(Internews CEO in Europe, Daniel Bruce was interviewed about media development issues for this World Radio Day broadcast from SOAS Radio.)
For World Radio Day 2016, Suzanne Savage of SOAS Radio interviewed Internews CEO Daniel Bruce, who spoke about the importance of community radio in post-conflict zones and the growing challenges journalists are facing today.
Bruce lauded the journalists that Internews works with in some of the most difficult regions of the world. “…there are legions and legions of radio journalists around the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa who do this stuff just because they know the social good that is does but they’re paid little or nothing, and often find themselves in very challenging situations because of the career path that they’ve chosen.”
He also noted that the last decade has been one of the most dangerous for journalists with more journalists killed in the line of duty around the world than ever before.
“When one looks more broadly at issues of press freedom, media freedom, individuals ability to access information with the dawn of the Internet, so too has come greater sophistication in the case of some more repressive regimes and governments in their ability to restrict freedom of press at all…Only one in seven people on the planet live in a country with a free press and that’s not really okay.”
Reflecting on his experience when he first started working for Internews as a country director in Uganda, Bruce spoke about the role of local radio after conflict. In Uganda, there was an acute stigmatization of young women who had been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
“I supported a number of radio journalists to produce a really powerful stream of programming to tackle this issue and to open the public conversation on it,” he said. “Because you can’t ignore it because a peace deal is only a peace deal. It’s the tip of the iceberg but until you start reporting on the rest of the iceberg, then you don’t know what you’ve lost in peace and I think that’s where local radio has such a powerful role in long term conflict mitigation and peace building.”
“The most important challenge that we face is that as the world becomes more connected and as the world gets access to more information and more opportunity to express itself, there is never a greater need to support high quality local content,” said Bruce in closing.
Even with greater access to the Internet he noted that, “there’s no use reading Wikipedia everyday if you haven’t got content that matters to you on the ground at a local level and I contend that’s the greatest information challenge of our age really in the next five to ten years.”
Listen to the full interview.