Monday 16 August 2010

Queens Market - Newham Council Shuts Down Community Radio Broadcast

More heavyhandedness from Newham council down at Queens Market in Upton Park. I've just heard that halfway through a 90-minute show yesterday morning on a local community radio station, Voice of Africa Radio (VOAR), the outside-broadcast of a live interview with campaigners from Friends of Queens Market was suddenly stopped by the council's security.

As VOAR's team was reluctantly packing away its equipment and a crowd gathered in support, the police arrived and threatened arrests - allegedly after unnamed Newham councillors had called them to report an unlawful radio broadcast. However, Voice of Africa Radio has an FM community licence from the Radio Authority and is the only legal African radio station in the UK. Its team say it was even denied the right to broadcast on private premises - in Dee's Saloon at the front of Queens Market - with the owner's permission.

Voice of Africa Radio had invited Newham councillors to take part in the discussion but none had responded. It alleges that instead, the council arranged for the market manager to come in specially on his day off to shut down the broadcast. It has announced its intention to return to Queens Market on Sunday 28 August.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

This is what it says on their web site!. What happened to Freedom of Speech??

On the morning of 15th August 2010, Voice of Africa Radio was present at Queens Market,Green Street, from 10.30am – 12.30pm to do a live broadcast.

Members of the general public, Friends of Queens Market and the Socialist Party were fully present for the programme. No council official or Councillor came to represent on the programme, despite being officially invited to be part of the live show.

The whole broadcast was stopped half way through by a full security detail and although the team had packed it’s equipment to leave, the Newham councillor who came to the market called in the police to arrest the broadcasting team for unlawful radio broadcast.

A large crowd were left very disappointed with the commotion that ensued when the police came in as well as with the manner in which the live broadcast was ended so abruptly. The broadcasting team was not even allowed to broadcast from inside a private premise - Dee's Saloon, 29 Queens Market, although the owners were in full agreement of this.

Despite all the challenges, Voice of Africa Radio is planning to return to the Queens Market on Sunday 28th August, 2010.

VOAR is not an obstacle. Just like other voluntary community organisations, VOAR is here to support the development of the local community – to build better services and cohesion in Newham.



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