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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

Official urges improvement in status of community radios

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Mr Yusupha Bojang, the national coordinator for the Network of Community Radio Stations in The Gambia has urged for the improvement in the current status of community radio stations in the country.

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Mr Bojang made a presentation on “What sort of help does community radios need to enable them effectively and efficiently produce good programmes for the farmers in The Gambia?” to participants at a training seminar last week. 

The event brought together members of the Network of Agricultural Communicators of The Gambia, supported by the Danish Food and Agricultural Journalists. The objective was to examine how effective agricultural journalism can help fight poverty and food insecurity in The Gambia.  

According to Mr Bojang, the first community radio station in The Gambia, Sapu Radio, established in the 1990s was designed to disseminate information on agriculture. “Most of the community radio stations that followed have a strong agricultural dimension to their founding. In The Gambia, therefore, community radios have been doing a lot in the promotion of agriculture,” said Mr Bojang. 

Mr Bojang’s topic exposed the participants to what he called “the impoverished material, financial, and human capital conditions under which all the community radio stations operate.” He revealed that the main source of income for the community radios is advertisements. “New regulations by the broadcasting regulator, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (Pura), restrict community radios’ access to advertisements. The communities are not proactive in financing their radio stations,” he lamented. 

Yusupha, who is also programme manager of Bwiam Community Radio said majority of the staff of community radios are not trained in journalism: “Even the community radio station managers have no prior background knowledge in the media.” 

On community ownership, he said the host community should take the lead in the ownership and management of the community radio station. This includes the station having financial independence from the project donors. Discussions that followed were animating. It was noted that projects that put community radio stations do not last for long. So the community is to ultimately take charge after the donors withdraw their support.

 

Author: Sanna Camara

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