The BBC World Service has extended output on shortwave radio in Indian-administered Kashmir to provide reliable news and information.
The Director of the BBC World Service, Jamie Angus, says: “The provision of independent and trusted news in places of conflict and tension is one of the core purposes of the World Service.
“Given the shutdown of digital services and phone lines in the region, it’s right for us to try and increase the provision of news on our short wave radio services. Audiences in both India and Pakistan trust the BBC to speak with an independent voice, and we know that our reporting through several moments of crisis this year has been popular and valued by audiences who turn to us when tensions are highest.”
BBC News Hindi radio output (9515 and 11995kHz) will be extended by 30 minutes from Friday 16 August. The full one-hour news programme will be on air from 7.30pm to 8.30pm local time.
On Monday 19 August, BBC News Urdu will launch a 15-minute daily programme, Neemroz. Broadcast at 12.30pm local time on 15310kHz and 13650kHz, the programme will focus on news coming from Kashmir and the developments around the issue, and include global news roundup tailored for audiences in Kashmir.
BBC World Service English broadcasts (11795kHz, 9670kHz, 9580kHz, 7345kHz, 6040kHz) will be expanded, with the morning programming extended by an hour, ending at 8.30am local time; and the afternoon and evening programming starting an hour earlier, at 4.30pm local time.
The shutdown has left people with very few options for accessing news at this time. However, news services from the BBC continue to be available in the region – through shortwave radio transmissions in English, Urdu, Hindi, Dari and Pashto. As well as providing an important source of news to the region, the South Asian language services have brought added depth to the BBC’s coverage of the Kashmir story.
The recent introduction of four new languages services for India – Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Telugu, following additional investment from the UK Government – has enabled the BBC to offer a wider portfolio of languages and distribution methods to a region that is geographically diverse as well as politically tense. This year’s Global Audience Measure for the BBC showed that India is now the World Service’s largest market, with a weekly audience of 50m.
The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station Control Room
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Dennis, Eric, and Michael who share the following story from Radio World. Please note my comments below following a short excerpt from this piece:
OTTAWA — During the height of the Cold War (1947–1991), the shortwave radio bands were alive with international state-run broadcasters; transmitting their respective views in multiple languages to listeners around the globe.
The western bloc’s advocates were led by the BBC World Service, and included Voice of America, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Radio Canada International and a host of influential European broadcasters. The eastern bloc’s de facto team captain was the USSR’s Radio Moscow (with its unique hollow, echoing sound), supplemented by broadcasters in Soviet satellite countries (like East Germany’s Radio Berlin International) and allies like Fidel Castro’s Radio Havana Cuba.
Then 1991 arrived, and the Cold War apparently ended with the fall of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
In the seeming peace that followed, many governments no longer saw the sense in spending millions on multi-megawatt transmitters and vast antenna farms to keep broadcasting their messages globally.
The leader among them, the BBC World Service (BBCWS), trumpeted the web and webcasting as modern, cost-effective alternatives to expensive shortwave broadcasting (along with satellite radio and leasing local FM airtime in the countries they used to broadcast to). This is why the BBCWS ceased shortwave transmissions to North America and Australia in 2001 and Europe in 2008, while retaining SW broadcasts in less-developed parts of the globe.[…]
I, along with a number of fiends in the shortwave community–Bob Zanotti, Jeff White, Colin Newell, and Ian McFarland to name a few–we’re quoted in this piece.
As with most any published piece, quotes and statements are trimmed and edited to fit the print space. If you read the full article, you will have noticed some quotes from me. Here’s a larger portion of my full statement for this piece:
Most audience analysts agree that the number of shortwave listeners has been on the decline at the same time Internet access has been on the rise. Moreover, shortwave listener numbers are hard to quantify due to the very nature of anonymous listening; no one can truly “track” a shortwave radio listener. On the other hand, there is nothing anonymous about those who listen to or watch Internet content–not only can the audience be measured by numbers, but a much deeper and more invasive set of data can be gleaned from an online audience. Thus the decline in shortwave also denotes a loss of anonymity on the part of the listener.
This is not to say there aren’t shortwave listeners. A significant number of listeners are radio enthusiasts/DXers who appreciate the shortwave medium. But perhaps more meaningfully, shortwave listeners are those living in rural and remote parts of the world who benefit from the instant, free, and anonymous information shortwave provides.
At Ears To Our World, we received this photo from a school in rural Tanzania in June 2019. The teacher has been using one of our self-powered shortwave radios to listen to news and improve language skills.
