By Kevin Stoda, Germany/Kuwait

Today is the 60th Anniversary for independent publicly sponsored radio in the USA—namely Pacifica Radio in California.

I currently live in Germany where there is little—if any truly publically sponsored and fairly independent media.

As I had lived in Kuwait until earlier this same year, I often wondered what it would be like if Pacifica’s DEMOCRACY NOW radio was available in the airwaves of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Bahrain.

Alternatively, it would have been great to have had some local radio station share similar differing points of view.


In Kuwait, we can receive radio stations from each of those aforementioned 6 Persian Gulf countries—as well as occasionally even from the United Arab Emirates.

On the one hand, there are also several minority language and news programs targeted at South Asian, Filipino, and Farsi target audiences.

On the other hand, DEMOCRACY NOW and Pacifica radio are, indeed, available online (even in Kuwait and neighboring lands where there is seldom overt censorship) —as are a number of other news sources, such as ALTERNET, OP-ED News, and the Guerilla News Networks.

On my blogs, I would occasionally put some stories or selections of stories which seemed appropriate for expatriates to come to know about.

After all, there are at least 50,000 US troops passing in and out of Kuwait each year.
There are also more than twice that many military contractors moving in and out of the country in any one month.

Moreover, there are already on FM radio nationally sponsored radio stations that can be received in the Kuwait area. There are the few Kuwaiti publically owned radio stations. There are also VOICE OF AMERICA and BBC News. Occasionally, the French 24 station to be heard in Kuwait. In addition, there are some stations and networks being run by the (USA) DOD and other military forces in the area for the consumption of their troops and society around them.

Despite all these radio- (and, in some cases, TV-) sources, the expatriate audience—as well as the Kuwaiti national audience—do not have access to great alternative news sources, link, such as DEMOCRACY NOW news, Link TV, and Go Left TV

are not available to important consumers of progressive programming.

I need to say that this was true of most of the USA prior to the USA-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Before that time, relatively few Americans had access to or could find on a dial a single progressive news station offered by their local media audiences.

Imagine, if in Kuwait, a local station could have provided information to people where to go with their work and war complaints?

I lived in Kuwait for 5 whole years. I would have loved to have helped some U.S. GIs become conscience objectors, but no information network of like-minded folks could be formed without a common news source to make clear what local and regional options there were legally to do so.


Now, I have recently moved to Germany, and here the story of both the radio and TV airwaves is only a little better. Occasionally, one finds more progressive radio and TV discussions of the topics.

However, there are few regular independent programs to be found. Mostly, news analysis is paid for and stations are reliant on Big media news sources—like the Frankfurter Allgemein—for interpreting news.

The majority of news sources seem to be owned, financed or promoted by either the government or by political parties—or just plane media demagogues, like the Springer Verlag.

According to Justin Roth, there is only one really independent radio station in Germany.

Roth focuses more on music. However, he claims that Zusa Radio of Northern Germany (out of my radio reception range) is an independent media source.

Similarly, both neighboring Holland and neighboring Belgium also each only have one really independent radio station according to Roth.

This lack of alternative stations in some parts of Europe mean that in Central Europe most young people grow up only about-as-politically-and-socially-aware as their North American counterparts.

This is because Big traditional media continue to drive the world of information of music—even as internet and downloading of podcasts and YouTube programs becomes more pervasive.


Reporters around the world depend on getting and sharing sources made available—only– by more independent new sources.,COUNTRYNEWS,,AGO,487f10621a,0.html

Reporters Without Borders is an example of one organization. Reporters Without Borders encourages the establishment and maintenance of independent radio and other media, especially to inform refugees, the impoverished and endangered facets of any society.

TWEETER may inadvertently fill some information holes around the globe in terms of otherwise lost-news.

However, I would suggest that outside the USA, especially in Europe and in the Middle East, support and encouragement for a more free control of audio and TV media be encouraged by local and internationalist independent media groups and individuals.

One reason for this is the great need to empowers minorities.

In recent years, America has seen the Voice of Native America grow in public and independent airwaves. For example, the famous independent station that spawned the Pacifica Network, KPFA of San Francisco has such programming.

However, when we consider that around the globe, there are thousands of minority groups in every country without access to powerful and pervasive media sources (as opposed to the softer internet media vehicle which often requires a more expensive investment than would a purchase of a TV or radio), the time has come to financially promote alternatively funded media around the globe.

Let’s begin strategically seeing that this takes place in both developed and underdeveloped corners of planet earth.


Here are some independent media promoters around the globe. Check them out and get them to cooperate more together.

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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