argued GAO had missed a major point. 'Our mission is to provide news and information to countries that don't have full press freedom. If the agency eliminated 43 of the 59 language services entirely, the theoretical savings would reach $149 million,' it said. 'Our experience with the past few budget cycles shows that even much smaller cuts have constituencies that effectively lobby Congress to fully restore them. That said, having two services for the same country is in some cases the right thing to do. Many of our broadcasts are branded and distributed for different audiences, who have come to count on them.'"

Update: Washington Post, 1 Mar 2013, Al Kamen: "Looking for budget cuts? A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report last month concluded about $149 million a year (or $1.5 billion over 10 years) could be saved by cutting duplicate services in U.S. overseas broadcasting operations. ... The BBG says there is indeed overlap and it’s working on that, but it’s 'simplistic' to say the savings would amount to $149 million a year and that the 'overlap' doesn’t account for important differences in programming. But the GAO and the agency agree that much of the overlap is, as the BBG notes in its response, 'mandated by statute,' meaning Congress." -- The "differences in programming" are "important" only in the eyes of bureaucrats. If the audience is a factor in this equation, the audience it wants credible news about its own countries, about the world, and about the United States, in proportions that vary by target country. That proportion can be achieved only by one station, not by multiple stations. If US international broadcasting wants to improve its performance, it has no choice other than to reduce its budget.

Digital text via analog shortwave broadcast tonight on The Mighty KBC.

Posted: 09 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
VOA Radiogram, 6 Mar 2013: "With the new 7375 kHz frequency of The Mighty KBC providing a good signal into North America, we will try some faster text modes during the broadcast UTC Sunday 10 March at 0000 to 0200 (7 to 9 pm Saturday EST). At about 0130 UTC, MFSK64 will be centered on 1000 Hertz, and PSKR250 on 2000 Hertz. At just before 0200 UTC, MFSK32 images will be centered on 800, 1500 and 2300 Hz."

VOA Radiogram, 6 Mar 2013: "Shortwave broadcaster WRMI, Radio Miami International, will resume digital text IDs this weekend on its 9955 kHz shortwave frequency."

A world of shortwave jamming: China vs BBC, Iran vs Farda, Zimbabwe vs VOA, Vietnam vs RFA, Cuba vs WRMI.

Posted: 09 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
SoundCloud, 28 Feb 2013, Victoribbmonitor, Victor Goonetilleke, Colombo, Sri Lanka: "Jamming against BBC 17790. The clip starts with an 8 element log periodic beamed from Colombo to Aseela Oman and after 25 seconds the beam starts to move eastward and settles on 20 degrees East of North. BBC from the dominant signal drops to almost inaudible level and the jammer comes on top."

Reporters sans frontières, 28 Feb 2013: "Reporters Without Borders condemns the jamming of the BBC World Service’s English-language shortwave radio broadcasts in China. The BBC issued a statement on February 25th deploring this violation of freedom of information and suggesting that the Chinese government was to blame. 'We support the BBC and we urge it to file a legal complaint against persons unknown,' Reporters Without Borders said. 'We recently brought this kind of legal action before the French public prosecutor’s office in connection with acts of piracy targeting Radio Erena, a Paris-based Eritrean exile radio station that broadcasts by satellite to the Horn of Africa. We are convinced that this kind of legal initiative can help to shed light on the exact circumstances of such acts of piracy, that is to say, the place where the jamming originates and the identity of those responsible. We also urge the British authorities to complain to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is a UN body. If it turns out that the Chinese authorities ordered the jamming, they must be called to account. It is illegal, it violates fundamental freedoms and it is detrimental to all those in China who speak English.'"

Radio Australia, 8 Mar 2013, Joanna McCarthy: "The Association for International Broadcasting says English-language broadcasts from Radio Australia, the BBC World Service and Voice of America are being deliberately jammed by a number of frequencies. The AIB has lodged protests about the jamming with Chinese embassies in Canberra, Washington DC and London." With audio interview. See also AIB, 6 Mar 2013. Also reported by Advanced Television, 6 Mar 2013 and The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Mar 2013, Patrick Brzeski.

SoundCloud, 8 Mar 2013, iw0hk, Andrea Borgnino, Italy: "Sweep jamming on Radio Farda - 15690 khz." SoundCloud, 8 Mar 2013, iw0hk, Andrea Borgnino, Italy: "Jamming on Voice of America for Zimbabwe - 15775 khz."

