Soviets Stop Jamming Voice of America Broadcasts to Poland

From Times Wire Services

The Soviet Union has stopped jamming Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and British Broadcasting Corp. services to Poland, broadcast officials said Friday.

The jamming of the Polish language services of the two U.S. government-run stations, which began in 1981 when martial law was declared, stopped on Friday, according to a Voice of America official.

The Voice official and the BBC said the jamming has been traced to transmitters in the Soviet Union.

Also Friday, BBC monitoring engineers in Britain noticed that the first newscast to Poland at 5 a.m. local time went out loud and clear, said BBC spokesman Robert Wilson.


Through East Europe

The move, nearly a year after Moscow lifted jamming of the BBC’s Russian-language service, meant that the service could now be heard clearly throughout Communist Eastern Europe for the first time since 1981.

Polish officials were not available on the holiday to comment on the apparent end to the radio interference, which took the form of a high-pitched whistling sound or low buzzing static.

The Voice broadcasts six hours a day of Polish-language programs and the Munich-based Radio Free Europe broadcasts 19 hours.


The Voice of America is the U.S. government’s worldwide broadcast service while Radio Free Europe broadcasts to Communist East Europe.

There was no immediate comment from the White House or State Department on the move.

The BBC, which broadcasts 26 1/2 hours a week, said that during the past few years only the BBC’s shortwave broadcasts to Poland were jammed, not the medium wave. But a “significant number” of its estimated 8 million Polish listeners still had been affected, the service said.

Although censorship in Poland has eased considerably in recent years, several topics are still off-limits in the official media, including statements deemed directly anti-socialist or anti-Soviet.

State-controlled Polish Radio, in an apparent bid to show the government’s lack of concern about Western broadcasts, launched a weekly program in October called “The West Speaks.” The half-hour program carries without comment excerpts of Western broadcasts to Poland.