The BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
In the summer of 1939, with a world war on the horizon and many of the normal communication channels about to disappear, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began monitoring radio broadcasts in other countries. They began with five countries. Since then, monitoring has grown to include over 100 countries.
Throughout the world, the BBC continually monitors major foreign radio broadcasts from strategically placed listening posts. Transcripts of broadcasts are then edited and translated into English.
In addition to being useful for studying current global affairs, the BBC Summary of World Broadcasts chronicles important historical events, such as the first man in space, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Chernobyl incident. Included are detailed accounts of events from different perspectives--some factual, some propaganda. These uncensored transcripts often provide critical information not available through "official" news sources.
Due to the overwhelming quantity of broadcasts, the BBC Summary of World Broadcasts provides a representative sample of the material monitored. Publications and topics include speeches by national leaders; military, political, economic, scientific, and cultural developments and appointments; propaganda trends, including subversion and incitement to revolt (particularly by means of "freedom stations" purporting to operate within the country addressed, but in reality outside it); and radio developments. During time of war, publications also include official war communiqués, news reports from the fronts, reports indicative of resistance activities, and news and talks giving indications of public morale.
The BBC Summary of World Broadcasts is currently divided into five sections (by geography): 1) the former USSR, 2) Central Europe, the Balkans, 3) Asia-Pacific, 4) the Middle East, and 5) Africa, Latin America, and Caribbean. These five parts are available individually and as a complete collection. Prior to 1947, all parts were grouped together into one series in Digest of World Broadcasts (the publication's original name). In the years that followed, groupings varied in size and number (for example, from 1947-1949, the Summary of World Broadcasts was divided into three parts: U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe; Germany and Austria; and the rest of the world). Publication frequency also varied, from daily publication in 1939 to six days a week. (At times, frequency was five times a week and periodical.)
Also included is The Monitoring Report, a brief summary of the major items and trends of broadcasting throughout the world, which was published daily from April 1940 to January 1947 and five times a week from 1947 to November 30, 1996.