FemLINKPACIFIC, a community media initiative in the South Pacific, will mark World Radio Day, Feb. 13, by broadcasting from Feb. 13 to 15 an extra 36 hours of airtime dedicated to issues the young women producers and broadcasters feel are important.
It’s the third year that FemLINKPACIFIC, which is located on Fiji, has participated in World Radio Day through its radio network, FemTALK89FM.
The World Radio Day Weekend Marathon is also part of the current technical expansion of FemTALK89FM funded by a grant of AUD$186,000 from the Australian government, as part of its Pacific Women program. The program provides long-term support to increase gender equality in the Pacific.
“Every day is radio day for FemLINKPACIFIC. Each day when we switch on FemTALK 89FM in Suva and Labasa [Fiji], we celebrate that young women are taking to the airwaves in their communities. They produce and broadcast programmes for and by women of all diversities to promote access to information, and free, independent and pluralistic media,” said Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, Executive Director FemLINKPACIFIC.
“This year’s theme, “Youth and Radio,” is closely connected to the way in which since we launched our first community radio station in 2004. We have been supporting [the ability of] rural young women as well as young women from disability rights and LGBT networks [to] access the media for their own empowerment and for the development of their communities,” Bhagwan Rolls said.
According to FemLINKPACIFIC Network Coordinator Frances Tawake, “Community radio continues to empower me as a young woman. I also [take] our “suitcase radio kit” out to our rural networks [and] found it to be an important tool for advocacy,” said Tawake.
The young women produce and broadcast programmes for and by women of all diversities to promote access to information, and free, independent and pluralistic media.
Community Radio provides a safe space for women to raise their issues through the radio programme according to Alisia Evans, Morning Waves host on FemTALK89FM: “Community Radio is the platform to speak for those women whose voices are not yet heard.”
Hannah Hicks who co-produces the weekly Look At My Abilities show (LAMA) in collaboration with the Fiji Disabled People’s Network she is not just producing a programme but also understanding gender and disability rights.
In 2014, FemTALK89FM in Suva and Labasa dedicated more than 4,200 broadcast hours to 582 radio programmes featuring close to 1,500 women, produced through FemLINKPACIFIC’s community media network. An additional 30 hours of local broadcasts were also conducted in the western division together with the innovative Radio with Pictures simulcasts.
“Since we launched the “suitcase radio” station in 2004 we have been able to incrementally increase our broadcast activities as a result, with a cadre of young women producers and broadcasters as well as rural community media correspondents who produce news, interviews, interactive community dialogues as well as a range of local features focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment and community development priorities,” said Bhagwan Rolls.