Posts tagged ‘internet’

Friday, February 26, 2021

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Navel-gazing Rogue in the Broadcasting Room

Why, sure …

 

Canada’s parliament declares China’s persecution of Uighurs a “genocide”? Cool, but who in China cares when Canada doesn’t speak to the world, including China, and explains the declaration?

If the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) critics state their case correctly, that’s the state of Canada’s foreign broadcasting. Not only will CBC, reportedly, violate the Broadcasting Act by cutting Radio Canada International (RCI) down further. It would also be sort of privatizing it, by shifting its focus to domestic minority broadcasting, thus competing with private ethnic radio operators – and, according to the “RCI Action Committee” – to newcomers to our country”, “engaging with its target audience, particularly newcomers to Canada”, and making this new content “freely available to interested ethnic community media”.

The idea that publicly-funded foreign broadcasters (or media platforms) should shift their attention to migrant communities at home, at least to some extent, is nothing new. Germany’s Deutsche Welle has been doing this for a number of years now, and so has (it seems to me) Radio Sweden.

But that’s not RCI’s mandate, writes the Action Committee.

CBC’s supervisors appear to be fast asleep, while there is “a rogue elephant in the broadcasting room”, according to Peter Menzies, a former Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) vice chair.

According to the “RCI Action Committee’s” blog on December 4 last year, RCI, after what CBC calls its “modernization”, won’t run its own website any more, and the Spanish, Arabic and Chinese services will be basically closed – cut from three editors each to only one editor per language remaining, to translate content from the CBC and Radio-Canada websites. And the English and French programs, it seems, will cease to exist completely.

Menzies, a signatory to a letter calling on senior government officials to get CBC executives to put their latest plans on hold and give RCI employees a few weeks to come up with an alternative restructuring plan, also gives a short account of Radio Canada International’s history, from the final days of world war 2 to 2012, when RCI’s budget was cut into by 80 percent, two-thirds of staff laid off and RCI ceased shortwave and satellite transmission, becoming internet only.

Will CBC listen to its critics? Not if its supervisors remain silent. In fact, RCI staff has often put up resistance and creativity against budget and program slashes, but never successfully, at least not in the long run.

Radio Canada International has been a shadow of itself since early this century, and it had seen cuts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, too.

Radio Canada International once ran a German service. It was one of the most popular shortwave programs among German listeners both in East and West Germany until it was closed in late 1989 or early 1990. At the time, new language services such as Arabic or Chinese were said to be the reason for terminating the daily half-hour German programs.

Gunter Michelson, one of the Radio Canada International German service’s editors who had left or retired before the department was closed, said in a telephone interview at the time that

This is a strange issue. The German programs’ termination is explained by the launch of broadcasts in Chinese. The idea of a Chinese service in itself is up-to-date and very good. China will, after all, be one of the world’s greatest markets. But the same logic demands that Canada broadcasts in German, to the European-Community, which is going to be the world’s biggest trading block in the foreseeable future, with 340 million consumers and 60 million people within the EC and 80 million in central Europe speak German. You can’t simply ignore them.[…]*)

Sure thing: you can, just as you can ignore a potential billion-and-a-half Chinese audience. OK – many of them were lost when the shortwave broadcasts from Canada ended, anyway.

Thirty years later, the budget slashes are coming full circle – it’s the Chinese service’s turn to be (nearly) eliminated. To whom is Canada talking when its parliament passes a resolution concerning China?

Probably to itself. Be a human-rights advocate and feel good about it.

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Note

*) Michelson, August 27, 1989: Das ist eine außerordentlich befremdliche Sache. Begründet wird die Einstellung des deutschsprachigen Programms mit der Aufnahme von Sendungen in Chinesisch. An sich ist die Idee eines chinesischen Dienstes aktuell und sehr gut. China wird ja eines Tages einer der größten Absatzmärkte der Welt sein. Aber die gleiche Logik erfordert auch, dass Kanada auf Deutsch ins EG-Gebiet sendet, das ja in zwei oder drei Jahren mit 340 Millionen Verbrauchern den in absehbarer Zeit größten Wirtschaftsblock der Welt darstellen wird. Und über 60 Millionen Personen im EG-Gebiet, um 80 Millionen in Mitteleuropa, sprechen ja Deutsch. Die kann man nicht einfach ignorieren. […]

