Friday, June 18, 2010

Tougher action against Dutch pirate radio stations

The Radiocommunications Agency Netherlands (AT) is stepping up action to prevent illegal radio radio broadcasts. The agency will not only close down stations that are on the air without permit, but will also target aerial towers “obviously intended for illegal broadcasts”.

As a first step, AT inspectors will pay warning visits to land and home owners on whose premises suspicious constructions are spotted. “If these are used illegally, they will be fined 2,500 euros plus a conditional fine of 2,250.” The total fine that illegal broadcasters risk “can total up to 33,750 euros”, according to AT spokesman Gernant Deekens.

The new approach will first be used in the relatively rural northeastern province of Drenthe. Pirate stations are often run from hideouts in sheds and barns, playing popular music to a local audience for a couple of hours a day. It is often felt that “official” radiostations are catering insufficiently for regional tastes, prompting enterprising individuals to set up their own transmissions on AM or FM. The quality of the transmitters is often such that the broadcasts are causing interference on other channels, often without the pirates even being aware of it.

“Pirate radios are causing a lot of trouble in the north and east of the Netherlands,” according to AT Chief Inspector Peter Spijkerman. “Their illegal broadcasts are interfering with legal radio stations here and in neighbouring Germany. Air traffic communication, too, is disrupted by illegal transmissions. This can lead to dangerous situations. We primarily want to take preventive action, but if people break the law, we’ll give the pirates tit for tat,” Mr Spijkerman warned.

Source: RNW News

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