YouTube, 5 Mar 2013, OfficialSWL Channel, Gilles Letourneau, Montréal PQ: "Vietnam jamming Radio Free Asia broadcast on 15170 khz."

VOA Radiogram, 9 Mar 2013, "WRMI, Radio Miami International 9 March 2013, 22200 UTC, 9955 kHz, versus Cuban jamming." -- Cuba is jamming WRMI in general, because of its occasional anti-Castro programming, and probably not because of The Overcomer program (in English) that was on at the time. Here's how an ID in the the MT63-2000 mode, transmitted at that time, prints out despite jamming:

Frequency for China's CCTV in Guyana draws a complaint (updated).

Posted: 09 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link

Stabroek News (Georgetown), 13 Feb 2013, Kit Nascimento: "What our government has done, is to give to the Government of China, the absolute right to broadcast on a guaranteed domestic frequency, whatever it is the Government of China pleases to broadcast. What this does is to satisfy the political interest, convenience and necessity of the Government of China, not the public interest, convenience and necessity of the nation and people of Guyana. ... What will our government say if, for instance, the Government of the USA requests an exclusive frequency to broadcast the Voice of America on a domestic channel, or the Government of the United Kingdom, requests an exclusive frequency to broadcast the BBC on a domestic channel, or what if the government of Canada request an exclusive frequency to broadcast the Canadian Broadcast Corporation on a domestic channel, and we can go on and on?" -- Presumably a frequency for China Radio International.

Update: Apparently my presumption was incorrect. Ehard Goddijn in the Netherlands shared this from the Guyana Government Information Agency, 8 Feb 2013: "Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon today responded to media questions on the broadcast of China Central Television (CCTV) in Guyana, explaining that the agreement between the Governments of Guyana and China anti-dated [sic, probably "antedated"] the period that saw the embargo on new licences for television broadcasting in Guyana. Dr. Luncheon said the agreement had two main features, one of which was China providing the resources to facilitate the broadcast of their national TV (CCTV) on Guyana’s airwaves."

In Zimbabwe "shortwave radio was for grannies," but is still involved in political controversy.

Posted: 08 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Financial Gazette, 27 Feb 2013, Dumisani Ndlela: "Shortwave radio was for grannies when most of us were growing up. Sitting under the tree, lonely, with the kids playing far away, my grandfather always had this fascination with his shortwave radio: it was a way of keeping up to date with the latest news, and with the cold war still on, radio Moscow had an ominous presence on short- wave, and BBC World Service also carried its loud voice across the globe using this channel. ZANU-PF also blasted its news from Mozambique - it was propaganda war on the shortwave! But those who thought shortwave radio had passed its prime and was on the deathbed, hold on a bit. In Zimbabwe, it had become fun and shortwave radio had turned out to be a gadget to own, thanks to donors who had been distributing these radios to rural communities, most of which have not been receiving the national broadcaster's signal for years. Until police recently declared that it was criminal to own these devices. ... The Eton Microlink radios being distributed by non-governmental organisations are able to receive Voice of America's Studio 7 broadcasts beamed in from neighbouring Botswana and shortwave broadcasts on Zimbabwe from Europe by several Zimbabwe-focused radio stations. President Mugabe's ZANU-PF has described these radios stations as 'pirate stations', alleging they were being sponsored by those seeking regime change in Zimbabwe." -- I hope the Etón Microlink radios distributed in Zimbabwe have shortwave bands. The ones sold in the United States have the NOAA weather band instead, which would not be helful to Zimbabweans seeking news from abroad.

Financial Gazette (Harare), 6 Mar 2013, Clemence Manyukwe: "In the run-up to the 2008 general polls, the then Transmedia boss Alfred Mandere provoked ZANU-PF's anger when he told a parliamentary committee that the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) should encourage the use of shortwave radios in areas beyond the parastatal's Frequency Modulation broadcast. The party's former Chitungwiza senator, Forbes Magadu ... shot down Mandere's suggestion, arguing that the use of shortwave radios would result in villagers listening to Studio 7 -- a Voice of America broadcast beamed into Zimbabwe from Washington DC. Determined to drive his point home, Mandere stood his ground. He retorted: 'There is nothing wrong with Studio 7.'"

