The BBC has revived an old-fashioned radio service to help Ukraine as TV and the internet come under attack from Russia
The BBC has turned to an increasingly outdated form of broadcasting to help Ukrainians keep up with the news as Russia bombs TV Towers and Internet Service Attacks.
The company said on Wednesday that the two new shortwave radio frequencies – 5735 kHz and 5875 kHz – will broadcast the world service’s news in English for four hours a day. These frequencies can be received clearly in Kyiv and parts of Russia, the BBC said.
Shortwave transmissions of the World Service, an international news service broadcast in English and 40 other languages, have been steadily reduced since 2001 amid the growth of online news and digital radio. The BBC stopped broadcasting in Europe on shortwave in 2008.
Shortwave radio frequencies – which can be heard through inexpensive portable receivers and are infamous for their crackling reception – have historically been used during international conflicts, and it was the primary medium used by warring nations to talk to the populations of their enemies during the world war. II.
On Tuesday, two Russian missiles hit the television tower in Kiev. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov noted the Kremlin was about to cut off much of Ukraine from internet and communications. “His goal is to break the resistance of the people and the army,” he tweeted.
The BBC also said millions of people in Russia turn to the broadcaster for independent information about the country’s invasion of Ukraine as an alternative to state-sponsored programming.
The BBC’s Russian-language news site’s weekly audience more than tripled after the invasion compared to its weekly average at the start of the year, it said, hitting a record 10.7. million people last week against a usual average of 3.1 million.
Visits to English-language site bbc.com in Russia rose 252% to 423,000 in the last week alone, the company said.
Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC, said: “It is often said that the truth is the first casualty of war.
“In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda are rampant, there is a clear need for factual, independent information that people can trust – and in a significant development, millions more Russians are turning to the BBC.”
The BBC, which faces questions over its future as the government plans to end the license fee, has been hailed for reviving shortwave in Europe during the dispute.