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Related

RCI “effectively retired”, April 9, 2012
Advocacy journalism not the problem, Jan 26, 2012
Opinion leaders, May 20, 2011

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Radio or the Internet? It’s both or neither

Why are “social media” so successful? Seems to me that the most obvious reason is that they give you a chance to speak out publicly, to make a difference in political ways. You can compliment the actress of your choice (ahem), you can shout at your region’s members of parliament, at top politicians, or at industrial managers.

(Those who appoint the managers won’t usually do Facebook or Twitter, though. They may not even bother to hire some ghostwriters.)

Then there may be a need to network. When all people relevant for your career are on Facebook or Twitter, you may have to be there, too. There may be a real need to follow them there, if you want to succeed in your job, or in “smashing the system”, or whatever your mission may be.

If both these motivations – making yourself heard and networking – are important, this could help to explain why “social media” haven’t helped to make our societies more democratic. What they have produced is a crude dialectics, though I’m not sure if there’s a never-ending synthesis, or if synthesis is completely out when sloganeering (with some more or less original variations of peoples’ credos) is the only thing that matters.

Bertolt Brecht doesn’t come across as an optimist. He usually saw the potential in new developments, including radio broadcasting – in 1932 and one year before the Nazis seized control of it. Brecht also knew – or learned – that newly-emerging media wouldn’t necessarily help the cause that he held dear.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a guy who is talking about the Internet, not radio,

writes a headphones guy in California.

Sounds logical, but it isn’t. Just as radio has become a mostly linear medium, so has the internet – at least on its commercial side, i. e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.. Yes, people can voice their opinions there. But I can’t see how they would shape things in a way different from the old days*). No matter if radio or internet, their democratic effectiveness depends on how they are organized, or how people organize themselves while using radio or the internet as their media.

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Note

*) Except for a more intense cultivation of enmity on the internet, maybe.

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Related

My first ten days on Twitter, Jan 30, 2020

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Radio Taiwan International’s Korean Service plans Return to Shortwave

A 2014 photo of Taiwan’s Tamsui transmitters site,
RTI QSL card 2015

After a break of some fifteen years, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reportedly plans a return to shortwave for its Korean language department. These plans had been raised at an award ceremony for RTI’s Korean department, held by the Korea Shortwave Club in Seoul in November 2019, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported back then. RTI’s board of directors was expected to take a positive decision in January 2020, and RTI’s German service confirmed in a mailbag program on May 29 that the Korean programs would indeed return to shortwave.

This follows the resumption of shortwave transmissions by the foreign broadcaster’s French and Spanish services. According to RTI’s French service’s mailbag program in February, RTI’s management wants the station to use all means of communications available, to raise Taiwan’s profile.

No opening day has apparently been specified, but the switch from the summer to the winter 2020/21 broadcasting season (in late October) doesn’t appear unlikely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

“Someone has falsified the Chinese Embassy’s official Twitter Account”

PARIS (AFP) – China’s embassy in Paris said Monday (May 25) its Twitter account had been “falsified” after a tweet portraying the US as a bloodthirsty grim reaper sparked disquiet over the diplomatic mission’s conduct on social media.

Clarification: Someone has falsified the Chinese embassy’s official Twitter account by publishing a drawing titled “‘Who is next”? The embassy makes a point of condemning it and is always committed to truth, objectivity and reason of information.

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Update / Related

French embassy says that “such a drawing is against the French law”, and refers to itself as a “victim of disinformation”.

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Friday, April 24, 2020

The science of making the most of a rumor without confirming it

The following is a Q & A between a reporter of Pengpai News (literally: “Surge”, aka “The Paper”) from Shanghai, and Shi Yi, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Microbiology, at a regular press conference held by the State Council’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism at Guo’erzhao Guest House in Beijing, on Thursday afternoon local time.

