SW Radio Africa lost donor support

SWRadioAfricaAccording to Radio VOP, SW Radio Africa’s closure is due to a loss of donor support. Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Richard Cuff, for the tip:

(Source: Radio VOP)

“London-based SW Radio Africa has been forced to cease broadcasting after losing donor support.

SW Radio Africa, a non-profit station which broadcasts daily into Zimbabwe on shortwave, is winding up it operations on August 10.

Gerry Jackson, SW Radio Africa founder and editor, confirmed the impeding closure of the radio station which used to air daily between 6 and 9pm Zimbabwean time.

[…]The radio station was set up by a group of Zimbabwean journalists and started airing on December 19, 2001. The North London-based independent radio station had gathered a growing number of listeners, with its existence infuriating the Zimbabwean government.

[…]Staff at the radio station said they were disappointed that donor withdrawal had led to the downfall of the radio station.”

Read the full news item at Radio VOP.

SW Radio Africa to close down August 10

SWRadioAfricaOnly a few weeks ago we mentioned that the clandestine station, SW Radio Africa, stopped broadcasting via shortwave. It appears now that SWRA will completely close down:

(Source: Shortwave Radio Africa via Richard Cuff)

“It is with regret that SW Radio Africa announces that it is closing down. We recently stopped our shortwave transmissions but have continued to provide broadcasts via our website and other formats, but these too will cease.

We’d like to thank the organisations and individuals who have supported us for the past 13 years and the contributors to our programs who have given so willingly of their time and expertise.

In particular we’d like to thank our listeners, who have shared their lives, hopes and dreams and helped us to tell the story of Zimbabwe’s sad decline to the world.

We hope that one day Zimbabwe finally has a government who understands that its sole responsibility is to ensure a safe, healthy, prosperous life for every man, woman and child in the country.

Our first broadcast was on 19th December 2001.
Our last broadcast will be on 10th August 2014.

It’s been a privilege.

Gerry Jackson
Founder/Editor
4th August 2014”

SWRA to end shortwave broadcasts

Zimbabwe ranks 135 out of a possible 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.

Zimbabwe ranks 135 out of a possible 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.

The clandestine station, Shortwave Radio Africa, announced today that it will end shortwave radio broadcasts to Zimbabwe. As we’ve posted before, Zimbabwe is a country that does not exactly embrace free press. Indeed, Mugabe has even been known to order the confiscation of self-powered shortwave radios from citizens.

I have a hunch this closure is due to financial constraints. I’ve pasted SWRA’s announcement below:

SWRA shortwave broadcasts to end

Gerry Jackson
SW Radio Africa
17th July 2014

It is with regret that SW Radio Africa announces that after 13 years, our shortwave broadcasts are to end on Friday 18th July.

You have welcomed us into your homes since our first shortwave broadcast on 19th December 2001.

Our broadcasts will continue on our website, via Channel Zim through TV decoders, and by various other forms of new media.

We know how much these shortwave broadcasts have meant to our listeners in more remote areas who have so little access to news and information, and we sincerely regret that we will no longer be able to provide this service.

We would like to thank our listeners who have been such loyal supporters for so many years and also for their willingness to share the stories of their lives with us on our Callback program. This has allowed people all over the world to have a better understanding of the many crises that Zimbabweans continue to face.

We can only hope that one day, sooner rather than later, there is real media freedom that allows Zimbabweans, wherever they are in the country, easy access to what is a basic human right – freedom of information and expression.

In Zimbabwe, “if you want to hear the truth…listen to Shortwave Radio Africa…listen to VOA”

This is a brilliant piece on the lack of press freedom in Zimbabwe and the importance of shortwave radio. It was broadcast yesterday on Weekend All Things Considered. Links to the show and audio are below.

(Source: NPR)

In Seke, a rural community 40 miles outside Harare, James Chidakwa and his father eat roasted nuts and cornmeal inside a small brick hut. They’re farmers who rely heavily on maize and chickens to survive. James Chidakwa says that like many, his family refuses to listen to government TV or radio broadcasts.

“They always lie to the people,” he says. “Everything they say is a lie.”

So at 6 p.m. most evenings, they turn on a battery-powered, short-wave radio and tune in to a “pirate radio station.” Chidakwa says Shortwave Radio Africa and Voice of America are their favorites.

“If you want to hear the truth, wait for the end of the day to listen to Shortwave Radio Africa, to listen to VOA,” he says.

The stations, which are based in the U.K. and the U.S., send their signals through radio towers in countries that border Zimbabwe. That means Zimbabwean officials — who claim these broadcasts are illegal — have little recourse. In the past, they’ve confiscated short-wave radios. Chidakwa says that forces some people to listen undercover.

“Some of them, they will take the radios into their bedrooms and, low volume, they listen to the news. But the truth is, there is fear in them,” he says.

But for Chidakwa and his father, it’s a risk they are prepared to take.

The stations, which are based in the U.K. and the U.S., send their signals through radio towers in countries that border Zimbabwe. That means Zimbabwean officials — who claim these broadcasts are illegal — have little recourse. In the past, they’ve confiscated short-wave radios. Chidakwa says that forces some people to listen undercover.

“Some of them, they will take the radios into their bedrooms and, low volume, they listen to the news. But the truth is, there is fear in them,” he says.

But for Chidakwa and his father, it’s a risk they are prepared to take.

You can listen to the full story from Weekend All Things Considered, by clicking here (mp3), or read the transcript on this page.

This is just one more story we’ll file under “Why Shortwave Radio.”

RCI, and others, I wish you were listening. Those in Zimbabwe certainly are.

Zimbabwe needs shortwave radio and text messages

250px-sw_radio_africa_logoFrom Journalism.co.uk:

“We just need old media. We just need radio. We just need people to be allowed to listen to radio,” explains Gerry Jackson, the founder of Zimbabwean radio station SW Radio Africa (SWRA).

“Shortwave and text messages are only real way to get into Zimbabwe…[b]ecause our focus is on serving people in the country,” explains Jackson.

Read the full article here.