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Decentralising radio

In Northeastern Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri province, a radio soap opera in the ethnic minority language Kreung has been broadcasting since August last year. With financial and human resources assistance from the UNESCO Bangkok/ADB-funded community radio project, Young Kreung and Brao people have been trained to run the community radio station in order to broadcast news and information about culture, education, agriculture, food prices and healthcare in their two local languages – the Tampoun and Jarai languages will be integrated in 2010 – for half an hour a day.

“We understand that the community radio programme is being very well accepted by the communities, the people living in Ratanakkiri province and the government,” Isabel Gonzalez Rojo, communication and information officer for UNESCO in Phnom Penh, wrote by email last Thursday.

According to UNESCO, community radio is a [service] owned, managed and funded by the community, using content created by the community.

Travel backward to 1992, when news and information through the media was scarce and access was low, the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) supplied almost 400,000 radios to Cambodia in its effort to bring freedom of information to the country at a time when political and human rights were the most critical issues of the day heading into the Kingdom’s first democratic elections.

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