Tag Archives: Eritrea

BBC launches new shortwave services for Ethiopia and Eritrea

(Source: BBC Media Centre via Mike Hansgen)

The BBC is launching new daily radio services which will be aired Monday to Friday in Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya. The new language services have been available online since September 2017 when they launched websites and Facebook pages in all three languages.

The new radio services will provide impartial news, current affairs, features and analysis for Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as regional and international news. There will be a strong focus on culture, health and original journalism from the region. These services are part of the largest investment in the BBC World Service since the 1940s and are funded by the UK government.

The programme will be broadcast on shortwave, satellite – and streamed directly onto each service’s Facebook page.

In addition content produced by BBC Learning English, part of the BBC World Service which teaches English to global audiences will feature prominently across the schedules for all three languages, with daily content as follows:
·
Essential English – Beginners (airs on Monday, repeated on Wednesday)
A functional five-minute audio course presented by an English speaker and a local presenter, which aims to help beginners to learn English. Learners will be introduced to essential chunks of functional language, which will allow them to start having simple conversations in English immediately.

English Expressions – Intermediate (airs Tuesday, repeated on Thursday)
This five-minute audio course focusses on common expressions used in everyday English. An English speaking presenter and a local language presenter discuss the meaning and use a different expression each week.

English Together Advanced (airs Friday only)
This is a bilingual five-minute audio with three presenters (2 English and one local language) discussing a current (safe i.e. non news) topic and examining the language used in the story allowing the user the practise their listening skills and equip them with the grammar and vocabulary needed to discuss the story.

The programmes are broadcast Monday-Friday at the following times:

  • 17:30 – 17.45: Amharic news
  • 17.45 – 17:50: Amharic Learning English
  • 17:50 – 18:05: Afaan Oromo News
  • 18.05 – 18.10: Afaan Oromo Learning English
  • 18:10 – 18:25: Tigrinya News
  • 18:25 – 18:30: Tigrinya Learning English

Programmes will also be streamed via the respective BBC websites and Facebook pages (see links below).

Details of how to listen:

Amharic

Afaan Oromo

Tigrinya

Notes to Editors
The Initial shortwave broadcast to go out at 17:30 GMT/ 20:30 EAT on three transmitters providing coverage across Ethiopia and Eritrea:

  • 7.595MHz
  • 11.720MHz
  • 12.065MHz

Repeat to follow at 18:30 GMT /21:30 EAT

  • 9.855MHz
  • 15.490MHz

Satellite Radio content will go out on the following channels:

  • Arabsat (BADR4) – 11.966GHz, Horizontal
  • Nilesat 201 -11.843GHz, Horizontal
  • Hotbird 13D – 12.597GHz, Vertical

Evening satellite broadcast to go out at 17:30 GMT and will be repeated until 21:30 GMT.

  • The BBC World Service reaches a global audience of 269 million weekly, on radio, TV, and digital.
  • BBC World Service received further funding of £291m until 2019/20 from the UK Government to launch twelve new language services: Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Igbo, Korean, Marathi, Pidgin, Punjabi, Serbian, Telugu, Tigrinya, and Yoruba. This additional funding is not part of the licence fee.

MF

Click here to view thisnews item at the BBC Media Centre website.

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BBC World Service: new shortwave services to Ethiopia and Eritrea

Note that, in terms of press freedoms, Reporters Without Borders ranks Eritrea the second most repressive country in the world, next to North Korea.

(Source: BBC Media Centre)

BBC World Service continues expansion with new services for Ethiopia and Eritrea

Three new language services for Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the diaspora are being launched today by the BBC World Service as part of its biggest expansion since the 1940s.
BBC News in Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya will be available online and on Facebook. This will be followed later in the year with shortwave radio services in each language consisting of a 15-minute news and current affairs programme, followed by a 5-minute Learning English programme, from Monday to Friday.

The new BBC services will provide impartial news, current affairs and analysis of Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as regional and international news. Boosting the BBC’s operation in the Horn of Africa will also provide the rest of the BBC’s global audience with a better understanding of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Programmes will target a younger audience with social media playing a key role. In addition to news and current affairs, there will be extensive coverage of culture, entertainment, entrepreneurship, science & technology, health and sport – including the English Premier League.

These services will benefit from a growing network of journalists across the region and around the world.

Francesca Unsworth, BBC World Service Director, says: “The BBC World Service brings independent, impartial news to audiences around the world, especially in places where media freedom is limited. I’m delighted we’re extending our service to millions of people in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the diaspora worldwide.”

