Shockingly, evidence gathered by the station’s monitors identifies Malaysia’s own public broadcasting station RTM (Radio Television Malaysia) as the likely culprit behind the attacks!
This weekend, the London based broadcast company WRN are understood to have sent a formal letter of complaint to the Sarawak national, Norhiyati Ismail, who is the Director General of RTM.
They are also notifying the UN body, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which regulates world broadcasters and the Asia Broadcasting Union, based in KL.
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A further complaint will be sent to the UK-based Commonwealth Broadcasters’ Association, because the jamming of legitimate broadcasts from a foreign country is illegal according to international protocols that Malaysia has signed up to.
The disgraceful action comes in the days running up to the UN’s World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd and at the time of the visit by President Obama, whose country champions the key values of freedom of expression and un-censored media.
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RTM’s own finger prints are on the crime!
The deliberate jamming of Radio Free Sarawak’s nightly show (sister media to this site) began two weeks ago, shortly after the station re-launched with an expanded new look show, which has attracted a huge positive response from listeners.
The station has been monitoring the jamming since its inception and noted the duration and timing of the attacks, which generally begin shortly after the programme starts and lasts the rest of the show.
When RFS changes frequency to avoid the jamming it has been noted that the jammers immediately follow it to the new frequency, betraying a deliberate and malign attempt to block out free media.
The blocking sound currently most used is a loud monotone, combined with wobble noises. However, RFS has evidence that when the jamming devices were originally being tested against the show the perpetrators made the mistake of using RTM’s own programme, the Iban language Wai FM, to experiment with disrupting the show.
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A technical expert on jamming has told Sarawak Report that this is a typical mistake. “The first few days of the jamming were far less consistent and not so loud” he explained:
“The engineers were clearly trying out the systems and they made the mistake of using the nearest sound to hand, which was RTM’s own Iban language show. That means they were most likely within the RTM building itself or at the very least working for RTM!”
Now that RTM have their system ‘perfected’ they are using a series of noises to block out RFS. However, we have recorded how for the first several days of initial jamming it was Wai FM that was being placed over our signals.
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To listen to the Wai FM show that was being broadcast over the Radio Free Sarawak waveband click here.
The jamming pattern makes clear that a dedicated transmitter has been allocated to the job and the most likely source is RTM’s Kajang based transmitters.
The producer of RFS said today that it was a stupid way to deal with competition:
“Our challenge to RTM is if you find more people want to listen to our show than yours, then find ways of making your output more relevant and interesting and enjoyable for listeners. People don’t want to listen to RTM because it is merely a propaganda tool for a self-promoting regime. So, instead of just cheating and trying to drown us out, improve your own product”
It is even more ironic that the Chief of RTM is herself from Sarawak and did media studies in Australia.
She should understand exactly how a free media is supposed to operate and she will also know that by jamming one tiny radio station, which broadcasts for just an hour and a half a day on local issues, the BN government are admitting that they find the show a threat.
Again, we ask if the government is so right about the issues covered in the show, why don’t they set about winning the arguments rather than jamming the station and preventing the editor from entering the country?
Don’t the ruling party realise it is a sign of weakness to ban legitimate opposition voices from being heard?
By increasingly engaging in this criminal behaviour to prevent counter-vews and to censor information, we contend that the government is destroying any democratic credentials it has left.
History of jamming RFS
This episode is just the latest in a series of jamming exercises against RFS and it is a sign that the state government and now federal government are extremely worried that the show is giving a voice to Sarawak rural folk, whose obedience at elections is crucial to BN keeping in power.
Previous attacks have normally concentrated on election times however. There was massive jamming during GE13 and Sarawak Report has received exclusive inside information that during the 2011 state election the Malaysian authorities used the secret services to hire a Belgian broadcasting broker to carry out the jamming in order to distance Malaysia from the action.
Now, it seems clear that the authorities have taken matters a step further by building what appears to be a dedicated jamming facility within the Malaysian broadcasting establishment.
This most likely involves an expensive transmitter being added to existing devices broadcasting to Sarawak from Kajang in West Malaysia.
By risking their reputation in such a way, the Malaysian establishment have betrayed a considerable lack of self-confidence and great fear of the uncensored truth.
Radio Free Sarawak will be taking steps to ensure their broadcasts can continue to be received, since the people of Sarawak have an absolute and basic right to listen to information and opinions other that what merely serves the interests of the ruling party and they also have the absolute basic right to be able to make their own voices heard without fear.
We ask President Obama to remind Prime Minister Najib Razak of these rights when he visits Malaysia this weekend.