State Council info,
click photo for source

Main link: State Council transcript

Pengpai News reporter [“The Paper”, Shanghai]:
Recently, foreign media have reported that the American military has restarted the biochemical base at Fort Derrick in Maryland. After the news, obtained by many people there, later began to emerge, America believes that there is a lot of evidence that the cause for the emergency closure of Fort Derrick biochemcial base last year in August was absolutely fishy, and it is believed that said virus may be the origin of the new coronavirus, and may also have created the autum-winter influenza epidemic. After that, said virus [is said to have] occured in China again, as a variation of the virus, because of US military taking part in the Wuhan 2019 Military World Games. May I ask how the experts view this issue? Thank you.

[澎湃新闻记者]近期,有境外媒体报道美军重启为马里兰州的德特里克堡生化研究基地,那里很多民众得到消息以后开始外逃,美国认为有多个证据表明,德特里克堡生化研究基地去年8月被紧急关闭的原因十分蹊跷,认为该疾病可能是新冠病毒的源头,并在美国造成秋冬季节流感大流行,之后病毒通过参加武汉军人运动员美国军人在中国发生变异后再次暴发,请问台上专家如何看待这个问题?谢谢。2020-04-23 15:34:02

Shi Yi:
Thank you for your question. Actually, we are have noticed the related information of this idea on the internet, too, about Americans suspecting that Fort Derrick biochemical base may be the source of the new coronavirus. There hasn’t been a public American response, and we have no way of judging this. Investigating the origins of a virus science in itself, whose main objective is to avoid another outbreak of similar epidemic situations, causing harm to humankind. Currently, scientists from all countries of the world are researching the origins of the virus, and they have put forward numerous learned points of views and hypothesis and guesses. Chinese scientists have also carried out conscientious relevant research, so as to find the origins of the new coronavirus as soon as possible, with a focus on good prevention and control, and to provide a scientific basis.

[施一]谢谢这位记者的提问。其实,我们注意到互联网上相关信息,美国有人怀疑德特里克堡生化研究基地可能是新冠病毒来源的说法,美国方面对此没有公开回应,我们无从做出判断。病毒溯源本身是科学问题,其主要目的是防止再次发生同类疫情对人类社会造成危害。目前,世界各国科学家都在开展病毒源头的研究,对新冠病毒的来源提出了许多学术观点及假设、猜想。中国科学家目前也在认真开展相关研究,为早日找到新冠病毒的起源,有针对性的做好防控,提供科学依据。

Still Shi Yi:
As seen from the process of tracing the origins of tracing a virus, this is a scientific problem that requires a relatively long time and comes with uncertainties. It will take quite a chain of biological information and epidemiological evidence put together, confirming each other, to really complete this task. Many viral diseases in human history, such as AIDS, SARS etc. have required decade-long searches for their origins, but although there has been progress, all results are speculative, without a final answer, research is still continuing. The current new corona pneumonia is wreaking havoc on the entire world, and hopefully, all countries of the world will focus their energy and attention on the major work of prevention and control. The scientific issue of tracing the origins of the virus will require deep research by scientists from all countries. Thank you.

从病毒溯源的科学研究全过程来看,这是一项科学难题,需要较长时间而且存在不确定性,需要将众多生物学信息和流行病学证据汇聚成相互印证的证据链,才能真正完成任务。人类历史上很多疾病比如艾滋病、SARS等,对其源头的探索历经十几年甚至几十年的研究,虽然取得了进展,但研究结果仅是推测,尚未得出最终的答案,研究工作至今仍在继续。当前新冠肺炎疫情正在全球肆虐,希望世界各国把精力和关注点集中放在疫情防控重点工作上,病毒溯源这一科学难题需要各国科学家深入研究。谢谢。2020-04-23 15:34:29

Friday, April 3, 2020

Flying high and low: Radio Taiwan International’s French and Spanish Services return to Shortwave

The transmission site is important,
but a welcoming set of wires won’t hurt either,
especially if you want to listen to the programs
for Latin America from Europe

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is putting its French and Spanish services back on the air, after an absence of two years. The French programs are broadcast every night at 19:00 to 19:30 UTC on 6005 kHz via Kostinbrod (Bulgaria), for northern Africa and Europe. There are news bulletins at the beginning of every transmission (except, possibly, on Saturdays and Sundays when those first ten minutes may be used for cultural or other programs).

