Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Afghanistan: First moveable radio station gives voice to isolated populations

Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) The first moveable radio station in Afghanistan was recently launched in Bamyan province, covering news in remote districts of the province.

Mounted on a truck, Radio Paik-e-Bamyan travels around the province and reports on local issues in the isolated villages.

"Most of the Kabul-based radio stations cover national news which does not reflect local issues," said Mahdy Mehraeen, head of the Paik-e-Bamyan radio, an FM station. "Radio Paik-e-Bamyan aims to report on local issues to engage the local communities on… developments in their own area."

The mobile radio station is a joint project of Bamyan University and the Netherlands- based media development organization, Press Now.

"The other objective of this radio station is to train university students in radio journalism and community-based messaging skills," added Mr Mehraeen.

Every month, six students – three men and three women – are hired. Each batch gets two weeks training in theory and another two weeks to practice journalism while reporting for the mobile radio station.

The mobile studio is mounted on a truck, complete with a transmitter, a small built-in recording set up, and an editing unit.

Each month the truck is driven to one district and parked for two weeks in a location where local news is produced and aired.

The mobile radio station transmits news up to 20 kilometres away, airing programmes on health, agriculture and education.

"This new initiative is a way to tackle the real issues of Afghanistan at the grassroots level," said Hildebrand Bijleveld, editor-in-chief of Press Now.

Mr Bijleveld added that the project is a pilot for further media initiatives in other parts of the country.

By Jaffar Rahim, UNAMA