Radio for Peace, Democracy and Human Rights
A documentation by Dr Hansjoerg Biener

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© PD Dr Hansjoerg Biener
created 0107, updated 0606
Comments and contributions are welcome. Material of this page may be re-printed but a complimentary copy of the publication is expected.
Documentation Radio for Peace 
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Peace Education Standing Commission c/o Prof. (em.) Dr. Johannes Lähnemann, Lehrstuhl Evangelische Religionspädagogik der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Regensburger Str. 160
DE-90478 Nürnberg

"We welcome your initiative very much." 
Ludo Maes, Belgium, Transmitter Documentation Project, 11 July 2001
"I was very interested to see your new Web site, as for the past several years we have hosted a dossier called 'Counteracting Hate Radio' on the Radio Netherlands Web site. ... I am wondering if there is some way in which we can work together for our mutual benefit. I will be happy to add a link to your site if you would do the same to ours."
Andy Sennitt, Radio Netherlands, 16 July 2001
"Viele Grüße aus London. Gratuliere sehr zum Start der Peace Radio Website." 
Thomas Voelkner, UK, World Radio Network, 16 July 2001 
"Endlich habe ich es mal geschafft, von meiner Clandestine Radio Watch 
Seite einen Grafik-Link zu Deiner Seite anzulegen, das wollte ich schon immer mal machen, da Deine Seite ja doch ueber das genaue Gegenteil meiner Seite berichtet. Waere schon schoen, wenn Du mehr zu berichten haettest als ich. Ist aber nicht so."
Martin Schoech, Clandestine Radio Watch, Germany/USA, 13 September 2001
"We highly recommend readers visit Hansjoerg Biener's Peace Radio site as well as RNMN's Hate Radio Dossier.“ 
Martin Schoech, Clandestine Radio Watch 31 January 2004 in DX-Listening Digest
"Freedom of information is... the touchstone of all the
freedoms" (UN Freedom of Information Conference, 1948) 

Anyone reading these lines, is obviously in a privileged position of having access to the internet and a wealth of information, even to tuning in to a large number of domestic and foreign stations. Nonetheless, internet broadcasts are limited by the number of channels a broadcaster can afford to put out. This number rarely exceeds 5,000. On the other hand listenership on traditional radio is only limited by the number of radio sets running at any given time. 
In countries where much of the population is illiterate and poor the power of radio is particularly obvious. Radio broadcasting is the main medium for mass information and education but can also be used for misinformation and propaganda. In civil war and crisis situations, survival will depend as much on getting reliable information as it does on getting food, water and medicine. The need for information makes civilians vulnerable for misinformation. But: Communication facilities and links are almost always the first targets of assault. In any coup control of the national radio centre is of prime importance to proclaim victory, and regional rebels seize regional stations to proclaim that they are a force to be reckoned with. Especially in countries like Liberia, Somalia and Congo (Kinshasa) where state order has collapsed faction leaders and warlords have used their own radio stations for more than information or propaganda. 

Hate vs. peace radio
Sometimes one might wonder why people enjoying a life without a daily struggle for life seem to be interested in the reporting about conflicts and catastrophes rather than on societal improvement and scientific and cultural achievements. One might remember that content analysis as a scientific method started with a special interest in the techniques of radio propaganda exhibited both in the US and in Europe since the 1930s. Even peace researchers tend to focus more on the factors of conflict and conflict resolution rather than on the factors that keep peaceful relations running. Similarly, hate radio received more attention in the media than peace radio efforts. Some of the early propaganda also had religious motivations, and still today some religious broadcasts leave the terrain of competing convictions and propagate hatred. 
In hate radio those responsible for the contents use media power not only to present one-sided views or to deceive the public, but to deny others the right of living or at least living where »I« live. The »reasons« cited may be ethnic origin, religion, political conviction, sexual orientation or whatever.
On the other hand, in several regions hate radio faced the opposition of radio stations for peace, democracy and human rights. Their efforts are routinely documented on the Peace Radio Website. 

Current articles on the Peace Radio Website 
Information is regularly checked and updated drawing on individual research and news provided by international readers and listeners. The Peace Radio Website currently features information on the efforts of the following radio projects:

Over the last decade, at least eighteen countries in Africa have been consumed by war,  usually internal. At present there are several active conflicts in Africa-they are Cote d'Ivoire, the Darfur region of Sudan, Northern Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Africa’s broadcasting landscape in the last 10-15 years has seen a dramatic growth in diversification, with many private and community radio and television stations receiving licences to go on the air. To help ensure that Africa’s airwaves remain accessible to all, Article 19, an international human rights organisation which defends and promotes freedom of expression and freedom of information all over the world, has designed a training manual aimed at raising awareness among governments and regulatory officials of the importance of broadcast regulation. It explains how and why broadcasting should be regulated, why licensing is necessary, and the importance of public service broadcasting. It also details the role of a broadcasting regulatory authority and outlines different approaches to regulation.
The manual includes references to regional and international broadcasting standards, such as the African Charter on Broadcasting and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression approved by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. It is designed to be used as a guide for trainers who teach courses for broadcasting regulators. It can also be used as a self-directed learning tool by government officials. 


