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Pakistan

Countering hateful narrative: New radio stations in tribal districts likely to go live next month

  • The attempts of the government to shape its narrative largely remained ineffective in tribal areas as local people mostly relied on foreign radio channels for their information and entertainment
Updated 17 Oct 2020

(Karachi) The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government is likely to make functional new radio stations in the merged districts of the province next month to counter the narratives shaped by foreign radio broadcasts focused on the region.

The radio stations, being established in tribal districts, aim to inform residents of reforms, development initiatives and livelihood opportunities. So far, the attempts of the government to shape its narrative largely remained ineffective in tribal areas as local people mostly relied on foreign radio channels for their information and entertainment.

Foreign radio channels integrated in remote areas since the region witnessed militancy after the US invaded Afghanistan. The stations are set to go live next month.

Countering anti-state propaganda

As part of the process in 2017, the K-P government approved two development programmes: establishing five radio stations in the tribal areas and setting up radio production infrastructure.

Commenting on the matter, Electronic Media Projects Chief at the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations Ghulam Hussain Ghazi said: "The main reason for the radio stations is to counter negative and anti-state propaganda by radio stations operating in Afghanistan."

He added the the first project is expected to be completed at an estimated cost of Rs310 million, while the second project at Rs900 million.

Ghazi mentioned that five radio stations are being established in South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Bajaur, Kurram and Mohmand Agency. "The work on radio station situated in Bajaur has been completed," he stated.

"Hopefully, all of the radio stations will go live by the end of November 2020," he maintained.

Project Cycle-1

According to PC-1, with the setting up of the FM radio stations, the efforts of the provincial and federal functionaries will be highlighted and the stakeholders will get an opportunity to air and share their opinions, views, grievances etc leading to a more open and consensus-based future for merged areas.

Besides, radio stations located in Afghanistan near the border region are engaged in dissemination of negative propaganda against state institutions and they are trying to develop a hateful narrative, it stated.

The PC-1 further states that programmes would be aired in various local dialects to promote the ideology of de-radicalisation and offer a counter narrative to the anti-state elements.