PRESS RELEASE – 1226 utc 15/04/2011
RADIO FREE SARAWAK IS BEING JAMMED
Radio Free Sarawak, which has been broadcasting independent Radio to the interior of Sarawak and providing the only platform in this election for the opposition and voices critical of BN is now being subjected to jamming.
We can confirm that the first jamming transmission happened yesterday with a test the day before, all on 15425kHz which is right up next to our station’s 15420 kHz and against all international protocols.
Our experts have now traced the attack to a known agent in Belgium, who is an established broker of transmission times. He has admitted that he has been hired to broadcast at the same time and in the same frequency as our station, which is at 1000-1200 UTC. This activity is against all international broadcasting agreements and a violation by a respectable operator. However, he has admitted that the contract is worth a considerable amount of money to him, as he has been hired until December, although it is clearly only the next two days before the elections that are important.
The broker has been paid to broadcast his gospel music sounds across the Radio Free Sarawak signal range at double the normal broadcast strength at a full 200 kilowatts, which will cost around US$200 an hour at commercial rates, a full $400 a day. This times the 270 remaining days of the year makes the contract worth a minimum of US $108,000 – the cost of what it has taken to get Radio Free Sarawak off the air for the remaining two days of the election.
Our information is that the broker, who has also brokered a jamming operation against an anti-Gaddafi station in the past, made its first transmission through Russia, Vladivostok yesterday, with a weaker signal also going through the Ukraine on exactly the same frequency as RFS, 15420kHz. The broker admitted that he had asked the Russians to go directly onto the RFS signal, but that, mindful of international protocols they had refused. After pressure, the Russians agreed to broadcast on the overly close 15420kHz at a very powerful signal instead, which would have a similar blocking effect. Because Vladivostok is nearer to Sarawak than Ukraine, this signal should successfully disrupt Radio Free Sarawak’s Friday broadcast the day before the election.
RFS is currently taking measures to vigorously protest at the illegal action and will also be taking measures to rebroadcast its show to audiences in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, further information is coming to us that all mobile phone networks are today also being disrupted in Sarawak. It has proved impossible to reach people in the distant and isolated State who are facing a barrage of pressure and intimidation in the run up to the election, led by the Malaysian Prime Minister himself, who has flown over to take charge of the campaing from the deeply unpopular and beleaguered Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Huge crowds have gathered for the opposition in towns across Sarawak, however in the country side milions is now being distributed to voters by desperate BN workers who have been drawing great sacks of cash from the bank. Communities who have been deprived of their lands in recent years for plantation projects have been told they will be handed it all back, but only if they vote BN.
If the last election of 2006 is anything to go by, many areas of Sarawak can also expect an electricity black out in the final hours of polling tomorrow as the ballot boxes are collected and counted and BN moves to strong arm a ‘victory’ in the election. The BN coalition has remained in power for 50 uninterrupted years by such means and they clearly intend to continue.
Radio Free Sarawak, Sarawak Report and the many other internet news providers who have been under continual attack over the past week will continue to attempt to monitor the elections and bring information to the people of Sarawak.