Maputo — Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on Wednesday declared that the expansion of community radios through all localities in the country is an imperative, bearing in mind the role they can play in access to information and knowledge, and in the promotion of peace, unity and development in rural communities.
He was speaking in Maputo during a working visit to the government's Mass Communications Institute (ICS), which runs a network of 55 community radios.
Rosario stressed that "the government's agenda rests on the promotion of peace, unity among Mozambicans, and development. And this is achieved starting from the rural communities. Without access to information and to knowledge, this agenda cannot easily be carried out".
"We need an informed population, which has access to knowledge, so that they can transform what they already have into opportunities for income and jobs", he added.
Coverage of the entire country by the ICS network, however, will need another 99 community radios. At a meeting with the ICS staff, Rosario was faced with complaints about inadequate government funding, low wages and obsolete equipment. The outside partners who once assisted the ICS have reduced their support, and the subvention from the state budget is meagre.
Delivering a message from all the workers, ICS staff member Belmiro Timoteo said "the financial difficulties are reflected, above all, in the work of the journalists, who, for lack of funds, cannot travel regularly to the various districts of the country, where they ought to be gathering and researching in depth the news and other information of interest to the rural communities and to the public in general".
Much of this meeting took place behind closed doors, but at the end Emilia Moiane, director of the government press office (Gabinfo) told reporters that Rosario had given Gabinfo and the ICS 15 days to produce a matrix of answers to the main concerns raised by the workers, which were regarded as legitimate problems