In the event that the magnitude 7.8 earthquake shortwave hit the shores of Solomon Islands. Triggering a tsunami alert across the Pacific and many people. In the small country could be contacting radio stations on shortwave for further information. The warning about tsunamis has since been cancel, however assessments of the damage caused by the earthquake aren’t final. Sadly, this crucial communications service is at risk in this under-resourced region.
For nearly an entire century, Australia has provided such shortwave service. As well as crucial emergency information to Asia as well as the Pacific. But cuts in funding from the government caused Asian services cut off in January of 2015. Now, it appears that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has made the decision to end remaining services. Available to people living in remote areas in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia by halting. Shortwave radio service to the Pacific beginning at the end of January , 2017.
Shortwave Radio Transmissions
The ABC has been arguing that shortwave radio transmissions. Which could be carry over thousands of kilometers and then be received by transmitters. That are low-cost and powered by solar or batteries power, are not up to date. Michael Mason, ABC’s Director of Radio, said:
Shortwave technology has provided good service to viewers over the years however. It’s now 100 years old and has an extremely small audience. The ABC is seeking to make improvements and is instead serving this audience using the latest technology.
The issue is obviously that in the remote areas in the Pacific especially in Melanesian. Nations like Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. There is no access to FM radio or internet access, and even in the cases. Where internet is accessible the cost is high.
Technology advancements, like satellites that orbit low which offer high-speed internet access across the globe, have shown potential. However, for now the technology used to receive signals is costly and the receivers. Aren’t readily available in remote areas and in rural areas.
How Can Shortwave Bypass Censors?
The ABC has announced that they will be replacing international shortwave radios with digital services , such as streaming on the web and FM transmitters in the country as well as in addition to an Australia Plus expats app and applications and partner websites like TuneIn radio and VTurner.
The program did not mention of new technology for shortwave like Digital Radio Mondiale, which is use in Radio New Zealand, or using shortwave to enable digital data transmission that isn’t censor or jammed.
The transition from FM transmissions to shortwave as well as mobile and digital services has been speed up despite the possibility that radio frequencies could easily be shut down by angry political leaders, such as was the case at the time of Fiji in 2009 at the instructions of the then-self-appoint Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
Pride For The Nation
It was an issue of pride for the nation in the time of the ABC to provide independent information to Fijians through shortwave. The then the director of the company, Mark Scott, highlighting a text message that was sent from Fiji for the ABC that state We try to hear you online but we’re having problems. Please continue to broadcast. We have everything you’ve got.
The shortwave channel has served a crucial role in providing information to people in the middle of civil conflict like the case of East Timor in the lead to independence.
In Burma there was a group of internal officials who demanded shortwave service. The year 2009 was the first time Burmese democratic head Aung San Suu Kyi request Australia to offer shortwave radio broadcasts. At the time , the ABC’s director for international, Murray Green, said the decision was in line with the ABC’s commitment to serve the people of Asia as well as the Pacific that are not able to enjoy freedom of speech. Prior to the announcement being made, the cost of shortwave radios raise by the Burma Sittwe market.
Protecting People From Danger Shortwave
It’s more than just a way of communicating information to countries with censorship. Shortwave is also an accurate sources of data, especially in the event of natural catastrophes.
Shortwave is a vital method of warning tsunamis to island nations that are outlying. It was a reliable communication tool following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and was crucial in the response to Cyclone Pam which destroyed Vanuatu.
Shortwave radio transmissions travel over seas and mountains, and are more reliable and aren’t prone to falling over and twist during storms as do the FM towers. They are operate by the Pacific Freedom Forum, a regional monitoring organization for media freedom and ethics and advocacy NGO stated in an announcement.
It’s evident that there was no thought given to the connection with disaster-relate communications or FM or the reality that FM not reliable during bad weather, and only accessible in urban zones.
Shortwave is consider to essential to keep communities secure. According to what an ABC reporter wrote in their facebook page and also as technology reporter Peter Marks mentioned on air following Cyclone Pam.
We were prepare for the most awful. Death, injury, hunger. However, when we arrive at the village, we greet by the Dillons Bay village chief said they were aware that the storm was on the way and they sought refuge in two sturdy buildings that were in the village. Many houses were destroy however there was no accident. I ask him what he had learned about the cyclone was coming. He responded, ABC Radio.