31 Jan 2017

'Thousands' in Solomon Islands affected by ABC shortwave cut

8:00 am on 31 January 2017

Thousands of people in remote parts of Solomon Islands who tune in to the ABC's shortwave service will be poorer off from today according to a leading activist in the country.

Solomon Islands crowd Central Province 2015

Photo: RNZI Courtesy of SIG

The ABC ends its short-wave service to the region from 1pm Solomon Islands time and says it will focus on FM and online services.

Ruth Liloqula said people from Choiseul to Malaita and as far south east as Tikopia tuned in to the ABC because the signal was stronger than that of the country's public broadcaster SIBC.

Ms Liloqula who works with Transparency International says the ABC has been very valuable for the country and a good way to get her message across.

"We are very very mindful of the fact that the SIBC media here is owned by the government. I mean they don't ask the questions that they need to ask for obvious reasons. I mean we do get asked those tough questions by ABC and that gives us the opportunity to talk about the issues that affect this country."

Ms Liloqula said after the recent earthquake people in the bush in Choiseul only knew there was no tsunami by listening to the ABC.

Human rights activist Ruth Kissam, who works in Papua New Guinea, also said her anti-sorcery message had reached far-flung villages through the ABC and had made her job easier.

The ABC said shortwave radio was an increasingly unreliable technology that was prone to outages, expensive to maintain and not viable over the long term.

It said it plans to beef up its FM and online services.

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