My Tolai way of life
‘Dangerous failure of process’: PM must come clean on Papua LNG

Radio Morobe kaput: Deplorable neglect of ‘voice of the nation’

Radio Morobe (Post-Courier)
Radio Morobe - since this building was condemned and funding dried up, the station in PNG's 'industrial heartland' has not broadcast for three months (Post-Courier)

SYLVESTER GAWI | Pacific Media Watch

LAE - I grew up in the 1990s listening to NBC Radio – Radio Kundu – which was informative and always reaching out to the population of Papua New Guinea who could afford a transmitter radio.

From entertaining string band tunes, toksave segments and nationwide news coverage to the popular school broadcasts in classrooms, the National Broadcasting Corporation was the real voice of Papua New Guinea.

It contributed immensely to the nation’s independence, growth and development and stood steadfastly to promote good governance and transparency in development issues the country faces.

For more than 40 years it has been the most effective communication medium for most ordinary citizens who benefited from its nationwide coverage.

I was a young kid back then and grew up inspired to take up a job in radio broadcasting, particularly with the NBC.

Radio Morobe was the ultimate choice for listeners all over this province. It broadcast on medium wave, shortwave and FM frequencies and reached even the rural and isolated regions of Morobe and neighbouring provinces.

The Radio Morobe studio building was constructed and opened in October 1971 and since then it, like its pioneer broadcasters, have aged with time into the 21st century.

The Morobe provincial government has neglected its upgrading and funding over the last 10 years or more and the building has crumbled.

It was condemned in October 2018.

I joined the NBC in 2015 and until now have worked among a new crop of officers and a few oldies.

There are some notable areas where the Morobe provincial government has failed to assist NBC Morobe despite provincial governments being tasked to upkeep NBC radio services.

There has been little or no annual funding for station operations; a tranmission tower built for NBC Morobe was taken over and managed by the provincial authority, making millions but with nothing from its revenue given to NBC Morobe; poor general maintenance and replacement of studio facilities; and transmission not reaching the wider population in remote areas.

District authorities do not realise the power of communication to their people and the need to fund its reach in their electorates.

Politicians and aspiring politicians make empty promises and use the radio to promote their agendas, but go into hiding when elected

And now the radio station structure has been condemned by authorities as unsafe.

NBC Morobe is no longer broadcasting

Furthermore, NBC Morobe management and staff are now locked out of their temporary studio because bill have not been paid. The landlord is the provincial government through its business arm Morobe Sustainable Development Ltd.

It has been almost six months since the NBC building was condemned by PNG Power as unsafe. Nothing concrete has been done to rebuild it despite political promises.

NBC Morobe has been off-air for about three months and staff are still on the payroll without being at work. The same problem is being faced by the majority of NBC radio stations nationwide.

Our people are being denied their freedom to be informed on their government’s performance. And information on health, education and disaster awareness are not reaching the people.

Land and resource owners are being denied their freedom of expression. The people can no longer send toksaves [announcements] to their loved ones, but are forced to pay for expensive and often poor telecommunication methods.

The high cost of sea travel and road trips on deteriorating roads have cost so many lives, yet our government keeps promising the people that they will fix NBC services.

As multi-million kina resource extraction projects sprout all over Morobe, our people are not informed on the positive and negative impacts to their land, sea and rivers.

I hope our new communication minister Koni Iguan can fix this. His own Markham electorate cannot receive the NBC signal and the Markham valley itself is an important economic hub of this country.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Martin Hadlow

As a former Station Manager of Radio Morobe (1972-73), this is a depressing tale.

Unfortunately, the fate of 'Maus Blong Kundu' seems to echo the entire experience of NBC Provincial radio stations in this day and age.

Neglect of staff and physical broadcasting facilities, combined with a complete lack of interest by the authorities in reaching out to Papua New Guinean people in remote locations to offer independent news and development information.

Radio Morobe's library once held a treasure trove of tape recordings of traditional music, oral histories, 'stori blong ol tumbuna' and other unique material. I guess it has all gone.

Shameful, simply shameful.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)