I’ve written here previously of the efforts of some Bougainvillean media people - including former journalists Aloysius Laukai and Carolus (Charlie) Ketsimur and a small group of Australians with a background in PNG broadcasting, Martin Hadlow, Phil Charley and me - to establish a radio station on Buka Island in the north of Bougainville.
The gestation period of New Dawn FM, as the station is called, has been elephantine but, with funds now flowing from UNESCO (for studio equipment) and from the German government (for the transmitter), all is ready for the station to be established.
The name New Dawn really says it all. When the 10-year Bougainville war ended in 1998, 20,000 people had died and there were 40,000 internal refugees in a population of 160,000. Due to PNG’s own economic problems, there has been very limited progress in infrastructure renewal in the years since hostilities ended.
As Bougainville slowly regenerates, it’s vital that its citizens have access to the mass media. That’s why we’ve been working to establish this commercial community FM station, which will provide an independent voice for a population trying to rebuild its livelihood and its sense of community.
Photo: Aloysius Laukai signs the memorandum of understanding at New Dawn’s new studios watched by the German ambassador and consul.