SW Radio Africa, 1 Mar 2013, Tichaona Sibanda: "On Friday police in Rusape went door-to-door to houses belonging to known MDC-T supporters, in search of shortwave radios. But the MP for Makoni South said they found nothing. Pishai Muchauraya said the morning raids saw police officers go in groups of three to MDC-T homes in Gandanzara, 'demanding radios distributed by Pishai.'"

Al Jazeera English, 7 Mar 2013, Haru Mutasa: "Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) ... says, 'We have it on record some of these media houses are peddling hate speech. As police, we have the responsibility to maintain security and order in Zimbabwe.' 'We banned a particular consignment of radios which were smuggled into the country. They were not paid for under the import and export act.'"

See previous post about same subject.

Radio Free Sarawak is still making waves on shortwave.

Posted: 08 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Borneo Post, 15 Feb 2013, Samuel Aubrey: "The ‘I Am Malaysian’ project solo motorcycle rider, Syed Ahmad Abdul Hadi Syed Hussein, was appalled at the conditions of road infrastructure in Sabah and Sarawak which he found to be lagging behind those in the peninsula. ... He also expressed his support for the London-based Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) which he claimed to be an alternative source of information for the rural folks so that they are not merely limited to officially-controlled sources that tend to only present one side of the news. 'Whether RFS is transmitting truth or lies is beside the point. The principle remains that in a democratic country, the democratic principles must be adhered to, and freedom of speech is a basic principle of democracy.' 'Let’s not underestimate Malaysians. I am sure many Malaysians can decide for themselves what is true or false, poisonous and factual,' he said. RFS, which broadcasts on shortwave frequency from London, has been the bane of the State Barisan Nasional which accused RFS of poisoning the minds of listeners. Several police reports have been lodged against it, while RFS had claimed attempts have been made to jam its broadcast."

The Malaysian Insider, 4 Mar 2013: "Bloomberg reported that RFS’s two-hour broadcast daily provides a channel for villagers there to tune in to stories of 'land grabs by palm oil companies, aided by local officials', and has helped to pry loose support from many 'lifelong [ruling party] BN backers', opening a path for the opposition to campaign."

Bloomberg, 5 Mar 2013, Daniel Ten Kate, via Jakarta Globe: The "opposition alliance sees Radio Free Sarawak as a way to break BN’s grip on an area where thick forest, broken roads and spotty mobile-phone reception make campaigning tough. Since 2010, it has distributed 25,000 Chinese-made radios costing about 35 ringgit ($11) apiece to villagers."

AFP, 28 Feb 2013, via Free Malaysia Today: "In RFS’s nightly call-in show, their target is increasingly Sarawak’s powerful boss, Abdul Taib Mahmud, 76, who is criticised for building huge hydroelectric dams and other policies they say threaten traditional ways. Tensions have smoldered for years but are being fanned anew by the pirate signal of RFS, broadcast from London and founded in 2010 by Sarawak-born British journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown, a fierce Taib critic. RFS switched last year to a call-in format. 'That is what really lifted the show — we opened up our phone lines and people have just come at us,' said Rewcastle-Brown, sister-in-law of former British premier Gordon Brown."

See radiofreesarawak.org and previous post.

Still listening to shortwave in Tamil Nadu.

Posted: 08 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Deccan Chronicle, 13 Feb 2013, N. Arun Kumar: "Tamil Nadu may have five or more FM radio broadcasters across the state, but a large number of its listeners still tune in to the radio station of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Chinese Radio International (CRI), Deutsche Welle (DW), Voice of America (VOA),and other foreign short wave broadcasting companies. So popular are these radio stations that they even have fan clubs formed by ardent listeners, especially in the southern and western districts of the state. ... 'The data collected by foreign radio stations reveals they have over one lakh [100,000] listeners from Tamil Nadu. Many people from the rural areas still tune into these stations while those in cities have technical difficulty getting long distance signals,' says T. Jaisakthivel, president, Ardic DX club, explaining that the foreign radio stations also provide listeners an opportunity to interact with each other not only across the state, but through their programmes as well." -- Yes, long before the internet, international radio program featuring "mailbags" and audience participation were an early version of "social media." The "technical difficulty" of listeners in cities probably refers to the many modern appliances and data cables that cause interference on the shortwave frequencies.

Article about Iran's Hebrew-language Radio David includes discussion of the "goal" of international broadcasting.

Posted: 08 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Al-Monitor, 5 Mar 2013, Shlomi Eldar: "[A] Radio Tehran site called Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) ... features, among other things, a news broadcast in Hebrew called 'Radio David.' ... Do the Iranians really think that this will win over the Israeli public to believe in Iranian righteousness?

