New Community Radio Station for Nairobi’s Kibera Slums
The Daily Nation reported that the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has granted Pamoja 99.9 FM a broadcasting license in the Kibera Slums. The new Radio station, formed by Pamoja Development Centre situated in Kibera’s Ayany Estate, aims to focus on issues that bear directly on its millions of listeners in the Kibera slums; ie. environment, women’s rights, drug abuse and community awareness, among others.
Although Pamoja FM is not the first of its kind in the country, anyone working for the attainment of the MDGs welcomes this development. Radio is acknowledged as the most widespread electronic communications device in the world and a unique means of reaching the world’s poorest communities. It means that community radio stations like Pamoja FM puts the tools of communications into the hands of poverty striken communities and enables them to express their culture, receive entertainment, news and information as well as engage in dialogue and development.
According to the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) -an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement, with almost 3 000 members and associates in 110 countries including Kenya – community radio is a strong medium for economic development and free speech. It is a powerful tool than can raise public awareness on health, the environment and a range of local issues. The AMARC Africa affiliate has a social agenda philosophy with a strong focus on poverty alleviation, conflict resolution, HIV/Aids, gender empowerment, human rights and democracy.
Community radio is definitely an inexpensive medium that the Government of Kenya through the CCK may want to promote by offering subsidized FM airwave licences and discounted annual fees to registered NGOs, churches, schools and other public institutions with a view to propagating its policies including increasing awareness of critical issues like civic education, HIV/Aids and environmental conservation.
UNESCO, in its community radio handbook, praises broadcasting legislation in South Africa as an exemplary case in Africa. The legislation in question was enacted soon after the dismantling of the apartheid regime in 1993, because the Mandela led government realised that the country’s media could help to resolve many socio-economic development problems while building a unified, democratic and pluralistic society by promoting, amongst others, the development of community broadcasting services.