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features : Exit DW, Enter CRI

written on 07 June 2011 by Victor Goonetilleke

CRI is on AIR on FM 102 MHz daily in Chinese and English. But also having daily languages courses Chinese > Sinhala and Chinese > Tamil. CCTV Chinese International Television Channel is competing with CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera and is 24h on AIR in Sri Lanka in UHF-Band.

This is part of expanding its international network, further details are available in the following link.

CRI billboard

Giant billboard at Borella roundabout
Colombo CRI establishing itself

“CRI starting this year 2011 is to expand its reach to international audiences. This includes satellite broadcasts, “taking over AM/FM stations in the West”, and expanding China’s use of short wave to the Americas, Europe, Africa and South East Asia. China will also be looking at taking over relay stations once used to broadcast to the PRC by the West “who have misinformed the people of China to create an unstable society”.

In the space of 10 short years CRI has overtaken the BBC, the Voice of Borella America, the entire West and Russia to be the worlds leading broadcaster, expanding to 1550 hours daily where Deutsche Welle is announcing a reduction of daily shortwave broadcast to an insignificant 55 hours from 1st July 2011.

Sri Lanka is not the exception, since this has happened already in other countries as well:
NEPAL: http://blogs.rnw.nl/medianetwork/cri-expands-its-fm-coverage-across-nepal
KENYA: http://www.gov.cn/misc/2006-02/28/content_212957.htm

In the backdrop of China’s expanding media coverage in the domestic Sri Lankan scene, it comes as a shock to see the German DEUTSCHE WELLE closing down all their operations, from their “state of the art” and strategically located Relay Station in Trincomalee.

Since DEUTSCHE WELLE, with approval of the German government, has decided to close down the transmissions from their Relay Station in Trincomalee, CRI might keep an eye on that well equipped german “Short- and Medium wave” broadcasting centre, in the near future. The irony would be a perfectly functioning relay station funded by the German taxpayers is being handed over on a platter to broadcast to Germany and counter German interests in the world. China appears to be well on its way to winning the subtle silent war of information.

Keeping in mind that the funding of DEUTSCHE WELLE (German tax payers) it seems absolutely astonishing how the German officials are not being aware of the consequences by shutting down a perfectly located Shortwave station.. The broadcasts from Trincomalee can cover a vast area from South-, Central- and North Africa, across entire Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, China and all of Southeast-Asia up to Australia. More then 50% of the world population is reachable from Trincomalee via Shortwave Services and still depend on Shortwave, since not even 25% of the above mentioned population has access to Internet, please refer to: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

The entire scenario of cost cuttings, reduced budgets, almost no more listeners, etc is part of an alibi for something much bigger behind the scene. Something is very much wrong somewhere.

The strategy of China is amazing! It started jamming all transmissions beamed to China until the VOA announced that it was ending its Chinese broadcasts as they are being jammed, bowing out to Chinese pressure. In the meantime China increased its broadcasting time, number of transmitters being used and even set up relay stations within China and hired airtime in every possible country. Meanwhile they also improved their programming to such amazing levels that at times it becomes hard to identify whether you are listening to the BBC, VOA, DW or CRI.

In addition without giving way to obvious noise jamming like for Chinese broadcasts they started operating on the same frequency or adjacent to western broadcasters with more powerful transmitters. The West appears to be struggling with their budgets while China sores high with their influence in the developing world and capturing the Western markets.

For CRI Shortwave is a powerful well established medium, even to reach the remotest outposts in the developing world where internet will take years to pen iterate, for CRI definitely Short Wave as a medium is not dead! If the Western world doesn’t revaluate its strategy of docile submission, China will teach the western world a very big lesson, soon as to how to manage international media and the world will soon lose its confidence in the West and look to China as the superpower that can be relied on..

Victor Goonetilleke / Colombo / Sri Lanka / victorg@slt.lk