Politics

The BBC Has Revived An Previous-College Radio Service To Assist Ukraine As TV And Web Is Attacked By Russia

The BBC has turned to an increasingly obsolete form of radio broadcasting to help people in Ukraine keep up-to-date with news as Russia bombs TV towers and attacks internet services.

The corporation said on Wednesday that the two new shortwave radio frequencies – 5735 kHz and 5875 kHz – will broadcast World Service news in English for four hours a day. These frequencies can be clearly received in Kyiv and parts of Russia, the BBC said.

Shortwave transmissions of the World Service, an international news service broadcast in English and 40 other languages, have been steadily reduced since 2001 amid the growth of online news and digital radio. The BBC stopped broadcasting to Europe on shortwave in 2008.

Shortwave radio frequencies – which can be heard via cheap portable receivers and are infamous for the crackly reception – have historically been used during international conflicts, and it was the main medium used by warring nations to speak to the populations of their enemies during the World War II.

On Tuesday, two Russian missiles struck the TV tower in Kyiv. Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said the Kremlin was preparing to cut off a large part of Ukraine from the internet and communications. “Its goal is to break the resistance of the people and the army,” he tweeted.

The BBC also said millions of people in Russia are turning to the broadcaster for independent information about the country’s invasion of Ukraine as an alternative to state-sponsored programming.

The weekly audience for the BBC’s Russian language news website more than tripled following the invasion compared to its weekly average from earlier this year, it said, reaching a record 10.7 million people in the last week compared to a usual average of 3.1 million.

Visits to the English-language bbc.com site in Russia were up 252 percent to 423,000 last week alone, the corporation said.

Winning the information war inside Russia (and the Crimea) is utterly crucial – so this is very encouraging news indeed. Probably Britain’s most important contribution so far. 🇬🇧 🇺🇦 https://t.co/4YPTVxiIIm

— Tim Farron (@timfarron) March 2, 2022

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, said: “It’s often said truth is the first casualty of war.

“In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda is rife, there is a clear need for factual and independent news people can trust – and in a significant development, millions more Russians are turning to the BBC.”

The BBC, which is facing questions about its future as the government considers ending the license fee, has won praise for reviving shortwave in Europe during the conflict.

The BBC are setting up shortwave radio frequencies for the people of Ukraine to keep informed with the news as their TV towers are bombed and internet services attacked.

You don’t get that with a Netflix subscription.

— Darryl Morris 🇺🇦 (@darrylmorris) March 1, 2022

The BBC is adding new shortwave frequencies to the World Service for the people of Ukraine.

Old school. And crucial.

5875 kHz from 8/10 UTC and on 15735 kHz from 2/4 UTC.

Thanks to @Captainswoop1 for the heads up

— Jim Parkin🕯 #BLM (@ParkinJim) March 1, 2022

As the BBC set up a shortwave radio service for the people of Ukraine after their TV and Internet is attacked.

Ask yourself – is this the kind of organization we want to defund? #Ukraine

— Johnathan I’Anson (@johnnyianson) March 2, 2022

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