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Foundation facilitates establishment of community radio in Mtwara
A newly established Mtwara FM Community radio raises hopes of people at the grassroots in the Southern zone of Tanzania that their voices can be heard.
The radio, which is currently under signal test on 98.6FM, has been established by the Journalists Environment and AIDS Network (JEAN media) through funding from the Foundation for Civil Society under its Medium Grants programme.
The Executive Director of JEAN Media, Sango Kipozi has said that the main focus of the radio will be to cover issues concerning people at the grassroots and will involve them in both designing and production of its programmes.
Sango, a senior journalist who worked with the broadcast media for almost 40 years says that during her period of working she learnt that people at the grassroots have a number of development issues that ought to be addressed, but most of them are not brought to the eyes and ears of the public due to their limited coverage in the media.
She said that her experience of working with different broadcast media houses including the then Tanganyika Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam (RTD), and the UK based World Radio for Environment and Natural Resources (WREN Media) has made her learn that voices of people at the grassroots, especially in the rural areas are not widely heard.
She said that generated an idea of establishing media that can widen the coverage of issues in the rural areas and ensure that the voice of people at the grassroots is amplified and widely heard.
“I attended some conferences on community radio in Burkina Faso under funding from FAO and URTNA, which widened my knowledge on establishing and operating community radio. I was motivated to establish a community radio in Tanzania to focus on issues at the grassroots” she said.
Sango said that JEAN Media submitted a proposal for funding to the Foundation for Civil Society and appreciably was supported with Tshs 35.
She said that the radio is currently run by four volunteer journalists, but they expect to get some adverts and paid programmes from development organisations and institutions working in the area to sustain operation of the radio.
Also, JEAN media will design some programmes like greetings and telephone contribution of different discussion topics, which will be generating income through people’s participation.
With regard to the broadcasting language, Sango said that the radio will use Kiswahili in its programmes, although there will be designed some slogans in vernacular languages of the inhabitants, so as to widen people’s participation.