News: First government radio station in Paktika goes live
By U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Emily Chilson
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team joined Paktika’s governor and provincial line directors to commemorate the opening of their government’s first radio station here, Nov. 14.
Paktika Gov. Moheebullah Samim and Director of Information and Culture Bashir Mohammadi hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony for The National Voice of Paktika radio station 93.2 FM.
Samim, who served as the provincial Director of Information and Culture in Ghazni Province and the head of Kabul’s monthly magazine ZamZam in 2004, understands the significance of media in creating a secure Afghanistan.
“This is a good achievement for the people,” Samim said before cutting the ceremonial ribbon. “This is the first government radio station in Paktika, and it will help us communicate with the people.”
“Media is very important,” he added. “It’s a good source to stop the Taliban and enemy propaganda. This is a symbol of peace and prosperity.”
Following Samim’s speech and a prayer, the ribbon was cut and the crowd entered the radio station to hear the first broadcast. The first few minutes of live broadcast consisted of verses from the Quran and the Afghan National Anthem.
Samim and Mohammadi were the first individuals to speak live on the radio. Samim asked Afghans to help coalition forces provide security.
“Let’s make a bridge between the government and the people,” Samim said.
He also congratulated Mohammadi on the completion of the radio station.
“People will be able to listen to live shows all the time,” Mohammadi said before thanking the governor for serving the people and concluding their broadcast.
Small victories like the completion of this national radio station are signs that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is taking the initiative to lead and support the people.
“The most important thing is that Mohammadi did this himself through GIRoA’s Ministry of Information and Culture in Kabul,” said Jon Rothenberg, U.S. Agency for International Development representative who works closely with Paktika line directors, including Mohammadi. “For me, this is the biggest growth for any director,” Rothenberg added.
From 2007 to 2009, the PRT had the radio station, tower and antennas built for what was originally going to be a government-run AM radio and television station. However, without a maintenance and sustainment plan, the station never became operational.
With a proposal for a government-run FM radio station and an empty building at his disposal, Mohammadi went through the Ministry of Information and Culture in Kabul, Rothenberg explained.
With both the ministry and Samim’s permission, Mohammadi was cleared to work through the BBC to obtain the equipment needed for the FM radio station. The BBC Pashto Service donated an FM transmitter in exchange for rights to install a second repeater that will broadcast BBC’s service on 89.0 FM.
The radio station broadcasts education and healthcare messages as well as a mix of music, Radio Television Afghanistan news and international news from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.
Mohammadi will continue to meet with members of the PRT in order to discuss programming and plan media training for Paktika line directors.
“This is a great day for the people of Paktika, GIRoA and especially the Ministry of Information and Culture,” said Paktika PRT U.S. Navy Cmdr. Donald Cox, of Fort Worth, Texas. “Bashir Mohammadi’s tireless efforts made this project possible and as a result, Paktika’s government officials now have another avenue in which they can connect and communicate with the people.”