Taiwan: Breaking through censorship via shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia, who shares the following story:

How Taiwan breaches censors’ barriers (VOA News)

Breaking the barriers of censorship in China, Myanmar and North Korea is a daunting task, as these countries have built almost impenetrable firewalls against outside news and information. But Radio Taiwan International is successfully using shortwave radio to break through.

“We potentially have 70 million to 1.2 billion listeners who rely on shortwave to get information [from] outside of their country,” said Isis Lee, RTI’s vice president.

On the air since 1928, RTI say their mission is to bring listeners stories they won’t or can’t hear or see on television, radio, online or in newspapers.

“One of our most important audiences to reach is the Mandarin-speaking society in China, which has very limited internet access,” Lee told VOA. “We have a very big audience in China, and they rely on RTI shortwave service to get perspective outside of China in their mother language,” she added. [Continue reading…]

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7 thoughts on “Taiwan: Breaking through censorship via shortwave

  1. mangosman

    China National radio has 5 sites transmitting on high frequencies on Digital Radio Mondiale.https://www.drm.org/what-can-i-hear/broadcast-schedule-2/ Remember that all of the radiated power is in the specified power, where as for analog high frequency broadcasting there is a carrier which is from 67 – 100 % of the radiated power. They have adopted DRM as a radio standard. If they want to prevent foreign broadcasts in DRM they have to make their signal much stronger because DRM receivers will not output interference only cause silence if the errors become to great. As of hiding receivers there is now a DRM receiver module to which you connect an antenna, a battery a pair headphones and a touch display and you have a tiny receiver. https://cmlmicro.com/news-media/news-archive/cml-micro-release-the-world-s-lowest-cost-digital-radio-mondiale-broadcast-receiver-module

    1. qwertyamdx

      And this is why DRM is a godsend for dictators. It’s never possible to jam an analogue AM signal completely, something will always get through – even the USSR with its monstrous network of jammers couldn’t block signals coming from the West. But in case of DRM, it’s a child’s play, just put an interfering signal on the channel and the receivers will immediately go silent. The drmrx(dot)org forum is full of examples proving how prone to co-channel and in-channel interference is DRM. In that case, facts speak louder than words. Tyrannical dictatorships like North Korea and China – “renowned” for their commitments to banning free speech – are starting to use DRM for their domestic broadcasts, meanwhile all shortwave radio stations targeting these regions rely exclusively on analogue AM.

      1. mangosman

        I had http://www.drmrx.org to search the forums. It found only 4 references since 2006. When you find the word ‘Jam’ it is bright red bold. The only two I could find were not another broadcaster trying to prevent the reception of another broadcaster.
        Please state date and time of all your examples and which broadcasters and transmitter sites were used and the location of the receiver.

        1. qwertyamdx

          Please refer to the topics which can be found by googling: “co-channel site:drmrx.org”. Few examples that come up as a result:
          “the co-channel AM station could be clearly identified as CRI, bad results again in the last hour from Rampisham”
          “A catastrophic failure with strong AM signals all over”
          “Strong AM signal from CRI, not much audio decoding from DRM possible.”
          “Perfect results until co-channel QRM took over.”
          “Co-channel QRM + 6045 kHz QRM and splatters from 6040 kHz. When the signal was strong there was good decoding, for about 10 minutes, the rest was full of errors.”
          “Rather bad with on-channel interference so that I got annoyed by the large number of dropouts and switched off.”
          “This frequency is being attacked on both sides from 2 “wideband” AM Stations +/- 10 khz. See attached screens. This is a weak point for DRM.”
          “No audio decoding during darkness because of strong co-channel interference then.”
          “Voice of Russia -especially in french at 17:00 UT- is totally blocked on its new DRM frequency by an AM station on 5915 kHz.”
          “However acceptable results during the last hour only – when co-channel interferers on +/- 5 KHz became weaker/shut off.”
          “a weaker signal and some minor dropouts in the first hour of the log, then quite good until AM co-channel transmission (RS) started at 1700.”
          “Results were not so good the past weeks, mostly due to bad propagation this summer but also AM co- channel interference and sometimes co- channel interference from KRTPC in DRM.”

  2. Li Chen

    If the VOA did their homework. They would have found out this number of 70 million to 1 billion is 100% false.

    If the VOA had done their homework. They would have seen what local media here in Taiwan and government officials have been saying about RTI.

    If the VOA had does their homework. They would have also printed and cited a research study into how big or rather small RTI’s audience actually is. And that the DPP and minister in charge tried to keep it quiet.

  3. Mark Pascoe

    Now this is an interesting article. I’m starting to feel that shortwave is , in this uncertain world, going to enter a new era of relevance. Yes there are all sorts of fancy ways of dodging around the information firewalls of institutions like the CCP but not everyone in the regional areas of the world can do this. But with short wave you just get yourself a little electronic box, 2-4 regular batteries, maybe nick a bit of fencing wire from somewhere and off you go!! Uncle Xi will not be pleased. (It’s ironic that the little box will probably come from China!) Mark.


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