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$15 Million AM Radio Facility Better, Covers Maritime Islands

$15 Million AM Radio Facility Better, Covers Maritime Islands
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (from left), Japanese Ambassador to Fiji Masahiro Omura, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, JICA resident Representatives Hiroyuki Sawada and Fiji Broadcasting Corporation CEO, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the launching of new medium wave radio transmission facility in Nakasi, Nausori on August 11, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
August 12
11:00 2017

Fijians in all maritime islands can now tune in to the recently installed and clearer Amplitude Modulated (AM) Signal that will be broadcasted on two main radio stations.

The new medium wave radio transmission $15 million facility is managed by Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and funded by the government of Japan will air programmes on both Radio Fiji One and Gold stations.

Officiating at the launch in Naulu, Nakasi on Friday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Fijians living in Vanuabalavu, Lakeba or Ovalau could now tune on to the radio and join listeners around the country through a range of AM programming.

Mr Bainimarama said through this upgrade Fiji had now achieved a 100 per cent coverage for all outer islands.

“It means we will now have access to critical flows of information programming on youth development, women’s issues, health, agriculture and many other topics,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“The right to access information is one of the most important rights my Government has sworn to uphold.”

Mr Bainimarama says the massive effort to bring high quality education throughout the islands is to have every Fijian child taught accurately and have relevant and up-to date materials.

“That is why we are expanding our network of cellular data and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services. By December, we will extend the reach of free to air digital television to all of Fiji using satellites and terrestrial technology to bring a range of programmes to the Fijian communities,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said the Fijian Government first signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Japan where he believed that information belonged to the Fijian people and access to information was the life blood of the nation.

Mr Bainimarama said the AM radio infrastructure is more resilient to severe weather patterns than Frequency Modulation (FM) systems.

Meanwhile, the government of Japan was pleased to announce the completion of a project as it includes the installation of a 60-metre antenna system, two AM radio transmitters funded through Japan’s Grant Aid programme.

Ambassador of Japan Masahiro Omura said the Prime Minister’s presence at the event showed the Fijian Government’s serious commitment to reduction of risks from natural disasters.

Mr Omura said the threat of natural disasters has been and will be increasing due to climate change and strengthening of preparedness is strongly wished for in Fiji as well.

He said in order to respond swiftly to natural disasters, appropriate transmission of relevant information is crucial.

“In Fiji, however, one of the most effective means of information transmission, namely medium wave radio transmission has been out of order since 2013,” Mr Omuro said.

He said in many remote islands, radio broadcasting became unavailable.

The Fijian Government requested assistance from Japan and the Japanese government decided to extend their grant aid assistance.

FACTS

  • The current medium wave radio (AM) broadcast is provided by Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) through the transmitter it acquired in 2000.
  • However, the transmitter faced continuous breakdowns due to aging infrastructure leading to deterioration which resulted in broadcast interruption in 2013
  • The Exchange of Notes for the grant aid project was signed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the then Ambassador of Japan Takuji Hanatani on August 31, 2015

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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