Radio is You: Commemoration of World Radio Day 2017

Dar es salaam, February 13, 2017-World Radio Day was commemorated at the Open University of Tanzania on 13 February, 2017. The theme of this year was, “Radio is You: Consultation with Community Radio Practitioners on the Role of the Media in Promoting Development.”
The Minister of Information, Culture Arts and Sports, Hon. Nape Nnauye officiated the occasion in which he called upon the community media to produce radio content that will not only focus on their locality but also on the wider Tanzanian public with the intent of unifying the nation.
He called upon the media to join the ongoing nationwide campaign against illicit drug abuse and drug trafficking.  Hon. Nape instructed journalists to read and understand the new media laws and present to him any matters that are hindering the performance of radio practitioners.

The Head of Unesco in Tanzania Ms. Zulmira Rodrigues also addressed the audience in which she commended the community radio stations and advised them to produce content that would help farmers and address social issues such as security and disaster risk management.  Prior to this day, Unesco had provided training to 30 studio technicians from community radios around the country.
Community radio stations in Tanzania are believed to reach out to around 20 million people living mainly in marginalized societies.

The vice-chairperson of the Community Media Network in Tanzania (COMNETA), Prosper Kwigize read out his statement in which he highlighted key successes and challenges faced by the stations. He highlighted that radio has been very useful around Africa and in Tanzania especially in imparting civic education during elections, informing masses about catastrophic events, fighting drug abuse and combating illnesses such as cholera and ebola. “Community radio stations have a great impact on Agribusiness, we provide vital information to farmers” Said Kwigize.

Kwigize who works in Mpanda-a marginalized region in Tanzania, reported before the Minister how “community radio stations are ignored by government officials who prefer to be seen on tv” He urged the Minister for information to intervene in order for radio reporters to gain respect and access to much needed information from the regional leaders and regional press officers.

Community radio stations in Tanzania further called for a radio fund to be set up in order to enable them to prepare valuable programmes which are expensive to produce and for the Regulatory authority to suspend the new tender system as well as cut back on expensive licenses which hinder their proper functioning.  Several issues were raised including a plea for the Minister to review the quality of education provided to radio journalist trainees.  They were concerned that the community radios are facing situations where educated journalist have failed to perform in the studios.

Senior and seasoned radio veteran leaders were also present including World Radio Day in Tanzania.  The Director General of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Ayub Rioba, and the Director of Broadcasting at the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, Mr. Fredrick Ntobi also joined the commemorations sharing key messages around radio development today.

The event was moderated by The UN Information Center’s Stella Vuzo and coordinated by Unesco Tanzania office.  The UNDP Economic Advisor, Rodgers Dliwayo also trained the participants on the Sustainable Development Goals, a session which was followed by discussion and recommendations where everyone at the event actively engaged.

World Radio Day is held annually on 13 February to celebrate and remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring cooperation among broadcasters across the globe. As media and communications become increasingly influential all over the world, it is inevitable to discuss their role in promoting development on this remarkable day of commemoration.

Sebomi Jang and Stella Vuzo

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