Banning RT Broadcasts is Equivalent to WW2 Jamming

censorshipFor those not acquainted with radio “jamming”, it is the deliberate blocking or interference with wireless communications and it is a common form of censorship in totalitarian countries. Its purpose is to prevent foreign radio broadcasts from reaching the country.

During World War 2 in occupied Europe, the Nazis attempted to jam the BBC and other allied radio broadcasts to the continent, but no jamming of German Nazi broadcasts was carried out by Britain.

Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce) was German radio’s most prominent English language speaker from 1939 to 1945 and his propaganda show “Germany Calling” was regularly broadcast to audiences in Great Britain on the station Reichssender Hamburg and over the airwaves of occupied Radio Luxembourg.

Lord Haw-Haw’s show attempted to demoralize British, Canadian, Australian and American troopers as well as the British public and despite being officially discouraged from listening to the show, it is estimated that nearly 6 million regular and 18 million people occasionally tuned in across Great Britain.

During WW2 we only had radio broadcasting. There was, of course, no Internet and TV had hardly started.

Jamming continued after the end of WW2 for forty or more years, largely carried out by the Soviet Union and its East European neighbouring countries against radio stations such as “Radio Liberty” and “Radio Free Europe”.

Now, in today’s 21st century, we live in an Internet connected world with streaming audio and video available from virtually every country, so the recent banning of Russian state-controlled media outlets, RT and Sputnik, by the USA, the UK and by the EU because of “systematic disinformation” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is essentially the modern equivalent of radio broadcast jamming.

Campaign For Independent Broadcasting strongly condemns this action by the USA, Britain and the EU. This is not because we condone Russia’s actions in Ukraine in any way, but because we believe that every individual should be free to read, to listen and to watch both sides of any news story.

We don’t expect RT’s and Sputnik’s broadcasts to be accurate or free from bias or disinformation, nor do we expect any different from the BBC, Sky News, CNN, PressTV, Aljazeera, TRT, CGTN and others.

Does UK Small-Scale Radio Licensing Need Rethinking?

A recent report by radio consultant David Lloyd to Ofcom says that the UK government should rethink its approach to community and small-scale radio.

In an ideal world it would be nice for us all to have a community radio station with news and information about what is going on in and around the area. However, when you are talking about areas within say a London Borough, my own area – Colindale – has a population of only 17,098 and the nearest bigger area is Hendon with just 18,472 people. The whole Borough of Barnet has a population of 379,691.

Without delving into heaps of statistics, one has to work out what percentage of the population will listen to the radio at all and then how many of those will listen to ‘our’ station.

Would there be sufficient content to make it “local/community” without resorting to playing the Top40? Would it be funded by advertising or by one or more people with deep pockets?

I suppose the cheapest way of providing the service is ‘back-bedroom’ and hiring air-space on something like Shoutcast.

However, time and effort is involved because the local stories would need to be researched and written up. Would presenters want to be paid or would it be voluntary for the love of the community?

Incidentally, we used to have two local newspapers in the Borough. One folded up completely and the other has amalgamated all its titles across the Borough into one. Even after that, they still use stories from other Boroughs — of no great interest for those wanting local news.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, when we were campaigning with the Campaign For Independent Broadcasting for an end to monopoly radio in the UK, we strongly believed that the only criteria for the limitation on the number of radio stations in any region or locality should be technical feasibility and commercial viability. I think the same still holds today.

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