In Ghana, Professor Kwame KariKari, a former Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), has praised the inalienable role of community radio in promoting social justice and community development through activism and social mobilisation to achieve a common purpose.
Speaking during the 25th-anniversary lecture of Radio Progress, a community radio station in Wa, on the theme: “Radio Progress @25, a Star of Development of the Upper West Region”, Prof. Karikari said beyond the traditional role of the media in providing information, news, entertainment, and education to its audience, the community radio also served as an agency for mobilising the community to pursue causes of public interest to the community.
Radio Progress was established by the Catholic Church in 1997, the premier community radio station in Ghana. It had since championed the region’s development through its public interest programming and promotion of healthy social and cultural values, which were the onuses of community radio.
The event was attended by stakeholders from the private and public sectors, media, the religious community, academia, and former radio station staff, including its founding Manager, Dr Lawrence Naaikuur.
Prof. Karikari said, “Community Radio must strive to promote accountability by assisting the community in demanding responsibility of duty bearers and people in public offices of responsibility.”
Other vital roles of community radio, Prof. Karikari identified included promoting peace and security, combating negative and backward ideas that impeded human development and social progress and advocating the development, improvement, and social and economic well-being of citizens, among others.
He, however, explained that despite the crucial role of community radio, it faced distressed economic challenges due to the limited advertising sources and virtually no sources of revenue to operate with.
“These difficulties notwithstanding, many community radio stations in Ghana have made important contributions by engaging in activities to promote social justice courses for their communities”, Prof. Karikari explained.