BBC revives WWII shortwave broadcasts as Russia blocks news of invasion of Ukraine

The BBC has resorted to broadcasting news bulletins via shortwave radio in Russia after the country blocked access to BBC websites. the guard reports. The BBC announced it would bring World War II broadcast technology back to the region just hours before the sites were banned. News of the ban was also reported by the Russian state news agency RIA.

Shortwave radio uses frequencies that carry long distances and are accessible on portable devices. The BBC says its shortwave broadcasts will be available on frequencies of 15735 kHz from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 5875 kHz from midnight to 2 a.m. Ukrainian time. The news will be read in English, which the BBC says will be available in both Kiev and “parts of Russia”.

Shortwave radio has a long history of wartime broadcasting. the guard reports that its use peaked during the Cold War, but that it was also used to broadcast propaganda during World War II. The BBC World Service stopped using the technology in Europe in 2008 after 76 years.

Russian state news agency RIA reported that in addition to blocking BBC News, Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has also restricted access to US government-funded Radio Liberty, US state radio station Voice of America, Meduza (a Russian and English-language news site based in Latvia). , and the German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The BBC’s Russian Twitter account also advises that Russians download their iOS and Android apps as a temporary solution to access the online coverage. In 2019, the company also launched a Tor Onion domain, which is designed to provide a more secure, higher-performing and censorship-resistant way to access its website through Tor browsers compared to a typical .com or .co. .uk URL. The BBC’s current onion domain is: https://www.bbcnewsd73hkzno2ini43t4gblxvycyac5aw4gnv7t2rccijh7745uqd.onion.

The BBC previously reported that the Russian-speaking audience had seen a massive increase since the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Direct traffic to Russian language coverage was more than three times normal last week (10.7 million visits versus an average of 3.1 million), while traffic to English-language content in Russia grew 252 percent last week. The visit to the Ukrainian language coverage has more than doubled.

“In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda are rife, there is a clear need for factual and independent news that people can trust,” said BBC Director General Tim Davie. “We will continue to give the Russian people access to the truth in any way we can.”

While the BBC’s reach within Russia is limited, the Russian state-backed media organizations RT and Sputnik are being attacked outside the country by both tech platforms and regulators.

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