Thursday, April 27, 2006

BBC Belarusian broadcasts - II

In response to my letter concerning the possibility of BBC Belarusian language broadcasts I've received the following reply:

Dear Mr McDuff,

Thank you for your email of 20 April to the Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander about Belarusian language broadcasts on Russian/Ukrainian language service from the BBC. Your letter was passed on to the relevant department dealing with Belarus. I have been asked to reply.

The BBC World Service broadcasts in Belarus in the Russian, Ukrainian and English languages via its shortwave transmitters. A key issue facing the World Service in Belarus is the practicality of reaching its audience. Shortwave transmission is not as audible in some regions as FM transmissions, which are broadcast locally and produce a strong signal. Ideally, the World Service would like to work with FM partners to deliver its product in Belarus, but the media market is tightly controlled and regulated. Given the current political situation, there is no possibility of the World Service or any other western broadcaster getting air time on an existing FM frequency within the country. Therefore, the World Service offering remains shortwave only in a market that is largely FM-dominated. We are aware of no jamming issues.

On several occasions in recent years, the World Service has examined the possibility of special programming for Belarus. The problem surrounding delivery of the product into the region remains the key stumbling block. The World Service is available on-line, but again, access in Belarus is difficult, as home internet usage is low. On-line facilities are mostly available in work places or in public internet cafes.

Yours sincerely,

Daniele Marzocchi

See also in this blog: BBC Belarusian Broadcasts

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