RTI’s Spanish service will be back on air on April 6, i. e. this coming Monday, with transmissions for South America from 01:00 to 01:30 UTC on 5800 kHz, for Central America and Cuba from 02:00 to 02:30 UTC on 5010 kHz, and for Europe from 22:00 to 23:00 UTC on 7780 kHz. (Time UTC means Sunday night, April 5, local time in Latin America.)

The Spanish test transmissions were apparently all carried out by Radio WRMI (Radio Miami International) in Okeechobee, Florida, so that should be the case with the regular transmissions starting on April 6, too.

The decision to make more use of shortwave again was reportedly taken by a new director general at RTI , a man named Chang Cheng (張正) who has apparently been at the helm of Taiwan’s international broadcaster since some time in summer, 2019.

Chang appears to be enthusiastic about shortwave. This isn’t the first time that he is involved with broadcasting, he wrote in November last year, but while he used to think of broadcasting as a rather simple affair – “you speak, you record it, your voice goes on the air, and that’s that” (在錄音室錄完就大功告成,聲音就出去了), he has since learned that this had been a rather low-key description:

Once the recording is done, there’s post-production, once that is done, your voice has to go on air. How can it be transmitted? At RTI, for example, the recording, made at RTI’s main building in Taipei, has to be transmitted from the iron tower on the Taipei building’s roof on microwave, to the microwave station on the top of Yuanshan mountain, and, flying high and low, across buildings and mountain ranges, exit the Taipei Basin, to reach another microwave station there. Several relays later, it arrives at the targeted substation.*)

錄音結束,還要後製,後製完成,還要把聲音送出去。怎麼送?以央廣為例,在台北總台錄製的節目,必須透過屋頂的發射鐵塔,以微波打向高據圓山山頭的微波站,再居高臨下地越過高樓大廈、越過層層山巒,送到台北盆地之外的微波站。經過幾個微波站的接力,抵達各地分台。

The real task awaits us here: by the substation’s high-performance transmitters and all sorts of rigged antennas, the signal is carried out of Taiwan, on shortwave.

然後才是最難的部份:透過分台的高功率發射機與高聳的各式天線電塔,以短波的形式傳送到台灣境外。

Why the fuss? You say that in the internet age, you just have to put your voice on the internet and that will do? Not necessarily (pointing west without comment). Therefore, this sort of flying-pigeon message, the historic long-distance radio wave, reflected by the ionosphere, comes in handy.

幹嘛這麼費事?你說,網路時代,把聲音放上網路不就成了?這可不一定。你知道的,有些地方網路到不了(伸出食指默默指向西邊)。於是「短波」(Short Wave)這種有如飛鴿傳書、將無線電波藉由電離層反射的古老遠距傳輸技藝,就派上用場了。

Chang acknowledges that China jams such signals, but points out that jamming isn’t as watertight as the “great firewall” is.

That of course doesn’t explain why Africa, Europe, and Latin America have now become target areas for shortwave again. But the French department’s mailbag program, on February 15, quoted the management as saying that RTI needed to use all means of communications available to raise Taiwan’s profile, including shortwave.

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Notes

*) substation refers to the actual transmitter sites, such as Tamsui, or, in the past, Tianma substations.
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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Chinese Academic on WSJ Reporters’ Expulsion: Butts have to be spanked

The following is a translation of an opinion article by Yang Hanyi, a regular columnist with the internet newsmagazine Guanchazhe Online (aka “Observer”), and researcher at the Shanghai Spring and Autumn Development Strategy Institute.

Guanchazhe is privately-run, according to this Wiki, and seems to be replacing “Huanqiu Shibao” as a voice for post-1990 fenqings, plus indignant little emperors of all ages.

Yang’s article goes far beyond the WSJ “incident” – and this probably reflects the political motivation behind revoking the three press credentials. It appears to reflect Beijing’s frustration with American sanction policies, the murder of Qasem Soleimani, and the demonstrations in Hong Kong (blamed on the West), among others. It also tries to sketch a roadmap of how to deal with the press in future.

