Radio Waves: When high tech fails, go low tech

Ras-Putin enacted full media censorship as part of his power grab.  Independent news sources inside of Russia were either taken over by military force or chose to not talk about the invasion as the only way to stay open.  And news media from every other country has been forced to leave Russia.  There is no way from inside of Russia to report the facts to their people.

So, don’t do it from inside the country.  Do it from outside, in a way that Ras-Putin can’t prevent you from doing it.

The BBC has turned on their radio towers again, broadcasting into Russia on shortwave, just like they used to do during the cold war.  Russians with shortwave radios can listen for four hours a day, and Ras-Putin can’t do anything about it.

When high tech fails, go low tech.  Good thing the BBC never tore down the towers and transmitters.

BBC website blocked in Russia as shortwave radio brought back to cover Ukraine war

Access to BBC websites has been restricted in Russia, hours after the corporation brought back its shortwave radio service in Ukraine and Russia to ensure civilians in both countries can access news during the invasion.

State communications watchdog Roskomnadzor restricted access to BBC Russia’s online presence, as well as Radio Liberty and the Meduza media outlet, the state-owned Russian RIA news agency reported on Friday.

[. . .]

The BBC’s shortwave radio broadcast can be found on 15735 kHz from 4pm to 6pm and on 5875 kHz from 10pm to midnight, Ukraine time.

The BBC’s move to bring back shortwave came days after Russia launched two missiles on Kyiv’s TV tower, killing five people and knocking out some access to news and broadcasts.

Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, wrote on Twitter that the Kremlin was preparing to cut off communications and spread “massive fake messages that the country’s leadership has given up”.

Russia has clamped down on public dissent at home, while Kremlin-backed media organisations such as RT have been pulled internationally. The Kremlin has complained about the BBC’s coverage of the invasion, with Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claiming without evidence that the BBC “plays a determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security”.

And from CNet:

BBC Brings Back Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in Russia

The move comes as Russia restricts access to the BBC’s websites.

The BBC’s shortwave radio broadcasts are back in parts of Russia and Ukraine, as Russia moves to block the British media outlet’s websites within its borders.

The two new shortwave frequencies are broadcasting four hours of news in English each day and can be picked up clearly in Kyiv and parts of Russia.

“It’s often said truth is the first casualty of war,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement. “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.”

“We will continue giving the Russian people access to the truth, however we can,” Davie said.

The truth, from the British Biscuit Company?  Compared to Ras-Putin’s propaganda machine, yes.  But it’s better than nothing.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Thank heavens nobody in the West is doing anything like this. Humm, some German commentators cannot access RT but that’s not censorship.

    A Russian conductor in New York gets fired simply for not criticizing Russia, not for supporting the invasion?

    Jail Time for Czechs

    To be honest I am at a loss trying to understand this wild outpouring of grief and indignation for Russia’s attack. I do not remember any of this when the USA invaded Iraq and, if anything, it looks to have been much worse.

    my best guess is that Ukraine is culturally closer to Europe and the Anglosphere so people can relate more to the issue plus 70 years of demonization of the USSR and then Russia.

  2. JM says

    @1 jrkrideau: The Ukrainian government was seen as legitimate and democratic. Nobody thought that Saddam Hussein was anything but a tyrant and that limited outside support. Even among those opposed to the war it was stated up front that it’s entirely opposition to the idea of war in general, not support for Hussein.
    It also helped the US that the government worked the propaganda hard upfront to sell the war. Russia was actively claiming they had no intention of going to war right up until units crossed the border. This rendered their attempts to justify the war worthless.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    Re: “Jail time for Czechs”, I have not heard anything about this on NPR, and I can’t find any mention on CNN’s site. This sounds exactly like the kind of stuff Putin’s orcs would squeeze out of their sphincters. I think you are being gullible.

  4. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 moarscienceplz
    True Iraq but does that mean anyone can invade a country if they decide that the target country is not democratic? Why was the USA not sanctioned for an illegal war?

    This sounds a bit like, “Well, yeah the police did beat him up and break his arm but he’s a bad actor” argument.

    • JM says

      @4 jrkrideau: It is up to a point. Though in this case it’s the police lied to get an arrest warrant for a known murderer vs the police running a protection racket got into a fight with some people that refused to pay up.
      It’s also demonstrating the difference between legal and moral. The only real limits on what a country can do legally are what it’s internal population and what other countries will put up with. No country was going to go to bat for Hussein and as long as the US won easily the population of the US wasn’t going to get upset. Morally is an entirely different question. In that sense the US looks terrible because the justification that was given for the war turned out to be a lie.

      • jrkrideau says

        Though in this case it’s the police lied to get an arrest warrant for a known murderer

        Well no but it would take me a week to debate the issue and I just am too tired to try. It would come down to a basic agreement/difference of opinion but we would have to cover issues like the NATO expansion, the Minsk Accords and non-implementation, the Budapest Memorandum and so on before even getting to Zelensky’s political flip-fop.

        BTW, I am of the opinion NATO broke their word on the expansion issue. A verbal promise is binding.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 2 JM
    Re Jail Time
    Quite possibly although Consortium News has a pretty good record for accuracy.

    That it would not be in NPR or CNN does not surprise me.

    I don’t live in the USA. I have just about zero respect for US main stream media’s international reporting since watching its abject failure in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 moarscienceplz
    Aha, stumbled over a link, Jail? that seems to support my original Consortium News link . Unless you read Czech you will need to run it through a translator as I did. It tends to reinforce my belief that Consortium News is pretty reliable.