Will Ross, Editorial Lead for Africa, says: “We know that there is a great deal of hunger for audiences in Ethiopia and Eritrea to access a broad range of high quality content in Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya. It has been a privilege to work with Ethiopian and Eritrean journalists who are so keen to learn new skills and to ensure the new language services are a success.”

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Radio Erena: “a symbolic lifeline” to Eritrea

(Source: The Guardian)

[Radio Erena founder, Biniam Simon, writes:] “You have to understand: Eritrea is completely closed. No information is available there at all, about the outside world or what is going on internally. So if you’re an Eritrean journalist, and you make it to a place where so much information is available, the first thing you think is: why not tell people all this? It was the obvious thing to do.”

[…]The station broadcasts a two-hour programme in Arabic and Tigrinya seven days a week, repeating it several times a day, giving listeners inside Eritrea multiple opportunities to listen (they may do so, in the privacy of their own homes with the shutters closed and the sound turned down, only when electricity is available – which it often isn’t). As well as news about what the regime may be up to, it provides a detailed picture of what is happening to the refugees who are travelling to Europe – when a boat carrying 360 Eritreans capsized off Lampedusa in 2013, a correspondent was immediately dispatched to Italy – as well as features about diaspora success stories, footballers and athletes among them.

It runs smoothly. There is always a lot to tell. Making sure it can be picked up in Eritrea, however, remains a constant struggle. In 2012, the government managed to block it – seemingly unbothered by the fact that in doing so, it also blocked its own television channel (both broadcast on one satellite frequency). It has also successfully jammed it on shortwave, and on at least one occasion has hacked into the Radio Erena website, destroying it completely. “It’s a nonstop challenge,” he says. “We’re constantly fighting them, and it’s getting harder and harder because they are now employing new experts from China and Indonesia.”

But if this is exhausting, it’s also hugely encouraging: “It means that what we’re doing is working. We know this because the government wants us to stop.”[…]

Readers: this is only an excerpt from this excellent article in The Guardian. Click here to read the full article.

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Radio Erena “provides a voice for the voiceless”

(Source: Open Democracy)

Eritrean radio station Radio Erena provides a voice for the voiceless

Broadcasting from Paris, Fathi Osman’s Radio Erena challenges the government’s monopoly on truth and champions those who gave their lives for freedom of expression.

Last night turned out to mark a double-celebration for Eritrean journalist Fathi Osman. While the father-of-four nearly let his 51st birthday slip by unnoticed, he certainly couldn’t play down his radio station’s spectacular win at One World Media Awards in London’s BAFTA building.

Radio Erena (‘Our Eritrea’) broadcasts from Paris, where Fathi now lives with his wife and children, having fled the dictatorship five years ago. The station was founded in 2009 by the well-known exiled Eritrean journalist Biniam Simon, with support from Reporters Without Borders. The goal? To offer a lifeline of independent news, information and entertainment for Eritreans both in their homeland and worldwide.

As Fathi held out his hand to shake mine, he noticed his fingers were stained inky blue. “Ah, you can tell I’m a writer,” he observed with a smile. Currently Radio Erena’s Assistant Project Manager, in the past Fathi worked variously as a journalist and diplomat before he left the Eritrean embassy in Riyadh to seek safety in France. “I had developed ideas that the government did not accept,” he explained, “and you know, with these kinds of conflicts, in the end you will meet trouble.”

Fathi’s family was among more than 4,000 Eritreans who flee each month. And is it any wonder, given the UN June 2016 report that the regime has been responsible for crimes against humanity since 1991? Known globally as a predator of press freedom, President Isaias Afewerki has led Eritrea to be ranked consistently as the very lowest of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index, though in 2017 the regime came second-last as North Korea deteriorated even further.

Afewerki’s purges in September 2001 ended Eritrea’s free press – by now, seven of the 11 journalists arrested at that point have died in detention. This year at least 15 journalists are believed to be detained without charge or trial. Dawit Isaak, a Swedish-Eritrean citizen who had returned to Eritrea to open Setit – the first independent newspaper there, has not once talked to a lawyer in 16 years of imprisonment. His fate is unclear.

Far from having deterred the four journalists based in Radio Erena’s newsroom (as well as their 25 or so correspondents worldwide), these appalling abuses have driven them to pour every effort into remedying the crackdown. The station broadcasts in Tigrinya and Arabic by satellite and short wave – and is available online or via a mobile phone app.

“Within the whole of Eritrea there’s only one radio station, one newspaper,” Fathi explained. “That means the ‘truth’ is dominated by the government. Radio Erena is working to counter that. We do everything, from exposing news that the government doesn’t want people to know, to hosting shows for singers and writers – and raising awareness of human rights is very important to us.”[…]

Continue reading the full article on Open Democracy’s website. 

