AMERICAN RADIO STATION 'RADIO SAWA' ILLEGALLY TAKES OVER BROADCAST
FREQUENCY OF PALESTINIAN RADIO STATION 'VOICE OF LOVE & PEACE' AND IGNORES
A PALESTINIAN COURT ORDER
Voice of Love and Peace ("Sowt al-Hub wa Salaam"
in Arabic) was a progressive radio station from its inception in Ramallah in
1995, offering young Palestinian men and women a vital training environment.
Some of the staff graduated to work for MBC, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. (Photo:
On September 11th, 2005, in a sudden move, The Palestinian Ministry of Information
closed the Voice for Love and Peace Radio Station and granted a broadcasting
license to Radio SAWA to broadcast on the frequency 94.2 FM, which has been
assigned to The Voice for Love and Peace Radio Station (VOLP) since 1996.
In accordance with the Oslo Agreement, the Palestinian Authority obtained
the right to use 8 FM frequencies: VOLP's 94.2 FM was one of them. The Telecommunications
Law has emphasized that these frequencies are a national asset and a national
wealth. In outright disregard, the Ministry of Information is licensing foreign
radio stations and granting these limited frequencies to those foreign radio
stations - thus denying the right of that national wealth to the Palestinian
radio stations. Among these radio stations are Radio SAWA (which belongs to
the American Government), the South Africa Radio Station, Vatican Radio, and
the Israeli Palestinian Peace Radio Station.
Now, the Ministry of Information is denying VOLP a renewal to its broadcasting
license. VOLP was one of the radio stations that carried the voice of Palestine
on its frequency since 1995 through out critical times including the periods
of the Israeli invasions which made VOLP targeted by the Israelis.
Scenes in Voice of Love and Peace's offices after Israel's
massive reinvasion of the West Bank in April 2002. Equipment was destroyed and
looted, and the office itself was badly damaged. (Photo: VOLP)
In April 2002 at the time of the Israeli invasion of Ramallah, VOLP was totally
destroyed by the Israeli army. It remained in shambles for more than a year.
The Palestinian Ministry of Information estimated the loss of VOLP, at the time,
to more than $275,000 USD in addition to the operational running cost that the
radio station faced through out the years of the Intifada (uprising), which
exceeded $300,000 USD. But it did nothing to compensate VOLP for these losses,
did not inquire as to why VOLP was not broadcasting nor did it inquire what
it could do to support this station and get it back on the air.
Mutaz Bseiso, founder and General Manager of VOLP, said that as a result of
the destruction caused by the 2002 Israeli invasion of 2002 of Ramallah and
in order to maintain and save the frequency of VOLP from illegal pirate stations,
VOLP agreed to sign a contract with the Radio Station SAWA and provide a rebroadcast
service for a limited time contract, until VOLP regained its financial ability
to go back on the air.
VOLP informed the Palestinian Ministry of Information about the provision of
this service to the American Radio SAWA. Many meetings were held between officials
from Radio SAWA and the Palestinian Ministry of Information with VOLP's participation.
As a result, the Palestinian Ministry of Information granted VOLP the green
light to continue to provide the rebroadcast service that was agreed upon. Throughout
the period of the contract, VOLP did not have any intention to give up the right
to Radio SAWA or any other radio station of its 94.2 Fm frequency, but only
provided the rebroadcast service for a limited time period.
The correspondence between VOLP and Radio SAWA proves that officials from Radio
SAWA in the USA informed VOLP in writing many times that Radio SAWA is about
to prepare their own radio station and would start broadcasting on a new frequency
licensed by the Palestinian Ministry of Information. These steps were made in
coordination with the American Consulate in Jerusalem. What VOLP did not know
at the time was that Radio SAWA's personnel representations were all false and
that the Radio station SAWA's personnel were in fact doing all they could to
unduly deprive VOLP of the frequency that it had been using since 1996 without
which they would be unable to continue with their broadcasts. These maneuvers,
for which there is documentary proof , include improper actions that are inconsistent
with the law. They also include the exertion on the Ministry of Information
of the Palestinian Authority of US Government pressure to deprive VOLP of its
frequency and bankrupt the company. The extent of the manipulation and pressure
utilized became evident in the course of the legal proceedings.
Upon the expiration of the contract between Radio SAWA and VOLP on August 15,
2005, VOLP was surprised and shocked to find that Radio SAWA started broadcasting
from its new radio station in Ramallah on the same VOLP frequency, thus pirating
the frequency and depriving the Palestinian company of its rights.
To cover up its actions, the Palestinian Ministry of Information went to court
to stop VOLP from continuing with its own broadcasts using its frequency, FM
94.2MHz. VOLP responded to the complaint and succeeded in obtaining an injunction
against the decision to stop its broadcasts. Notwithstanding the court order
granted in favor of VOLP by the Ramallah Magistrate Court, use by SAWA of VOLP's
frequency is continuing in a flagrant disregard of the rights of VOLP causing
it to suffer grave, serious and continuing losses.
Radio SAWA's outright disregard of the court Order in Ramallah and challenge
to all Palestinian rules and regulations in the Palestinian authority area -
raises many core ethical and legal questions about the internal control of this
organization and its purported mission "to promote and sustain freedom
and democracy by broadcasting accurate and objective news and information about
the United States and the world to audiences oversees." The conduct of
the representatives of Radio SAWA makes a mockery of the key values the organization
claims to uphold namlely, "integrity and defending [American] ideals,"
The unethical and illegal ploys and tactics employed by Radio SAWA personnel
to unduly obtain 94.2 FM which belongs to the Palestinian radio station VOLP
and to deny this station its right to this frequency is a travesty to universal
laws and procedures. It is should be the subject of investigation by an independent
US. Commission which could make its own judgment about internal control of US
Throughout its ten year journey, VOLP has faced many obstacles but never gave
up. It fought for survival through the most difficult of times. Considering
the unethical and unlawful actions of Radio SAWA, VOLP will not hold back from
using all possible legal channels and taking all possible legal actions against
Radio SAWA and its Board of Governors, including suing them in the United States
of America, to regain VOLP's stolen rights.
For more information contact Mutaz Taleb Bseiso
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web : www.volpfm.com