I s s u e 3 7   -  M o n t h , 2 0 0 2

Community Radio and the upcoming Elections
Equipment in Bagamoio & Chinonanquila
Rádio ARCO Officially Inaugurated
Readers Benefit from Paper Scheme


Community Radio and the upcoming Elections

While community radio is a mass medium, it is a very different one, focusing on a narrow and well defined target group, living in the same area, sharing the same day to day possibilities and problems. A community radio by definition is owned and controlled by the community, who also constitute its programme producers - and who knows better the problems to address? And the solutions that need to be found? The culture to be kept alive and further stimulated? And the day to day victories to be celebrated?

As such a community radio needs to focus on the life situation of all its many different communities within the community, needs to address all the different issues and concerns of all of these in order to remain a true medium of and for these. Only then will the community radio continue to be seen as a credible and reliable development partner.

To honour the challenges described above, the community radio programmers need to represent all of the different segments of the community and UNESCO in Mozambique has - in line with the above understanding of the development role of the community radio - chosen to organise all the programme producing community members in editorial groups. These groups work in different areas (agriculture, health, education, culture, women…) and are responsible for turning community problems into effective and useful community programmes.

With elections coming up in Mozambique: Municipal elections in 2003 and Presidential / Parliamentary in 2004, the community radios and their community credibility is facing a major challenge: how do we navigate locally among the many different interests? How do we manage the challenge to thoroughly inform our community of issues at stake and party-profiles? How do we maintain our neutrality and balanced reporting capacity? And how do we remain a credible community medium for ALL within our community?

In order to address this major challenge and potential stumbling block for the important - yet fragile - community radios, UNESCO has together with the ICS and the Austrian North-South Institute initiated a series of seminars for community radio coordinators and management committees. Seminars for the central and northern part of the country will take place in July and for the South in August. All the country's 31 community radio stations will take part in these seminars.

The objective is to inform the radios thoroughly about the challenges and the possibilities, and to jointly arrive at a common guide for how to practically and concretely deal with the election period. It is the hope that this will help the radios to effectively inform their communities and avoid possible loss of credibility, without which the radios would loose their basic justificatio

Equipment in Bagamoio & Chinonanquila

The Commmunity Radio stations of Bagamoio and Chinonanquila, located in Maputo city and Boane district respectively, have their equipment already installed, made up by a production and a broadcasting studio and transmitters. 

The installation of the equipment, by the South-African company Globecom, took place during the last week of June and the first of July this year.

The two stations are part of the Wave II community radio component of the Media Project, including also Metangula, Milange and Dondo communities, which will be receiving equipment within the next weeks.

In Chinonanquila, the local community radio association is under creation with close support of the Project, and as a result of the memorandum of understanding signed between the three parties, namely the community, the mozambican scouts league and UNESCO.

The installation committee has already produced the statutes of the association, which will be approved in a general assembly meeting foreseen to take place in July.

Rádio ARCO Officially Inaugurated

The ARCO community radio station, located in the Homoíne district in Inhambane, was officially inaugurated on June 25 this year.

The inauguration was festive, including traditional songs and dances, traditional iniciation, speeches and many other activities, all live broadcast to the many listeners.

The governor of Inhambane, Mr. Aires Aly, officially opened the station. A voice of a child crying was heard afterwards, symbolising the birth of the station - even though the radio has been on air experimentally for the past six months.

Speaking at the ceremony, the governor stressed the importance of community participation both in the management and programme production, as a mechanism of ensuring the needed and most challenging sustainability issue. He also appealed the community radio programme producers to not forget the ethical and deontological aspects.

The Homoíne community radio is the second station that has been inaugurated among the three of the Wave I component. Chimoio was inaugurated on May 1st and Cuamba will be formally inaugurated as soon as possible.

Readers Benefit From Paper Scheme

One of the main conclusions reached by the media houses that adhered to the joint paper purchase scheme was that the scheme has benefitted the readers. The scheme was initiated and financially supported during the first year by the Media Development Project in view of rising paper costs.

A report produced by the coordination group of the scheme states that due to the scheme, newspapers like Savana, Diário de Moçambique, Domingo, Demos, Fim-de-Semana, N´tseco and Universitário, managed to maintain the actual prices of the papers, in the benefit of the readers.

The report explains that the joint paper purchase scheme created an opportunity for the media houses to make some savings, since the Media Project was covering administrative costs of paper importation.

The UNESCO support to the scheme ended last month. The main objective was to reduce the paper costs by importing jointly and through this experience create awareness of the media houses that working together could help them obtain important benefits also in other areas like paper importation, tax exemption, distribution systems, among others.

Media Development Project c/o UNESCO, P.O.Box 1397 Maputo, Mozambique
Tel. + 258.1. 498752/ 490840 Fax +258.1.498717
E-mail: unesco@mediamoz.co