Note: Radio Erena can be heard on 11,965 kHz between 1700-1800 UTC. They broadcast from Kostinbrod in Sofia, Bulgaria with 50 KW.

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The Panasonic RF-B65: the legendary portable with a cult following amongst DXers

Hi there, back in 1990 I was given a Panasonic RF-B40 for my birthday (I think it was my birthday…1990 was a long time ago!). I found that radio to be very sensitive on shortwave, more so perhaps than my Sangean ATS-803A, but ultimately it didn’t really add much value to any serious DXing because it would only tune on shortwave in 5 kHz steps. This rather course tuning arrangement was very limiting in terms of tuning out adjacent noise and copying tropical band – and other signals that weren’t quite on-frequency etc. Frustrated, I  lent my RF-B40 to my brother a few years ago and serves me right; following a house move, he managed to lose it! Quite a shame really because almost three decades later, I would have been very interested to put the RF-B40 through it’s paces on a DXpedition or two. You really don’t see them in action very often at all these days.

 Above: the Panasonic RF-B40 (not mine – unfortunately) and the RF-B60, mid-DXpedition!

At that time, which was around the beginning of the 1990s, I read a review somewhere and it became clear that the better receiver was quite obviously the RF-B65. Upon it’s introduction into the market, the RF-B65 was immediately recognised as an excellent receiver, however, in the intervening years it’s reputation has continued to grow to the point today where it enjoys legendary status amongst DXers and bit of a cult following. There’s a lot of information on the RF-B65 to be found on the internet, so I won’t go into huge detail, but the obvious question is: what makes thsi receiver so special? Well, it’s a quite compact PPL double conversion receiver, covering 153 kHz to 29,999 kHz AM and 87.5 to 108 MHz, FM. It has a keypad for direct frequency input, although you have to press either the ‘FREQ’ or ‘METER’ buttons prior to punching in the numbers to define whether you wish to access a particular frequency, or band. I actually find that slightly annoying, but you easily learn to live with such trivial matters when using a radio of this quality and performance.

Furthermore, there’s an electronic signal strength meter, a DX/local attenuation switch, external antenna jack, SSB reception mode, 1 kHz tuning steps on shortwave (unlike it’s little brother the RF-B40) and fine tuning. The single bandwidth filter is 6 kHz wide and thus limits selectivity a little, although the SSB option and fine tune helps offset that somewhat.  It would have been nice to have a couple more filtering options, particularly narrower for serious DXing in crowded bands, to combat adjacent channel QRM. Build quality is generally excellent as you would have expected from a high-end Panasonic portable and with a very compact form-factor – roughly the size of a paperback book and weighing in at just 1.4 Ibs, it is eminently more portable than a Sony ICF-SW77 or the iconic ICF-2001D/2010.

 

Ultimately, the RF-B65 continues to enjoy an excellent reputation today, nearly 30 years after it was introduced because it is a wonderfully sensitive receiver and arguably the best-ever performing shortwave portable in the paperback book size category – often touted as ‘travel portables’. I managed to acquire an example in as-new condition from eBay, although mind you, I paid through the nose for it lol – that cult following ensures prices remain very robust! I have tested my example against the equally legendary Sony ICF-2001D, still considered by many to be the benchmark for shortwave portables, and in my experience the Panasonic is right up there with it. There’s virtually no difference whatsoever in sensitivity. Where the Panasonic comes a little unstuck is the lack of bandwidth filtering and SYNC, leading to lower selectivity. However, clever use of SSB and fine tuning does provide quite good compensation for these shortcomings. Overall though, given it’s size, sensitivity, build quality and audio, as a complete package, in my opinion, the RF-B65 is equal to the ICF-2001D, and this is why today, it remains so highly sought after.

Below are embedded reception videos and text links to the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel, with various DX catches on the RF-B65. Some of these are considered quite rare in Europe, for example EXPPM Radio Educación’s 1 kW signal from Mexico City, the now defunct ABC Northern Territories on 120 metres and Radio Bandeirantes from Sao Paolo, Brazil, amongst others. Please note; right at the bottom of this post is a link to some very recent comparisons with the brilliant Eton Satellit – one of the very best portables currently on the market today. The vintage Panasonic holds its own, despite 30 years of supposed technical innovation in electronics. Thanks for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all great DX.


Click here to view on Oxford Shortwave Log

Click here to view on Oxford Shortwave Log

Click here to view on Oxford Shortwave Log

Click here to view on Oxford Shortwave Log

Click here to view on Oxford Shortwave Log

Click here to view on Oxford Shortwave Log

Click here to view on Oxford Shortwave Log

Click here to view some comparison videos of the RF-B65 and Eton Satellit

 

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

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