Listener's Guide

Shortwave Radio Gets You News As It Happens

Nation shall speak peace unto nation.

So it once said in the entrance hall to Bush House. Fair enough, but as you tune around the shortwave bands you will hear different cultures, sometimes radically different ideologies all stating their case very firmly and very loudly.

They all think that they are right and that we should agree and support them, just as we think we are right. And never the twain shall agree.

The only way to deal with the wealth of propaganda available to you is to adopt the attitude of the pan-handler sitting on the bank of the river panning for gold.

Nobody can tell him how much silt he will have to sift through, nobody can say how long he will have to be there or if he will come away with new-found riches, or what wealth he may have missed in the passing current.

All he can do is place a value on what little he finds. Sift through the propaganda, set what you hear against you own values and you still may not like it.

By tuning in to the politically sensitive areas of the world, you can get the news first hand, biased by that country's ideology. Tune into the other side's radio and you will hear another view biased by a different ideology.

Strike a balance and you have a working base for your own newsgathering - coloured only by your values which are, of course, correct.

Remove the bias if you can and you have hit upon the work of radio monitoring stations like BBC Caversham and GCHQ.

All the main stations listed in the Guide carry news on the hour. Take time out to listen, the order of the main stories, the wording of the copy, the placing of stresses by the newsreader and you will beat any newspaper or TV bulletin for speed of reporting.

And you will know how to feel about it long before the local networks have added their own brand of sensationalism to sell the advertising time in the middle break.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without political interference and to seek, receive and impart ideas through any media regardless of frontiers

Taken a different way, this statement gives carte blanche to all kinds of radio piracy. Every major country will have some form of broadcasting system, financed by the State, by licence or subscription fee.

By virtue of this it may strive to be impartial, but to some it will always be the Voice of the Establishment and therefore something to rebel against. If the State Radio has a political stance, people will be quite prepared to go against the law to air the opposing view.

Prosecution is only an occupational hazard. To find a pirate station, listen for countries where the latest news stories are breaking. Somebody there will have always had other ideas.

Radio is always the media for breaking news but by the time it makes it to print, career journalists and house style will have shifted the agenda.