However, Guanchazhe notes that the article’s content is only the opinion of the author, and not written on behalf of the platform.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

On February 19, a spokesman of China’s foreign ministry announced at a press conference that from that day onwards, the credentials of three Beijing reporters of America’s “Wall Street Journal” would be revoked. In peoples’ memory, this is the first time in the decades of reform and opening up that the government has handed down an “edict of expulsion” against several reporters of the same medium at the same time.

2月19日,中国外交部发言人在记者会上宣布,即日起吊销美国《华尔街日报》三名驻京记者证件。在人们的记忆中,这是改革开放几十年来中国政府首次对来自同一家国际媒体的多名记者同时下“逐客令”。

I’d just like to say: “well done”.

对此我只想说“干得漂亮”。

As is well known, this incident started with the “WSJ”‘s publication of a flow of racism and prejudice, “China is the real sick man in Asia”, slandering the Chinese government’s and peoples’ great efforts to resist the new coronavirus epidemic. Once this was published, many netizens rushed forth the the “WSJ”‘s social media accounts and denounced the racism. America’s nationwide broadcaster NBC, in a report, also criticized the “WSJ”‘s headline as it could create fear, anxieties, and a hostile mood. Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, on February 6, named the author and criticized his arrogance, prejudice and ignorance. But facing the stern message of the Chinese side, [the WSJ] then turned to summoning the pretense of freedom of the press and of speech. For a while, the author said that the choice of the headline was freedom of editing, for a while they said that they had meant to refer to the Ottoman Empire without malign intentions, and even that [The remaining accusations are beyond my translation skills, but this article may reflect all or some of them]. Do they really believe that people don’t know those things behind western media?

众所周知,这起事件的起因是《华尔街日报》2月3日发表了一篇流淌着种族主义偏见的文章《中国是真正的“亚洲病夫”》,诋毁中国政府和人们抗击新冠疫情的努力。此文一发,大批网民涌至作者和《华尔街日报》社交媒体页面上留言指责种族主义。美国全美广播公司在报道中也批评《华尔街日报》的标题可能制造恐惧、焦虑和敌对情绪。中国外交部发言人华春莹更是于2月6日点名批评该文作者的傲慢、偏见和无知。但面对中方的严正交涉,他们又搬出新闻自由、言论自由的幌子,一会儿作者说起标题是编辑的自由,一会儿说我们没有恶意只是玩了个奥斯曼帝国的梗,一会儿说我们甚至以病夫自黑呢。如今中国采取惩罚措施,《华尔街日报》发行人威廉•刘易斯又甩的一手好锅,说评论部门惹的祸,不好怪到新闻记者头上来哟,真以为人们不知道西方媒体背后那些事呢?

In recent years, everyone has clearly seen America’s so-called great-power competition, not only in correct and fitting words in national defense strategy papers, not only by openly kidnapping the international community with domestic laws*), not only by telling the world with an honest face that we “tell lies, cheat and steal”, not only trampling on international conventions for the protection of diplomats by public assassination, but also by carrying a gun and a stick on a somewhat concealed battlefield which is the battle of public opinion.

近年来大家都看清了美国所谓的大国竞争,不仅名正言顺地写在国防战略报告里;不仅堂而皇之用国内法绑架国际社会;不仅正大光明地告诉世界“我们撒谎、欺骗、偷窃”;不仅践踏保护外交人员的国际公约公然行刺,也包括在另一片略微隐蔽的战场上夹枪带棒,这就是舆论话语的战斗。

Yang’s article describes news media as rather low-cost “mouthpieces of national interests” with a frequently high impact on international public opinion and politics, while America hardly found a way to compete with Huawei. And while an old-style empire’s embarrassing situation was understandable, and while one could even appreciate the comical nature of foreign medias’ blackening of China, butts that deserved a spanking still needed to be spanked (但好笑归好笑,屁股该打还是要打的).

