Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Radio Okapi celebrates sixth anniversary

Nina Yacoubian of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) writes:
On the occasion of the sixth birthday of Radio Okapi, the radio sponsored by the United Nations, MONUC head Alan Doss addressed its listeners on a special programme on February 25 2008, where he encouraged them to serve “themselves,” because it’s “a national radio, in the service of all the voices of the nation.”
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the RDC exhorted the Congolese to continue to listen to Radio Okapi. ‘It’s there for you. It’s not a station of the United Nations. Of course it covers some information on the UN, but it is more than that. It is indeed a national radio and I hope that all voices of the nation use it, the authorities, but also the Congolese people,’ he said.
Over the years, Radio Okapi has seen a remarkable progression with a diversification of its broadcasting networks from FM, to shortwave and the Internet. Today it’s the only media that covers and broadcasts to the entire territory of the DRC. With 200 employees, the majority of whom are Congolese, it’s considered as the most popular and most believable radio in the country, with an audience of nearly 30% of the Congolese population.
Radio Okapi remains ‘a reference’ and ‘important for the country,’ according to Alan Doss, because, it ‘continues to inform the Congolese people in the five national languages of the country, through a set of programmes addressed to all strata of society.’
However the role of Radio Okapi doesn’t stop with the dissemination of information. The United Nations, and MONUC in particular, through its radio continue to accompany the Congolese on the path of peace and democracy. Radio Okapi covered the first transparent, free and democratic elections in the country, inviting the political actors onto their airwaves to explain their policies and their ideas, as well as sensitizing the voters on the whole electoral process.
Radio Okapi continues to uphold its policy of impartiality, to bring its contribution to the consolidation of peace, and to the restoration of a state of law. The radio gives the opportunity to the political actors to communicate their messages, to inform the people of the laws, so that they can understand the stakes and participate in the reconstruction and economic recovery of their country, explained Mr Doss.
(Source: MONUC via ReliefWeb/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)