Community Radios a Tool for Resilience in Haiti
The UNESCO office in Haiti, in collaboration with the Radio School and the Medialternatif Group, organized a webinar on February 12, 2020 to celebrate World Radio Day. Far from being a simple exchange session, this webinar was first and foremost a reflection session on community radio in Haiti as a tool for resilience in isolated communities.
Four themes were discussed during this webinar, the evolution of radio in Haiti, community radio in the age of the internet, the fight against misinformation and for gender equality on the radio.
Imelienne Ulysse from Rezo Fanm Radyo Kominotè Ayisyen (REFRAKA) focused her intervention on gender policy in community radios. She showed how women in rural areas have not always had access to technology, hence the role of community radios. She called on the managers of these radio stations to consider this social category in their programming.
On the other hand, Kechner Toussaint, director of the Community Radio in Abricot, believes that community radios are catching up with the innovation train. Many of them currently broadcast on the internet and allow the Haitian diaspora to stay in touch with its community. In case of emergency, community radio stations, run by grassroots organizations, are the first line of defense for citizens by broadcasting instructions. In some communities, they serve as rallying points in the event of a disaster.
Although the Haitian press has gone through very difficult times in its history, Jean Rommel Pierre, Journalist, Trainer, estimates that 94% of Haitians listen to the radio. However, many problems affect Haitian broadcasters, especially community radio stations, which do not have all the means to broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To fight against misinformation, Edner Fils Décime recommended continuous training for radio broadcasters. In in order for radio to play its role in Haiti, a synergy must be established between broadcasters. It is a matter of creating a space, like a mirror, that will allow journalists to make a self-analysis, a critical look at how to disseminate information.
“Broadcasters need to question themselves, to train themselves permanently, in order to make reliable information available to the public”