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Monday, April 7, 2008

The Peace Channel That Was But Is No More

I just found the below article, that offices of RAM-FM have been raided in Jerusalem. Their channel is still broadcasting though from their Ramallah station which was able to obtain a broadcasting license from the PA. Check the post I did HERE (3/17/2008), and an article linked there from February 2007 which in part reads:

"There's not much on the radio that's independent in the Middle East," said news director Andrew Bolton of the $2-million project. "Most are broadcast in Arabic or Hebrew and they are definitely taking sides. We are not taking sides."

The English-language station, 93.6 RAM FM, is based on a similar South African station (702 Talk Radio) that even Nelson Mandela hailed as an important forum during the country's transition from apartheid to democracy.

"This was where the action was. This was where the politicians met and discussed," said South African broadcaster John Berks.

The radio content will be mostly pop music until people become aware of the station. Then the format will change to talk radio with news bulletins and call-in shows.

Palestinian reporters for the station will work out of a Ramallah, West Bank studio while Israeli anchors will sign on from West Jerusalem starting next week.

Ironically, when I logged on HERE the song "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley was playing.

Said - said - said: I remember when-a we used to sit
In the government yard in trenchtown.
And then georgie would make the fire lights,
As it was logwood burnin through the nights.
Then we would cook cornmeal porridge,
Of which Ill share with you;
My feet is my only carriage,
So Ive got to push on through.
But while Im gone, I mean:
Everythings gonna be all right!
Everythings gonna be all right!
Everythings gonna be all right!
Everythings gonna be all right!
I said, everythings gonna be all right-a!
Everythings gonna be all right!
Everythings gonna be all right, now!
Everythings gonna be all right!

I just called and got someone from the Jerusalem office, he wouldn't tell me how I reached him He told me they have been ordered to make no comments but to call the Ramallah office news desk. But the number on the website doesn't work!

My heart goes out to those trying to do this, KEEP STRONG and my prayers are with you!!

World News

Israeli police shut Jerusalem studio, transmitter of West Bank English radio station

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© AP
2008-04-07 18:02:49 -

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli police on Monday closed the Jerusalem studio and transmitter of an English-language West Bank radio station that plays Western music and tries to bring Israelis and Palestinians together through its broadcasts.

The station, RAM-FM, is headquartered in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where it broadcasts on 93.6 FM. It set up an office in Jerusalem and a local transmitter on another frequency to overcome airwave interference in the city.

On Monday, Israeli police shut down the transmitter and closed the studio, taking away staff for questioning and hauling away equipment.

«We instructed the police to close the station in Jerusalem because they were broadcasting without a permit,» said Yehiel Shalvi, a spokesman for the Israeli Communications Ministry.
«They interfere with airwaves and endanger airport signals.

After the raid, the station remained on the air from the West Bank as usual.
RAM-FM is owned by Jewish businessman Issy Kirsh in South Africa and has been on the air for a year.

Modeled after a South African station that provided a venue for reconciliation after apartheid, RAM-FM says it wants to create a safe place for Israelis and Palestinians to talk.

The station attracts a diverse audience of tens of thousands, from Israeli soldiers and Palestinian students to West Bank villagers, English speaking immigrants, migrant workers and foreign diplomats.

There are numerous pirate radio stations broadcasting throughout Israel. They are often blamed for dangerous disruptions in airport air traffic communications and interference in regular radio broadcasts.

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