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Radio Sagarmatha. the first independent radio station in Nepal and the first community broad-casting station in South Asia. will start broad-casting its programmes by the end of June. Supported by UNESCO. the station will be run by a consortium of four NGOs -the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ). the Nepal Press Institute. the Worldview International Foundation-Nepal and the Himal Association. Broadcasting on a 100 watt frequency modulation transmitter, Radio Sagarmatha will only air programmes on environment protection and development. Radio is the most potent medium of mass communication in Nepal. where two- thirds of the country is mountainous and 70 per cent of the population is illiterate. The station is intended as an experiment for setting up a network of similar small stations in rural Nepal. According to Murari Shivakoti, NEFEJ president and director of Radio Sagarmatha. the aim of the station is "to inform. educate and entertain the target communities with programmes that help them understand issues better and provide informed choices".
Outlining the potential of community radio, NEFEJ executive director. Om Khadka. said. "With its great potential for two-way communication. one objective of Radio Sagarmatha is to bridge the gap between the decision makers and the grassroots."
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