Why BBC Revived Shortwave Radio Dispatches in Ukraine

As Russia seeks to block the flow of information into Ukraine by attacking its communications infrastructure, the British news outlet BBC is reverting to a broadcasting tactic that became popular during World War II: Shortwave Radio.

The BBC said this week that it would use radio frequencies that could travel long distances and be accessible on portable radio, broadcasting its world service news in English for four hours in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and parts of Russia.

The BBC’s director-general Tim Davy said in a statement: “It is often said that the truth is the first casualties of the war.” “In a conflict where misinformation and propaganda are prevalent, there is a clear need for factual and independent news that people can trust.”

On Tuesday, Russian weapons struck the main radio and television tower in Kiev. Oleksiy Reznikov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Wrote on Twitter That Russia’s goal was to “break the resistance of the Ukrainian people and the army”, “break the connection” and “spread a large number of fake messages that the Ukrainian nation has agreed to relinquish its leadership.”

Shortwave radio has been a go-to vehicle for decades to reach listeners in conflict zones, used to send troops to the Persian Gulf War, to send spies code to spies in North Korea, and to point through iron curtains during the Cold War. But more modern forms of radio, along with the Internet, eventually pushed the shortwave in favor; The BBC retired its shortwave transmission in Europe 14 years ago.

In the last week of February, viewership of the BBC’s Ukrainian-language site more than doubled from a year earlier to 3.9 million visitors, the broadcaster said on Wednesday. The BBC also provides news coverage in the country through its website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Viber and Espresso TV.

The broadcaster said millions of Russians had also turned to the BBC. The BBC’s Russian-language news website had a record 10.7 million viewers last week, more than three times its weekly average so far in 2022, the company said. Visitors to the BBC’s English-language website from inside Russia rose 252 percent to 423,000.

Within the country, the BBC also posts updates on Telegram, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Other Western news outlets have also seen a surge in viewership. Visits to the Guardian’s digital platform from Russian and Ukrainian audiences have increased 180 percent since January.

Complaints from Russian officials have surfaced because of the BBC’s coverage. Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a briefing broadcast by Kremlin-backed Russian media outlet RT that Russia was a victim of “unprecedented information terrorism” aimed at “defaming Russian actions” and “creating insanity.” “Around Ukrainian events.”

BBC “Russia plays a crucial role in undermining stability and security.” Zakharova said without giving evidence.

Early Friday, the BBC’s Russian service Reported problems Accessing his site in Russia.

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