RFA in the News (May 2008)

2008-06-02

The Washington Times, May 28, 2008, Catastrophe in Burma; A Long, Difficult Road Lies Ahead, “The U.S. Navy's Typhoon Warning Center predicted the cyclone's winds would be over 100 mph days before it hit land. Three days before the storm struck, the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia started broadcasting warnings in Burmese that could be picked up on short-wave radio. That was the only real information available to the Burmese people.”

The Irish Times, May 22, 2008, Truth a Casualty as Burma Cracks Down On Cyclone Coverage, “…The news vacuum leaves an information- hungry population relying as usual on the old shortwave radio reliables - the Burmese foreign language services of the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and the Democratic Voice of Burma based in Norway.”

The Korea Times, May 21, 2008, N. Korea to Demolish Cooling Tower of Yongbyon Reactor, “The six-party talks, which had been stalled due to the North's nuclear declaration issue, are expected to restart early next month just before the tower is demolished. North Korea is considering a live broadcast of this through AP television news based in Pyongyang, according to Radio Free Asia.”

CNN International, May 16, 2008, International Correspondents show, Comparing Media Freedom in Covering Myanmar and China Disasters, “Nancy Shwe, Burmese Service Director, Radio Free Asia: As the cyclone crises in Burma unfolded, CNN looked to Radio Free Asia for insight into the situation. On May 16, 2008, RFA Burmese Service Director, Nancy Shwe, along with the director of the BBC Burmese service, was interviewed by CNN International for their “International Correspondents Show,” Nancy Shwe stated: ‘It is very difficult to get information from inside Burma. But as Radio Free Asia has been in existence more than 10 years already, we have been able to build up contacts through our friends, family members, and of course friends of friends. And some of them government employees. They are civilians, mind you, and are very dissatisfied with how things are going.’ ”

The Washington Times, May 16, 2008, State Nominee Defends VOA; Broadcaster 'tells the truth', “He specifically praised Radio Free Asia (RFA), another government broadcaster, for its reports on the recent upheaval in Tibet, which were picked up by many other news organizations. ‘As RFA and VOA increased their combined radio broadcasting to Tibet from 12 to 16 hours a day, and VOA doubled its satellite television coverage from 1 to 2 hours daily, the broadcasts became a de facto Tibetan language news agency for the world,’ he said.”

Associated Press, May 13, 2008, Bangkok, Thailand, The International Herald Tribune, The Dangers of Reporting Myanmar’s Cyclone in a Country Where Journalists are Not Welcome, “Irrawaddy magazine has five Burmese reporters covering the cyclone, three of whom lost their houses in the storm, Aung Zaw said. Their reports are picked up by U.S.-government funded radio stations Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, which relay them back to listeners in Myanmar.”

Patriot News, May 10, 2008, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Scholar Sees ‘Systematic Genocide,’ “The 43-year-old international scholar say at his computer, near the window

that overlooked Ann Street. The Myanmar native had recently been in Thailand preparing a research paper on disaster prediction and management. Here in the mid-state to study at Penn State Harrisburg, he regularly used his computer to tune to Radio

Free Asia.”

BBC Monitoring reported on a Yonhap story on May 5 th that “…A team of U.S. government officials arrived in North Korea to discuss the monitoring mechanism for the distribution of food aid from the outside world. The trip by three-member delegation, led by Michael Magan, President George W. Bush’s special assistant, comes as Washingon prepares to resume providing food to the famine-stricken nation, Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, citing unidentified sources in Beijing.”