If you keep up with international news, you have probably heard about the bloody and violent protests going on in Tibet. You may even have heard about how the Chinese government has instituted a crackdown on all broadcast media in the area. What might have slipped by you is the fact that Voice of American (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) are increasing their broadcasts into the area in response. Yahoo News has a nice article on it:
“The violent crackdown by Chinese authorities in Tibet compels us to increase our broadcasts,” said James Glassman, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
The board is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported, non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.
RFA currently transmits 8 hours of content to Tibet each day while VOA transmits four. According to the board, each will be adding on two additional hours of new programming per day, along with a doubling of VOA Tibetan language television.
“Our audience clearly will benefit from these trustworthy sources of news and information, which differ sharply from Chinese government sanctioned broadcasts, ” Glassman said.
RFA’s Tibetan service “is working around the clock to bring authoritative, breaking news to the Tibetan people,” RFA President Libby Liu said.
“These additional hours will greatly enhance our capacity to deliver this news, including live updates, to people on the ground,” she said.
Many people forget that the idea “information wants to be free” did not originate with the Internet. For many decades, radio (public, commercial, and pirate) has been used to reach into areas where reporting and information have been stifled. The ease with which a radio signal can be received makes it incredibly useful, especially in areas without a significant technology infrastructure.