Radio Free Sarawak says it’s being jammed
Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) says it is being jammed in connection with the upcoming Malaysian elections. RFS says it will continue to attempt to monitor the elections and bring information to the people of Sarawak, along with many other internet news providers who have been under continual attack over the past week .
RFS says it can confirm that the first jamming transmission happened yesterday with a test the day before, all on 15425kHz which is right next to the RFS frequency of 15420 kHz. It says its experts have traced the attack to a known agent in Belgium, who is an established broker of transmission times. He has admitted that he has been hired to broadcast at the same time and on the same frequency as RFS, which is on the air at 1000-1200 UTC.
RFS says: “This activity is against all international broadcasting agreements and a violation by a respectable operator. However, he has admitted that the contract is worth a considerable amount of money to him, as he has been hired until December, although it is clearly only the next two days before the elections that are important. The broker has been paid to broadcast his gospel music sounds across the Radio Free Sarawak signal range at double the normal broadcast strength at a full 200 kiloWatts, which will cost around US$200 an hour at commercial rates, a full $400 a day. This, times the 270 remaining days of the year, makes the contract worth a minimum of US $108,000 - the cost of what it has taken to get Radio Free Sarawak off the air for the remaining two days of the election.
RFS continues: “Our information is that the broker, who has also brokered a jamming operation against an anti-Gaddafi station in the past, made its first transmission through Russia, Vladivostok yesterday, with a weaker signal also going through the Ukraine on exactly the same frequency as RFS, 15420kHz. The broker admitted that he had asked the Russians to go directly onto the RFS signal but that, mindful of international protocols, they had refused. After pressure, the Russians agreed to broadcast on the overly close 15420kHz [sic - presumably they mean 15425] at a very powerful signal instead, which would have a similar blocking effect.”
RFS says it is currently taking measures to vigorously protest at the illegal action and will also be taking measures to rebroadcast its show to audiences in Sarawak.
(Source: Radio Free Sarawak)
Andy Sennitt comments: A few days ago, the Malaysian government admitted that it could not jam RFS because that would contravene the Human Rights Convention of Geneva. By arranging for a private broker in another country to generate some ‘deliberate harmful interference’ - the ‘polite’ term for jamming - it presumably thinks that it can get around the rules. What strikes me as odd is that the broker in Belgium has apparently spoken openly about the contract. It will be interesting to see what happens after the election. BTW I am not allowing comments on this item, as some readers of this Weblog know the identity of the broker in question. It’s regrettable that some people put the accumulation of personal wealth ahead of supporting press freedom.