Photo: Suleiman Abugush
Archive photo
Photo: Suleiman Abugush

Israel detains 'peace radio' staff over license

RAM-FM Station broadcasts in English in favor of peace between Israelis, Palestinians. Station to continue broadcasting from headquarters in Ramallah

RAM-FM, an English-language radio station broadcasting from a Jerusalem studio, was shut down by police on Monday for transmitting without a proper permit. The West Bank station broadcasts Western music in an attempt to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together.


The station's headquarters are located 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.


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. It is one of the numerous pirate radio stations broadcasting throughout Israel, which are often blamed for dangerous disruptions in airport air traffic communications and interference in regular radio broadcasts.


פרסום ראשון: 04.07.08, 20:37
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