This morning, I was able to catch the first thirteen minutes of Radio Thailand‘s English language service on 9,390 kHz shortwave. I was curious if RT would mention the Thailand military coup or at least broadcast a sanctioned message from the military authorities. Yet I heard no mention of the coup whatsoever. And why not? Yesterday, General Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered all domestic TV and radio outlets to halt normal broadcasting and only include content the military provides.
I was only able to record the first 13 minutes of the RT evening news as we had a powerful thunderstorm that forced me to unplug my external antenna. You’ll note the static crashes in the recording.
The format sounds like a typical RT broadcast, save the lack of national news; instead, the hosts jump straight into global news, mentioning Nigeria, the Philippians, and the economy. Here’s the recording:
“The day after the military takeover in Thailand, television and radio remains blacked out and under military control.
Instead, viewers and listeners are being fed a diet of traditional music interspersed with orders and announcements from the country’s new military rulers.
Each of the announcements – around 20 so far on the first day of military rule – is read out several times over both television and radio.
Other forms of communication, such as print media, the internet, landline and mobile phones have not been affected so far, although all media have been requested to refrain from criticism of the military authorities. [Continue reading…]
Reports from shortwave radio listeners are similar: many heard announcements in Thai along with patriotic music on Radio Thailand. I attempted to listen the the RT broadcast targeting eastern North America at 00:00 UTC on 15,590 kHz, but the signal was simply too weak. I could only hear a faint woman’s voice in the static.
Thailand’s army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, declared a coup today (Thursday, May 22), and detained key party leaders while suspending the constitution in “a bid to restore order” after nearly six months of ant-government protests.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha has also ordered all domestic TV and radio outlets to halt normal broadcasting and only include content the military provides until further notice. Only yesterday, a group of Thai media bodies accused the Peace and Order Maintaining Command (POMC) of violating the constitution when the POMC banned 14 satellite TV outlets. Now that the constitution is suspended, I suppose it is no longer an obstacle.
I’m curious if Radio Thailand will be on the air today–if so, I assume broadcasts will contain military sanctioned content. I would encourage you to tune to Radio Thailand and, if possible, even record a broadcast to archive if they are indeed on the air.
Russia (or China or Angola or Zimbabwe or Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria) can easily block Internet access — to include, and particularly from, VOA. While shortwave can be jammed it takes a little more effort (and a considerable amount of budget to pay the electric bill for the high-powered jamming signals).
Unlike AM and FM radio transmission, shortwave transmitters can be located continents away from the strife for protection of the transmission infrastructure.
Shortwave transmission — coupled with the surreptitious distribution and proliferation of cheap shortwave radio receivers for target audiences — can help insure that the voice of freedom and democracy can continue to be heard in geopolitical hotspots throughout the world.”