Asia Europe Oceania

See full article as part of our 2001-2002 PESC-Report

  • The Power of the Media
  • Radio Research
  • Hate vs. Peace Radio
  • PESC Promoting the Awareness of Peace Radio in the Context of National and International Radio 
  • Current articles on the Peace Radio Web Site
  • Freedom of Information as a Factor of Peace
  • Subversive Broadcasting still very much ahead
  • Conclusion
International short wave broadcasting in general
and clandestine broadcasting in particular
There are approximately 1200 short wave transmitters worldwide.The five major international broadcasters in terms of daily progamme hours are China Radio International, BBC World Service, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and Voice of Russia. In terms of listeners, Western stations lead in the audience statistics: BBC World Service, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle.
The total estimated number of households worldwide with at least one short wave set in working order is 600 Mio. In this category, Asia leads with a large majority, followed by Europe, Sub Saharan Africa, and the former Soviet Union, and indeed most daily transmission hours are directed to Asia and Europe, with Africa third and the Middle East fourth. This will gradually change. While shortwave radio ownership is on the decline worldwide because of more local choices, throughout sub-Saharan Africa radio remains the most widely accessible and heavily used medium. It is very much a mass medium and is used most often for news, music and religious programmes. 

2004 Clandestine Activity Survey
During the year 2004 the activity of political clandestine stations broadcasting on shortwave has decreased by 28.5 % to 1229 Weekly Broadcasting Hours (WBHs). This is the lowest level of activity since 1999 and the second lowest ever since this survey has first been compiled in 1986.
Activity by clandestine stations on the Asian continent has decreased by 35 % or 495 WBHs to now 920 WBHs with the five most active target 
areas (countries) all in a declining trend. Clandestine activity to target areas on the American, African and Oceanian continents has remained more or less unchanged from last year at 166, 127 and 16 WBHs respectively. 
The three most active target areas worldwide remain exactly in the same ranking as one year ago: Iraq with 332  WBHs (-416 when compared with one year ago), North Korea with 168 (-49) WBHs and Afghanistan with 165 (-24) WBHs.
Despite the declining trend in overall figures, it should also be noted that the number of different target areas active worldwide has increased by three to 24. So, the trend towards more diverse, but also mostly low-budget operations, is apparently still intact, and has been only temporarily overshadowed by operations on the Afghanistan/Iraq scenes.
(Mathias Kropf 19 December 2004)

2005 Clandestine Activity Survey
In 2005 the activity of political clandestine stations broadcasting on shortwave has decreased by almost 3 % to 1195 WBHs (Weekly Broadcasting Hours). This is the lowest level of activity since 1999. The activity of clandestine stations with target areas on the Asian continent has decreased by almost 9 % to 841 WBHs. Activity on the African continent, however, has increased by 51 % to now 192 WBHs. Very little has changed on the American continent where activity is now at 162 WBHs. 
The three most active target areas worldwide are Iraq with 225 WBHs (-107 when compared with one year ago), Afghanistan with 190 WBHs (+25) and North Korea with 168 WBHs (unchanged). The number of different target areas active worldwide has increased by one to 25. It should be noted that all four new (or reactivated) target areas are on the African continent (Senegal, Somalia, Gambia and Cameroon). On the other hand, Lebanon, Colombia and Papua New Guinea are no longer thought to be active. (Mathias Kropf 23 December 2005)

Worldwide index of press freedom 2004
In late October 2004 Reporters Without Borders announces its third annual worldwide index of press freedom. It was compiled by asking partner organisations (14 freedom of expression organisations in five continents), its 130 correspondents around the world, as well as journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists, to answer 52 questions to indicate the state of press freedom in 167 countries. Others were not included for lack of information but the list has steadily grown in the past three years. It is based solely on events between 1 September 2003 and 1 September 2004. 
Press freedom is threatened most in East Asia (with North Korea at the bottom of the entire list at 167th place, followed by Burma 165th, China 162nd, Vietnam 161st and Laos 153rd) and the Middle East (Saudi Arabia 159th, Iran 158th, Syria 155th, Iraq 148th). In these countries, an independent media either does not exist or journalists are persecuted and censored on a daily basis. Freedom of information and the safety of journalists are not guaranteed there. Continuing war has made Iraq the most deadly place on earth for journalists in recent years, with 44 killed there since fighting began in March 2003.
Evaluation by region: Africa Americas Asia Europe and former USSR Middle East

excel-file of the rankings 2002-2004 prepared by Hansjoerg Biener

Jounalists Mark 2004 as Deadliest Year for Reporters in a Decade

Journalists and press freedom advocates marked the 15th annual World
Press Freedom Day 2005 by paying tribute to colleagues killed on the job. This year's observance was an especially somber one. The Paris-based organization, Reporters Without Borders, designated 2004 as a "year of mourning." In its annual report on press freedom, the group said 53 journalists were killed on the job during the past year - the most in a decade. The deadliest spot for journalists was Iraq: In 2004 19 reporters and 12 of their colleagues were killed. 
But the Committee to Protect Journalists says that of the 190 journalists killed across the world since 2000, only a handful died when caught in
crossfire or while on a dangerous assignment. The vast majority of 121
journalists were murdered in retaliation for their reporting. In most cases, the media watchdogs say, the journalists are murdered with impunity, because governments fail to investigate crimes against the press.  Next to Iraq, the world's most dangerous place to be a journalist are the Philippines and Bangladesh.
107 Journalists were imprisoned in 2004. 27 of them are held in China - where authorities see a free press as threatening to stability. The press organizations say that attitude has been shared for years by the governments of North Korea and Burma and more recently of Nepal - where authorities cracked down on press freedoms after King Gyanendra took emergency powers. Spokesman Jean-Francois Juilliard says he expects the trend to continue, "because more and more journalists are targeted in lots of countries, only because they wrote some stories denouncing corruption or denouncing some practice from politicians, no we are not really optimistic." The report cited new threats to journalists' freedom in countries like the US, where a number of reporters have faced legal problems for refusing to disclose confidential sources.

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by PD Dr Hansjoerg Biener