New Community Radio goes on air in Nonghet
Xiengkhuang, 9th May 2013 – The ethnic communities of Hmong, Khmu and Phong in Nonghet District, Xiengkhuang Province, can now tune into radio broadcasts in their own languages, thanks to a new community radio station launched in Nonghet on Thursday, by Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The new station, which will be run by volunteers from the local communities, will broadcast programmes in ethnic languages as well as in Lao, reaching up to 30,000 listeners in the area.
The launch ceremony was attended by a large number of Government officials, representatives of International Organisations, and Development Partners as well as members of the Nonghet community. Speaking at the event, Mr. Pineprathana Phanthamaly, Director General of Mass Media Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism said that the new community radio can play a part in the poverty alleviation efforts of the District, helping the country in graduating from the Least Developed Country status by 2020. “Communities will enjoy better access to information and bottom-up communication channels, allowing them to take informed decisions, express their views, share knowledge and validate their cultures and tradition”, he added.
Ms. Kyoko Yokosuka, Deputy Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said: “The main strength of these community radios is that they are owned by their communities and they are serving their communities. It gives the people a voice”.
The programmes to be broadcast on the Nonghet Community radio (100.7 MHz) will be planned, developed and executed with the help of 42 specially trained volunteers, half of whom are women, all recruited from the local communities.
Nonghet Community Radio is the second community radio in Xiengkhuang Province, first one having been launched in 2007 in Khoun District. The experience from Khoun shows that sharing information through radio contributes to improved well-being of the local communities. For example, the usage of health facilities by pregnant women and the number of children taken for vaccinations has greatly increased in the area as a result of the health-related radio broadcasts.
Nonghet Ethnic Community Radio for Development is the fourth community radio launched by the Community Participation and Communication Support Programme, implemented by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and its provincial departments with support from the United Nations Development Programme and Oxfam Novib. The programme enables local communities to have better access to information and bottom-up communication channels through establishing community-run radio stations. In total, six community radios are to be set up in Xiengkhuang, Sekong and Oudomxay Provinces by the end of 2013, and additional two community radios in 2014, with locations still to be decided.
More than half of the households in the country possess a radio transistor, making radio the single most important form of mass communication in Lao PDR.
UNDP: Ms. Sudha Gooty, Assistant Resident Representative and Head of Governance
Tel: 021 267 720, Sudha.firstname.lastname@example.org
MICT: Mr. Bounhap Souligno, Deputy Director General, Mass Media Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) Tel: 021-254 601, email@example.com