Radios sold in North Korea are pre-tuned and sealed to prevent listeners hearing anything but official radio. Kim Jong-il's totalitarian regime keeps an iron grip on the media, and tries to block news from abroad. Several thousand people have been sent to re-education camps for listening to foreign language radio.That quote from Reporters Without Borders appeared last year in my post Radio and re-education. My header photo shows the BBC coat of arms with the motto Nation shall speak peace unto nation and the BBC World Service is a vital source of foreign language radio broadcasts for those suffering under totalitarian regimes. Yesterday it was announced that budget cuts mean the BBC World Service is to close five foreign language and one English service with the loss of around around 560 jobs. Below is the official BBC photograph taken at the end of the programme operations assistant training course in January 1972 before the participants started their first placement with World Service. I am second from right in the back row. At that time Leonid Brezhnev, Marcelo Caetano and Enver Hoxha were in power and the Russian, Portugese and Albanian services were among the foreign language services I worked on. It was a privilege to be, for a short time, part of the truly multicultural community at Bush House that so successfully used words rather than weapons in the fight against despotism. What a pity our political leaders now value weapons more than words. Radio Kaboul is here.
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