The BBC’s new Korean-language service is being “aggressively targeted” by North Korean jamming of its broadcasts.
The service was launched on Monday and delivers a mixture of global news, sport and radio features to the whole of the Korean Peninsula for a three-hour window that starts at midnight local time.
Broadcasts are going out on two shortwave frequencies, from Taiwan and Tashkent, while the hour-long segment from 1am is relayed on medium wave from Mongolia, according to a report on the 38 North web site, operated by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
“As listening to foreign radio is illegal, the government makes a great effort to prevent people from doing so”, the report states. “At the most basic level, it modifies radios so they cannot be tuned to anything but state-run channels, although that can be later reverse engineered.
[…]The BBC broadcasts are going out after midnight, which will make it easier for listeners with access to short wave to tune in secretly.
In the latest episode of Over To You, host Rajan Datar discusses how the BBC World Service’s shortwave transmissions are being affected by jamming in parts of Asia. It’s a short but informative episode.
Over To You explores the way that the World Service’s shortwave transmissions are being affected by jamming in parts of Asia, following up from an email from a listener in West Bengal who was having problems listening to the service. With the help of the World Service’s head of business development, we find out how jamming of the World Service shortwave transmissions inside China is spilling over into neighbouring countries, and explore what the BBC can do to redress the situation through international organisations.
The Voice of America is protesting new jamming of its English broadcasts in China.
VOA Director David Ensor condemned the new interference and said the U.S. government broadcaster is working with experts to determine the precise origin of the jamming. He said “the free flow of information is a universal right and VOA will continue to provide accurate and balanced information on platforms that can reach audiences in areas subject to censorship.”
The U.S.-funded VOA is not the only victim of jamming. The British Broadcasting Corporation said this week its shortwave English radio broadcasts also are being jammed in China.
The BBC said that while it is not possible to know who is doing the jamming, “the extensive and co-ordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”
VOA broadcast engineers say Radio Australia also is being jammed.
At VOA headquarters in Washington, engineers say that while the agency’s Chinese-language broadcasts are routinely jammed in China, its English broadcasts usually are not. They noticed the jamming of the English programs about a month ago and say it appears to use a new technology.
Many countries have used various methods to jam VOA broadcasts for decades, especially during the Cold War when VOA broadcast heavily into the former Soviet Union and other countries under Communist control. Now, its Persian satellite television broadcasts into Iran are frequently jammed, as are VOA Horn of Africa broadcasts to Ethiopia.