Exploiting the Loophole in International Law
Therefore, it was not out of a desire, but from a legal and operational necessity that radio station operators wishing to challenge established broadcasters in the second half of the twentieth century did so from an offshore base. Operating in such a way was not illegal at the time since legislation did not exist to prevent it happening -
The authorities clearly had to close the loophole, but they were also forced to deal with the matter in an entirely new and different way. It was a concept that had not been a serious problem before the late 1950s and over the years as the number and popularity of offshore stations grew governments of every political persuasion struggled to find a means of silencing them. These actions were taken ostensibly to comply with, and protect, international agreements, but in reality they often had more to do with protecting the existing state monopoly broadcasting systems.
For the authorities the solution to the 'problem' of offshore broadcasters was far more complex than any government at first envisaged, involving a tangled web of international law and conventions which rendered them powerless to take direct, unilateral action.
Within a framework of international agreements, which themselves carried little or no weight in law, most governments had to resort to introducing legislation which made it illegal for their own citizens to be involved in any way with the workings or promotion of an offshore broadcasting station.
With a large number of countries passing such laws this ultimately had the effect of closing most stations, but some offshore broadcasters successfully defied and challenged the legislation designed to outlaw them. In the end, however, practical operating difficulties -
State Monopolies and International Agreements
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