"British BBC radio station was (and still is) a model for many broadcasting networks throughout the world. ... By definition, Voice of America is broadcast to developing nations 'to disseminate the message of democracy and liberty to citizens living in the shadow of evil regimes.' ... Even Kol Yisrael (Voice of Israel) has departments transmitting in Arabic and Persian. ... Is there a difference between these different broadcasts? Could the BBC, Voice of America and Kol Yisrael in Persian be termed propaganda broadcasts? The answer to that is probably yes. True, there are differences in the types of content and level of truth and reliability, but the goal is the same: for information coming from outside to reach listeners inside the country, an audience that will then exert pressure on its leaders."

Recommended reading: this is an unusually thoughtful discussion about how international broadcasting works.

I did a web search for that "definition" of VOA but couldn't find it. Perhaps it's in print somewhere. In any case, the definition does not help VOA's reputation as a news organization, and is similar to other recent, unhelpful descriptions of VOA (see previous post).

The most effective international broadcasting is not propaganda but an antidote to the state propaganda of the target country. This would be market based international broadcasting. Mr. Eldar is partially correct in asserting that the goal of international broadcasting is for the audience to "exert pressure on its leaders." International broadcasting gives members of the audience the information they need to form their own opinions about current affairs. The outcome of that might be to exert pressure on their leaders, or to try to bring about change in the target country. But that's up to the audience.

Report: Ethiopian police chief threatens to arrest VOA reporter -- in Washington.

Posted: 08 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Nazret.com, 25 Feb 2013, Alemayehu G. Mariam: "Last week, reporter Solomon Kifle of the Voice of America (VOA-Amharic) heard the terrifying voice of an African police state from thousands of miles away. The veteran reporter was investigating widespread allegations of targeted night time warrantless searches of homes belonging to Ethiopian Muslims in the capital Addis Ababa. Solomon interviewed victims who effectively alleged home invasion robberies by 'federal police' who illegally searched their homes and took away cash, gold jewelry, cell phones, laptops, religious books and other items of personal property. One of the police officials Solomon interviewed to get reaction and clarification was police chief Zemedkun of Bole (an area close to the international airport in the capital). VOA: Are you in the area of Bole. The reason I called… Police Chief Zemedkun: Yes. You are correct. VOA: There are allegation that homes belonging to Muslim Ethiopians have been targeted for illegal search and seizure. I am calling to get clarification. Police Chief Zemedkun: Yes (continue). VOA: Is it true that you are conducting such a search? Police Chief Zemedkun: No, sir. I don’t know about this. Who told you that? VOA: Individuals who say they are victims of such searches; Muslims who live in the area. ... Police Chief Zemedkun: Excuse me!! I don’t want to talk to anyone on this type of [issue] phone call. I am going to hang up. If you call again, I will come and get you from your address. I want you to know that!! From now on, you should not call this number again. If you do, I will come to wherever you are and arrest you. I mean right now!! VOA: But I am in Washington (D.C)? Police Chief Zemedkun: I don’t care if you live in Washington or in Heaven. I don’t give a damn! But I will arrest you and take you. You should know that!! VOA: Are you going to come and arrest me? End of interview."

UN reporter questions VOA reporting about Somalia.

Posted: 08 Mar 2013   Print   Send a link
Inner City Press, 10 Feb 2013, Matthew Russell Lee: "How closely is 'Voice of America' controlled by the US government, of which it is an agency, subject to the Freedom of Information Act? Just after the US State Department formally recognized the government of Somalia, on February 9 Voice of America published a piece about the upcoming UN Security Council review of the mission it authorized there. The piece is built nearly entirely around quotes from UN envoy Augustine Mahiga: he is even the 'source' for the fact that the Security Council will consider Somalia this week. But the Council's February 14 session has been on the Council's public program of work since at least February 4. Amazingly, the Voice of America Somalia piece did not mention in any way the Somali government's prosecution and conviction of journalist Abdiaziz Abdnur Ibrahim for having interviewed, and not even published about, a woman alleging gang rape by the Somali security forces." -- Part of an ongoing dispute Inner City Press is having with VOA. A search of the VOA website shows reports mentioning Abdiaziz Abdinur on 14 Jan, 1 Feb (two reports), 5 Feb, 14 Feb, and 3 Mar.