Closure of radio channels in FATA
PESHAWAR: I would like to bring to the attention of the Governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Engineer Shaukatullah Khan, to a serious issue of public concern. Radio Khyber, Radio Razmak and Radio Miranshah which operated in the most deprived region of Pakistan, the tribal areas, were shut down in May this year. Since then, the people of the tribal areas have been deprived of the only media being operated in the region.
The radio channels, supervised and funded by the Fata Secretariat, were running short of funds, which led to them being shut down. However, according to media reports, funds have been provided for reopening the radios. The K-P governor has issued a written order to officials of the Fata Secretariat to reopen the radios and regularise the services of all the employees. But all these instructions have fallen on deaf ears. Some bureaucrats of the Fata Secretariat are creating hurdles in the way of the process of reopening the radio channels for unknown reasons.
Dozens of young broadcast journalists associated with radios have been rendered jobless. Those at the helm of affairs are oblivious to the loss inflicted upon the state by the closure of these radios.
It is a fact that radio has been a powerful tool in the tribal areas for a long time. It is the only media accepted by the tribal people. They listen to it regularly and it plays a key role in shaping public opinion. Before launching an armed struggle against the state, notorious militant commander Mullah Fazalullah established a small FM radio channel to spread his message. Fazalullah’s idea worked very well and he successfully conveyed his message to people across the Swat valley.
Because of Fata’s difficult geography, lack of access to the internet and television, and the lack of education among the majority of the local population, radio broadcasting has been a successful tool for disseminating information, creating awareness and educating people in the region. I humbly request the K-P governor to kindly look into the issue and resolve it on a war footing.