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On the air: a voice for the voiceless

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  • George Lessard
    On the air: a voice for the voiceless Home / First Person / May 21, 2008 - Posted by Brian Gabrial by Kim Kierans
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2008
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      On the air: a voice for the voiceless

      Home / First Person /
      May 21, 2008 - Posted by Brian Gabrial
      by Kim Kierans



      This story was more than a year in the making. It started in May 2006. I
      was in Manila researching a paper on radio in Asia and teaching at the
      Konrad Adenaeur Asian Centre for Journalism at Ateneo de Manila
      University. A student told me about a new community radio station opening
      in the northern Philippines. The peasant farmers had saved for three years
      to buy the equipment and open this station. The station gave them an
      outlet to talk about issues that affected farmers, women, children and the
      poor and unemployed in Cagayan province – “to give voice to the

      Radyo Cagayano sounded too good to be true in a country where it’s often
      dangerous to speak out against authorities.

      I was back in Canada when I got the email informing me that the middle of
      the night on July 1, 2006, masked men wearing army uniforms kicked open
      the door of the Radyo Cagayano, assaulted volunteer staff and set fire to
      the station, a small metal building the size of shipping container. The
      community’s hard work and dreams went up in smoke. At that moment I knew I
      had to tell their story – the heartbreak and their instant resolve to
      rebuild. ........

      Listen to “Rising from the Ashes”

      The Current: Part 3

      Philippines Radio Documentary

      Radyo Cagayano is not your typical radio station. It was founded by
      peasants, and it was to serve as a communal voice for many in a rural area
      of the Philippines. The station was a way to agitate - on the airwaves -
      for social change. For land reform and lower-interest loans.

      That was, until the station was burned down. Before it even got up and
      running. Allegations immediately surfaced that the Philippine military was
      responsible. The Philippine government had long argued the station was run
      by communist insurgents.

      Kim Kierans was in the Philippines and has prepared a documentary about
      the conflict and controversy surrounding Radyo Cagayano. Kim Kierans is
      the director of the School of Journalism at the University of King's
      College and she joined us from Halifax.

      Listen to The Current:Part 3
      (Due to various rights issues some segments may be edited for internet use)
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