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free103point9 Newsroom has moved to http://free103point9.wordpress.com/as of March 18, 2010 A blog for radio artists with transmission art news, open calls, microradio news, and discussion of issues about radio art, creative use of radio, and radio technologies. free103point9 announcements are also included here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Russians suspected of deliberately disrupting BBC Russian service FM transmissions

From Media Network weblog:
The Times reports that the Russians are suspected of involvement in the disruption of the BBC’s Russian Service FM broadcasts in Moscow and St Petersburg, at the height of coverage of the poisoning in London of former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko. The FM transmitter that carries the 4-hour daily broadcast in St Petersburg was off the air from 13 November to 1 December. During this period the poison story broke, Litvinenko died and, in a final statement, accused Mr Putin of his murder.

In Moscow the FM broadcasts went off air on 24 November, the day after Litvinenko’s death, and have not resumed since. Sarah Gibson, the head of the BBC Russian Service, told The Times that this was the first time that the FM transmissions had been stopped. She said that the Russians had blamed “technical difficulties” for the suspension. The service is still broadcast on shortwave and mediumwave, but the FM transmission is the most accessible in the Russian capital, where most of the one million Russian Service listeners live.

A member of the Russian Service said that the 40 Russian journalists working for the BBC in Moscow were fearful for their safety if the Litvinenko story continued to dominate the headlines.


Update from Kimandrewelliott.com:
"The service is still broadcast on short wave and [local] medium wave, although the FM transmission is the most accessible in the Russian capital, where most of the one million Russian Service listeners live. A member of the Russian Service said that staff suspected that the broadcasts were taken off air to stop Muscovites hearing allegations that Russian security services were linked to the Litvinenko killing. The staff member added that the 40 Russian journalists working for the BBC in Moscow were fearful for their safety if the Litvinenko story continued to dominate the headlines." Times Online, 9 December 2006

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