It continues with a tour of American crimes and double standards (perceived or real – you decide from case to case), from a recently announced obligation for China’s state or party media to register as foreign agents or diplomatic missions in the US, to an NBA executive’s support of Hong Kong’s democracy movement (instigating chaos elements in HK / 怂恿乱港分子), the publication of a coronavirus-China-state-flag cartoon in Denmark, the WSJ’s sick-man-of-Asia statement, and inconsistencies in measures against anti-semitic or anti-black messages online while lacking protection of China against being being scolded.

The “Charlie Hebdo” massacre is broached, too, and so is responsibility as the other side of the coin (freedom being the other one).

Has the “WSJ” published free speech which insults Chinese? Yes. Must it be held responsible for publishing such remarks? Yes.

《华尔街日报》有没有发表侮辱中国人文章的言论自由?有。那它需不需要为发表这样的言论负责?需要。

The article then refers to Singapore as a place to learn from, when dealing with “misreporting”, citing a lawsuit by Lee Kuan Yew against the Far Eastern Economic Review‘s editor-in-chief as an example – according to the author, that was in 1989 -, and a case against the Asia WSJ, also in Singapore, in 1991, about contempt of court.

Yang on the other hand cites Beijing’s “unreliable entities list” as a conceivable tool.

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Note

*) There are probably two aspects to this accusation. One could be the US sanctions regime against Iran (and maybe also against North Korea, even if China officially supports those), and another would be a widely held belief that there is a rift between the US and the rest of the West about how to interact with China.

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Related

FMPRC daily briefing online, Febr 19, 2020
Be more Xinhua, Oct 10, 2009

Monday, November 25, 2019

Program Reductions at China Radio International (CRI)

While China Radio International‘s (CRI) airtime remains undampened, program hours appear to be going down, reports Radio Berlin Brandenburg‘s (RBB) media magazine. RBB points to CRI Portuguese as a striking example: the broadcasts have only contained music and references to CRI’s online pages for some time, and the Portuguese-language online pages contain only single articles, but not the usual program packages. Programs in Polish, Serbian and Albanian still contained short news readings, but only music apart from that, according to random checks.

CRI German, April 1 schedule

CRI German, April 1 schedule

The German program seems to have seen some cuts, too. There used to be news broadcasts at the beginning of every transmission, but I haven’t heard any news or current affairs on Saturdays and Sundays recently, and today’s (Monday) two-hour program didn’t carry any news or current affairs either.

CRI’s most recent schedule was published online on April 1 this year, shortly after the beginning of the summer frequency plan. Apparently, it wasn’t updated when the HFCC’s current B19 transmission schedule went into effect a few weeks ago.

According to the April 1 plan, the two-hours German programs, from Monday through Friday, started with a news and current affairs program of 15 minutes, (“CRI Aktuell” / “CRI Aktuell mit Hintergrund”), 35 minutes of feature programs (“CRI Panorama”), followed by a language course of ten minutes, and an hour of cultural programs (“CRI Kulturcollage”).

On Saturdays and Sundays, a five-minutes news program (“CRI Aktuell”) was followed by 45 minutes of “CRI Panorama”, followed by a ten-minutes language course and 55 minutes of “Kulturcollage”.

Today, just as recently on Saturdays and Sundays, there were 50 minutes of “CRI Panorama” and the usual ten-minutes language course. The second hour was a repetition of exactly the same content.

CRI Chinese and CRI English still carry news and current affairs programs.

Back to Radio Berlin Brandenburg’s media magazine. They wonder why the shortwave frequencies which used to carry CRI Portuguese, Polish, Serbian, or Albanian, are still in use.

The answer may be that co-channelling (a slightly more sophisticated way of jamming undesired broadcasters abroad than applying the “Firedrake”) is easier when you have many shortwave frequencies in use. Abandoned frequencies could otherwise be collected by Taiwan, from where both national broadcaster Radio Taiwan International (RTI) and Chinese opposition broadcasters like “Sound of Hope” (希望之聲) are broadcasting to China on shortwave.

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Related

By any other Name, March 30, 2018
Innovative Guidance of Public Opinion, Nov 17, 2015
Rumors about CRI, April 13, 2015

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