Some broadcasters effectively target both of these audiences. Large government broadcasters, however, have always tried to reach the “influencers” in a country–those who might eventually help guide a country’s policy and international relationships. And the great majority of these influencers, according to audience research, have moved to social media and the Internet as a source of information.
Note that I received the photo above in June. At Ears To Our World, we still work with communities that appreciate the accessibility of radio. Perhaps our partners are more the exception than the rule, but there are still those who benefit from radio–especially those living in rural and remote areas. Where large government shortwave broadcasters are pulling out of the scene, often community-driven stations are taking their place. We’ve been working with Radio Taboo in Cameroon, for example, and they are an amazing case in point.
“Tonga’s submarine cable to Fiji was severed on Sunday night, meaning there were no phone or internet services for several days.
Interim satellite links have since been provided but the bandwidth is nowhere near what Tonga needs.
The deputy chief executive of Tonga Communications Corporation, Sione Veikoso, said the company is now providing extra capacity.
[F]ull restoration may be possible within a week but it could take a month.”
Speaking on the Radio New Zealand Pacific program Dateline Pacific (evening edition for 25 January 2019) deputy chief executive of Tonga Communications Corporation, Sione Veikoso said that two cables were cut. Click here to listen to the audio.
I heard the RNZ Dateline Pacific program on RNZI (shortwave), 9700 kHz at 11:13 UTC 1-25-2019.
Thanks for sharing, Dan. Yes, in times like these, shortwave radio makes for an easy, accessible way to get information directly from the source. Radio New Zealand International should be an easy catch in Tonga.
The Papua New Guinea government is contemplating restoring short wave radio services to Bougainville, after they were shut down during the civil war.
[…]The Bougainville regional member in the PNG parliament, Joe Lera, has raised concerns that the region’s mostly rural population lacks access to information.
He said in the absence of other media these people can be won over by groups like former combatants pushing just one view – that of independence.
Mr Lera said the Minister of Communications, Sam Basil, will take a team from the national broadcaster to Bougainville later this month.
“His thinking is two options. One, national government to immediately buy two shortwave transmitters and bring Radio Bougainville back to where it was before the crisis, and two, we want to keep FM. He is also talking national government paying for two FM transmitters.”
I’m sure Japan is one of those countries which implement the worst online broadcasting policies.
You cannot listen to Japanese internet radio stations from outside the nation, thanks to the geotagging technology for the IPv4 address; most of the major broadcasting stations do not allow access to their streaming feed outside Japan. This is a huge disservice to the expats, but the broadcasters seem not to care about it at all.
Japan’s geotagging policy against streaming broadcast is even worse within the nation; the telecom ministry enforces prefectural border limits for licensing the broadcast stations, though in some rare cases wider limits are allowed. Japan is regionally divided into 47 prefectures. So you cannot listen to Tokyo radio stations for free when you are in Osaka over internet. And vice versa. Recently a consortium of private broadcast stations, radiko.jp, announced a paid service for cross-prefectural listening of JPY300 (about USD3) per month. Isn’t this a ripoff? And it’s still not accessible from outside Japan.
Japan has a weird article in the copyright law too; the copyright owner can claim the right of making the contents being able and ready to be publicly transmitted. This right is applicable to all transmission media including internet and airwaves. So when you buy a CD, you cannot transmit without the permission of the copyright holder, usually the publisher.
[…]I hope someday I can listen to Japanese radio outside Japan over internet. The day, however, will not come soon.
If you’re an SWLing Post reader, I’m willing to bet you’re thinking: “Yeah…this is one of the downfalls of radio over the Internet.” We never have this issue with shortwave radio broadcasts since they’re built upon a medium that has, at its very core, no regard for national borders.
Of course, this article focuses on local/regional FM outlets in Japan and the firewalls that keep their online streams neatly contained.
I can’t help but think that there must be workarounds to defeat IPv4 address geotagging within Japan. Perhaps I’m wrong.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard B, who shares a link to this article from The Guardian highlighting the amount and type of personal data Google and Facebook collect on their users. While some readers may not be surprised, this could still be eye-opening to some.
The article includes sections highlighting the type of data collected, how you can view this data, and (when possible) how to halt collection and delete it. Here are some of the section headings:
Google knows where you’ve been
Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted
Google has an advertisement profile of you
Google knows all the apps you use
Google has all of your YouTube history
The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents
Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too
Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location
They can access your webcam and microphone
Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data