New Dawn: Community Radio on Bougainville


Arawa, Bougainville
madlemurs, via Flickr

How can radio bring peace? Liz Waid and Rena Dam look at New Dawn FM. This radio station is bringing people together in Bougainville.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Rena Dam. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand - no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3 

"I am encouraged by what people do in difficult situations. Social change is a serious business. And New Dawn FM is about serious business."

Voice 1 

These are the words of Vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield at the University of Queensland, Australia. He spoke at an awards ceremony in 2009. The University gave the ‘Communication and Social Change Award’ to New Dawn FM. Station manager Aloysius Laukai accepted the award, saying:

Voice 4 

"The crisis divided most of our people. We wanted to use freedom of expression to help bring people together after the conflict."

Voice 2 

Today’s Spotlight is on New Dawn FM. New Dawn is a community radio station on the island of Bougainville. Bougainville is in the South Pacific Ocean, very close to the Solomon Islands. It is a part of the country of Papua New Guinea. But it has an independent local government. However, as Mr Laukai says, Bougainville has not always been peaceful.

Voice 1 

Over the years, many countries have occupied Bougainville. At the end of World War two, Australia ruled over Bougainville. It found that Bougainville was rich in copper, a useful metal. An Australian company dug the Panguna mine. There, the company removed the copper from the earth. Then they sold it. But the people of Bougainville did not get any money from the sale of the copper.

Voice 2 

Papua New Guinea became independent from Australia in 1975. Bougainville was now part of Papua New Guinea. But, the money from the Panguna mine still did not help Bougainville. Many people on Bougainville thought the Panguna copper mine was a problem. They wanted Papua New Guinea to fairly share the profits of the mine. They wanted to be independent from Papua New Guinea.

Voice 1 

In 1988 Bougainville began fighting against the government of Papua New Guinea. For ten years, there was violence in Bougainville. Over twenty thousand people were killed. Forty thousand people lost their homes. But, since 2001, there has been peace on the island. At that time, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville signed an agreement. And Bougainville has been autonomous since 2005. Much of their government is now independent from Papua New Guinea.

Voice 2 

Because of this conflict, Bougainville is not very developed. Many people on Bougainville do not have very good roads, electricity or communication systems. But many people have a radio! As a result, radio is one of the best ways to share important news. This gave Aloysius Laukai the idea of starting a community radio station.

Voice 1 

So in 2005 Mr. Laukai began New Dawn FM. It was not easy to start the radio station. It is not owned by any government. It is the work of a community doing something to help itself. Aloysuis Laukai tells Inter Press Service:

Voice 4 

“Our biggest problem starting New Dawn FM was finance. We were just coming out of the crisis and we had no money.  But we received some help through UNESCO and the German government. So we started the radio."

Voice 2 

New Dawn FM has three main kinds of programs: local events, community programs and programs about peace and reconciliation. For local events, New Dawn broadcasts programs about local weather, traffic and health. They also broadcast about local and national politics.

Voice 1 

In the recent election, New Dawn helped to share information. On New Dawn’s website, a listener named Peter Sepe writes:

Voice 5 

“Thank you New Dawn. I am very happy. I would like to thank you for the update on election results in Bougainville. Without your daily news, the Bougainvilleans working in Australia and other countries will not know what is happening. Thank you New Dawn and Bougainville.”        

Voice 2 

New Dawn also brings people together through programs that build community. New Dawn aims to educate and empower people in Bougainville. For example, there are programs that give information about farming or health. One program is called “Bougainville Women Today.” This is a learning program for communities. It addresses women’s health issues such as pregnancy in very young women or malaria.

Voice 1 

And Bougainvillians do not just listen to these New Dawn programs. They discuss and use the ideas and information. Aloysius Laukai explains one way that New Dawn involves the community:

Voice 4 

"We have established listeners’ clubs, like women’s groups. They come and we design the programmes. Every time we broadcast a programme, we put it on a CD. And we send it out to these listeners’ clubs. Then they listen to them at their own place and at their own time."

Voice 2 

Bringing people together is a major aim of New Dawn FM. New Dawn has a special interest in reporting local reconciliation events. These build peace between people who were divided by the conflict. This is difficult to do after many years of fighting. But the people of Bougainville are trying to build a peaceful island. Mr. Laukai explains how New Dawn Radio is involved:

Voice 4 

“We cover a lot of activities the government is doing for peace and reconciliation. If there is a happening, we broadcast from there to our listeners. Our aim is to make sure that North Bougainville understands what is happening in South Bougainville.”

Voice 1

This information brings more peace to people across the island of Bougainville. So far, New Dawn FM has had much success in this work. At times, the community does struggle to financially support New Dawn FM. But they continue to use radio to improve their community.

Voice 2 

The ‘Communication and Social Change Award’ recognized the work of New Dawn FM. But there is an even greater award - the changes for people on Bougainville. People listen to New Dawn and learn about local events and community development. They are encouraged to work for peace and reconciliation. A listener named Paul brings this all together well - he writes on the New Dawn website:

Voice 6 

“This is wonderful news to have a radio station - freedom of speech, a local voice, information for unity! I want to keep informed about the new life of Bougainville.”

Voice 1 

The writer and producer of this program was Rena Dam. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at http://www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘New Dawn: Community Radio on Bougainville’.

Voice 2 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@ radioenglish . net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
yeutienganh120888
said on March 26, 2012

I think that it is the simple way to build a comunity.I am very interested in their aim which make this world beter.There is no war,no conflict and no pain in the world if this working is expanded all over the world.Thank to New Dawn FM .

Luis Piedra's avatar
Luis Piedra
said on April 16, 2013

Hi all
The effort, the dedication that New Dawn FM realize is very important for all Bougainville community.
Thanks Spotlight

Avatar Spotlight
VoQuangHuy
said on April 19, 2013

Thanks to Spotlight, I can listen to English slowly and easily!