Jamming continues

BY KJW
LONDON - The Zimbabwean government might be winning the "odd battle" in their attempts to jam independent radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe but according to SW Radio's Gerry Jackson "they certainly are not winning the war".
The Zimbabwean government has been using Chinese equipment to step

up their campaign to jam the broadcasts of the three independent radio stations: SW Radio Africa, Voice of America’s Studio 7 and the Voice of the People. SW Radio’s shortwave frequency was first jammed in the run up to the 2005 elections.
“Although our shortwave signal was jammed we were also broadcasting on medium wave and were under the impression that this would be more difficult to jam. Unfortunately this year the government either brought in new equipment, or revamped the old, and jammed not just us, but also Voice of America,” said Jackson.
Eric Matingo from the Media Monitoring Project in Zimbabwe reported that it had been especially difficult recently to monitor broadcasts from Studio 7.
“We can no longer receive any signals on the Medium Wave and on the alternative Short Wave frequency, reception is sporadic. Either we don’t get any clear signal at all or we get it for a few minutes before it’s drowned in a droning sound (like that of a motor). As a result, during the last two weeks we have not been able to meaningfully monitor any of the station’s news broadcasts,” he said.
The Voice of America’s (VOA) Studio 7 has assured its multitude of listeners in Zimbabwe that it is working on preventing the jamming of its broadcasts into the country.
Brendan Murphy, the Co-ordinator of the Zimbabwe Project, confirmed to MISA recently that their broadcasts into Zimbabwe were being jammed. “We know we are being jammed, and we believe we know by whom. We are collecting empirical evidence and when that is in hand, the Voice of America will make its position clear.
“However, I do not think that it will be much longer before VOA comes out with something more definitive,” said Murphy. VOA’s Studio 7 broadcasts on Short Wave from Washington DC.
Despite repeated problems with Jamming, Jackson remains optimistic. “The jamming does clearly indicate the action of an increasingly desperate regime. With technology as it stands today the Zimbabwe government can’t win in clamping down on freedom of speech. In fact, the media repression is completely failing as we all manage to get around every blocking mechanism thrown at us,” she said.
Are you a regular listener to any of the above stations? If broadcasts to your area are being jammed please write to The Zimbabwean and let us know the station that you listen to and the frequency on which they are being jammed. Letters should be addressed to: The Zimbabwean, c/o P O Box 6560, Harare, and emails to: [email protected]
Meanwhile British newspaper reports say internet companies including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been branded ‘morally unacceptable’ by a powerful committee of MPs for collaborating with Chinese state censorship of the web.
In a wide-ranging report on east Asia, published at the weekend, the MPs said human rights groups had evidence that China was already exporting the relevant repressive technology to governments including that of Zimbabwe.

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