31 August 2017

West Africa: Ecowas to Acquire Unmil Radio

The regional body, ECOWAS, has announced in Monrovia its preparedness to acquire the United Nations-run broadcast facility, UNMIL Radio, with a goal to transform it into a regional broadcaster, broadcasting media contents and promoting ECOWAS values of regional integration, peace and commerce across all 15 member states.

On the 29th of August 2017, during a courtesy call on the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, MICAT, Honorable Eugene Lenn Nagbe, an ECOWAS delegation headed by its Vice President and Ambassador to Liberia, informed Minister Nagbe that the impending hand-over of the UNMIL Radio facility was in line with a United Nations Security Council resolution transferring the operation of the asset over to ECOWAS on the back of the UN mission's closure in Liberia.

Minister Nagbe, in response, announced the willingness of the Government of Liberia to collaborate with the ECOWAS Commission in the hand-over exercise of the facility in addition to plans to expand broadcast across the region, adding that the country is glad to be the host of an ECOWAS regional broadcast radio and television facility.

The Minister further stated that GoL's cooperative posture reflects the commitment of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to promote ECOWAS' mandate of peace and regional cooperation. President Sirleaf, the recent past Chairperson of the ECOWAS head of states and a prominent and well-respected member of the ECOWAS community, continues to commit to regional peace, cooperation and integration.

Both parties, as an outcome of the discussion, agreed to organize an expert meeting to conclude the technical details around the transition and expansion plan as well as frequency acquisition across various member states. This expert gathering will be followed by a ministerial meeting of all 15 members' states of ECOWAS.

Broadcast will be done in the commission's three official languages-English, French and Portuguese. This new take-over initiative will see the extension of the broadcast region beyond neighboring countries (Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea) currently covered by UNMIL Radio.

The formation of an ECOWAS radio is in line with a declaration of the ECOWAS head of states in 2000 commissioning the establishment of a regional radio to broadcast media contents to all 15 member states with the purpose of promoting ECOWAS' values. The radio content also seeks to target ECOWAS citizens residing in the region as well as members of the ECOWAS Diaspora.

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