Central African Republic: the road to independent radio
What if you live in a country where there is war? What if radio stations are burnt down so that there is no longer any access to independent news? What if there is insufficient knowhow about running a high quality radio station? Free Press Unlimited arranged for eleven radio stations in the Central African Republic to be upgraded so that they are able to continue to provide independent news. Our focus is on five points:
The supply of equipment and training
At the beginning of the project an assessment was made of what each station requires in terms of equipment and training. Free Press Unlimited then arranged for the supply of equipment such as computers, mixing desks and microphones. Following this, local trainers provided technical training to ensure that the radio station staff have sufficient knowledge of the equipment.
We don’t just provide technical training. We also look at the knowhow of the journalists. Where necessary, we arranged for local journalists to train the radio station staff so that they are able to produce good quality programs.
That which we take for granted in the Netherlands: access to independent news, is scarce in C.A.R. This is why we ensured that the management is in a position to run an independent radio station and to increase its own income. In that way, it is not dependent on state or other authorities and the news is not subject to outside influence.
Involving the local community
The aim of the radio stations is to give everyone a voice. The listeners participate interactively in the discussion programs and talk shows and ask questions to the studio guests. People can also participate in the public debate by using their mobile phones. In this way, the radio stations ensure that information is available to all and that everyone can have their say. Particularly in a country where there is war, it is very important for people to continue to engage in dialogue and for them to listen to each other’s arguments. Ultimately, it is for the people of the Central African Republic collectively to determine the path to a better and more peaceful future.
Collaboration with ARC
The local trainers of ARC (Association of Central African Community Radio Stations) are responsible for implementing the project. From the provision of training to the installation of equipment, ARC ensures that all eleven radio stations are upgraded.
photo: Free Press Unlimited