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As the concept of community radio is gaining currency and more such stations are established in a number of areas in the country, the need to broadcast in local dialects has been expressed.
Speaking during commemoration of the World Radio Day in Dar es Salaam on February 23, Moses Ndiyane, of Orkorenei Community Radio in Simanjiro said the language factor is a serious problem as most of the people in their community do not speak or understand Kiswahili, the compulsory medium for broadcast.
The ceremony was coordinated by the Media Council of Tanzania and sponsored by UNESCO.
He appealed for a special consideration on the matter, pleading with the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TRCA) to allow community radio stations to use local dialects.
Bilal Jihad, the chairperson of Radio Mtegani, Micheweni in Zanzibar said though his community radio broadcast most of its programmes in Kiswahili, they broadcast one programme in the Kimakunduchi local dialect.
He caused laughter, when he spoke in the Kimakundichi dialect after he was requested to sample it during the meeting.
Another issue that was decried during the meeting was the red tape attempt in the process of licensing community radio.
Ayub Mohamed Kalufya from Uvinza FM Community Radio protested that the process to get license for the Community radio Station was cumbersome and taking long time as it involved two ministries - Information and Science and Technology.Another issue raised during the meeting was that of the area of coverage of the Community radio Station which is only 100 kilometres notwithstanding the geographical location and features.
Kalufya cited the area of coverage of Uvinza FM which hilly and because of the some areas within the 100 kilometres do not get the station’s signals.
During the meeting, three papers were presented.
Veteran broadcaster Rose Haji presented a paper on opportunities and challenges of Community media in Tanzania while veteran print media journalist, Ndimara Tegambwage presented a paper discussing the Concept and Rational for Public Broadcasting.
Advocate Mohamed Tibanyendera who is also the chairperson of the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Tanzania Chapter (MISA-Tan), presented a paper on Legal Framework for Public service Broadcasting.
Concern was expressed on the state of Public Broadcasting in Tanzania with participants indicating that the concept and practice is not functioning in Tanzania.
“What we have here is an institution serving the state portraying false image of serving the public”, Ndimara observed.
The Country Representative and Director of UNESCO in Tanzania, Vibeke Jensen, read the messages from the United Nations on the Occasion of World Radio Day.
“Let us celebrate the power of the radio and let us work together to tune the world to the frequency of peace, development and human rights”, she said.
She underlined the importance of radio as essential for good governance and sustainable development.
“In the world changing quickly, UNESCO is committed to harnessing the full power of radio to build bridges of understanding between peoples, to share information as widely as possible and deepen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of expression”, she said.
She pledged UNESCO’s determination in fully utilizing community radio to address poverty and social exclusion at local level and empower marginalized rural groups, young people and women.
Pointing out that radio is a key platform for education and for protecting local cultures and languages, she added it is also a powerful way to amplify the voices of young people on issues that affect their lives.
The United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2012 endorsed the 2011 resolution adopted by the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming February 13 as the World Radio Day, the day the United Nations Radio was established in 1946.
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