Tag Archives: Why Shortwave Radio

DW: South Sudan blocks access to independent websites

(Source: Deutsche Welle)

Internet and mobile phone users in South Sudan are not able to access the websites of at least four independent media outlets. The government has grown increasingly hostile to the media since civil war began in 2013.

The South Sudanese government has blocked access to the websites of Dutch-backed Radio Tamazuj, as well as the popular news blogs Nyamilepedia and Paanluel Wel. Internet users said that the website of the Paris-based Sudan Tribune was also affected on some mobile phone and Wi-Fi networks.

Radio Tamazuj and the Sudan Tribune are reputable sites which have been critical in their coverage of South Sudan’s government, which has grown increasingly hostile towards the media since civil war broke out in 2013.

The government is justified in blocking the websites to protect citizens from outlets that “disseminate subversive material,” South Sudan’s Minister of Authorities Michael Makuei Lueth told the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).[…]

Continue reading at Deutsche Welle online.

Fortunately, the South Sudan communities I’ve worked with through Ears To Our World have access to shortwave radio which is not affected by an Internet block.

No doubt, shortwave radio is the ultimate free speech medium, as it has no regard for national borders, nor for whom is in power (or not in power) at any moment.

Shortwave radio may be a sunsetting technology, but it’s also the most accessible and effective vehicle of the free press. What other technology can thoroughly blanket the globe with news and information yet can also be be received with a simple $20 battery-powered portable device?

This photo was taken in South Sudan, after Ears To Our World distributed radios in this rural community for the fourth year running. We’ve been distributing radios in South Sudan through our partners there since 2009.

Check out these recent comments from the head of DW regarding the importance of international broadcasting. Thanks for the tip, Rich!

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.

RadioWorld: Radio Reaches Blocked Countries

(Source: RadioWorld via Southgate ARC)

International radio remains the most reliable, robust source of information for people in some nations

North Korea is rated as the second most censored county in the world after Eritrea, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

North Koreans who are caught accessing information not approved and disseminated by the government can be sent to brutal prison camps for extended terms, or face execution.

Yet such is the human hunger for reliable outside information, that many North Koreans brave these risks by tuning into international radio and cross-border TV broadcasts wherever practical.

Many also watch banned South Korean TV programs on black market DVDs, SD cards, and USB sticks; plus computers and mobile phones smuggled in from China. (South Korean movies and soap operas are hugely popular in the North, according to the New York Times.)

The conclusions they draw from this content are subsequently shared with other North Koreans by word-of-mouth; despite the fact that such sharers can get in serious trouble with the Kim Jong-Un regime.

Read the full RadioWorld article:
http://www.radioworld.com/global/0007/radio-reaches-blocked-countries/339993

PRI: How a shortwave radio network is helping to counter Boko Haram

GSM Bohnso School, Cameroon (Photo courtesy of ETOW partner, EduCare Africa)

(Source: PRI)

It’s easy to overlook the power of radio, when being hit by a firehose of apps, websites, video and social media. But when you’re out in the sticks, especially if there’s crisis or unrest, radio saves lives.

“In crisis situations, information is very, very important. Sometimes more than food, you need information,” says Faruk Dalhatu, managing director of Dandal Kura Radio International in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a former Boko Haram stronghold. “Because, if you’re on the run, you need to know which direction is safe, before you even think of close family members that have been separated from you.”

What’s more, you don’t need to know how to read to listen to radio. You don’t even need to own a radio; you can just listen to someone else’s. And if you’ve got a cellphone — and many people even in remote parts of Africa do — you can call in and have a voice.

Click here to listen via PRI.

ABC News: Portrait of a devoted shortwave radio listener

(Source: ABC News)

Saying goodbye to Radio Australia on the shortwave after 37 years

Kevin De Reus has lived in the same 24-kilometre-radius his whole life.

Born and raised in Iowa in the US, Kevin now calls his grandfather’s farm — just 12 kilometres from where he grew up in central Des Moines — home.

He is married, has five children and has worked at the same company for 20 years.

And while he admits he has not travelled much in his 52 years, it hasn’t stopped Kevin from listening to the news from Australia since 1980 — with the help of a shortwave radio.

Listening from the other side of the world

Even half a world away, he says the broadcast was one of the clearest of the stations he listened to.

“Radio Australia always held a special place in my heart just because it was in the South Pacific and I didn’t know much about that area — and the signal was always good from that part of the world,” he says.
“Most recently, over the last two to three years as I was listening in the morning hours here on 9.580, the signal was so good. It really was about the only English broadcaster at that time of the day that had news and information.

“Most mornings I would get up and turn on the shortwave radio at 7:00am (local time) and listen to the news from Australia and then I would drive to work.

“So many of the stations just aren’t on the air anymore. BBC doesn’t broadcast to North America anymore. I can’t even hardly hear the Voice of America in English anymore to tell you the truth. So Australia had the strongest signal.

“That’s why it was hard for me to hear [Radio Australia] was going to go off the air.”[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article on ABC News.

I believe Kevin De Reus did a fine job explaining the appeal of being a shortwave radio listener.

Though I gather a lot of international news these days with a WiFi radio (especially since Radio Australia left the shortwaves), I still prefer listening to shortwave.

It’s just how I’m wired.