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Isn’t it time for an International Shortwave Coalition?

It may be understandable that some people are discouraged by the developments here at Radio Canada International, by the decision of the BBC World Service to cut shortwave broadcasts to North America and parts of the Pacific Region, and by the
developments at Radio Austria International.

But we should not be.

The issue of shortwave broadcasting, and the issue of what is real international broadcasting has been brought to centre stage. We have to look into the eyes of these fearful questions, and shout our answers from the rooftops.

Shortwave is the cheapest most efficient means of getting information around the world. It cannot be controlled by gatekeepers. To block it takes lots of time and money.

As supporters of shortwave, we are not dinosaurs. We believe in using all the tools at our disposal. Bring on the satellite dishes, the Internet connections. We’ll take them all.

But let’s be frank. Right now, even if you have access to the Internet, it is still more comfortable to enjoy breakfast listening to your shortwave radio, than trying to listen to your computer.

And now we come to the second important element: international broadcasters.

We do something very special. We explain to citizens of other countries what our country is all about. We do it in a way no domestic program can do. That is the major difference, and our major force. And we all, international broadcasters and listeners, have to now make sure the policy deciders in our respective countries understand this.

So we return to the initial question: Is it not time that international broadcasters,
coalitions, committees, listeners, supporters, men and women who have thought these issues out, get together and demand that we maintain the international communication that is our right in this global village?

Please tell us what you think? What are your opinions? Is your International Service under attack? Have you found ways to get across the importance of real international broadcasts?

This is not the final word on shortwave and international broadcasting.

It is, hopefully the beginning, of a new renaissance.

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Some comments on shortwave as an exciting, dramatic, and vital medium.