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Church radio news weathers challenges

Radio Veritas Asia popular with Muslims as well as Christians in Bangladesh

Church radio news weathers challenges
Organizers and participants attend Radio Veritas Asia gathering
Uday Immanual Halder, Khulna, Bangladesh

February 21, 2011

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As the Bengali service of Church-run Asian radio station Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) turns 30, it counts more Muslims than Christians among its regular listeners. Some 150 mostly Muslim listeners from all over Bangladesh attended the event with the RVA's Bengali service team at the Caritas Khulna auditorium. Father Proloy Baiddya, RVA Bangladesh service coordinator, said: “Most of our listeners are non-Christians and they regularly join in participatory programs.” Some participants suggested moving the short-wave station to an FM band for better reception. “I’m a regular RVA listener. I like most Mohot Jibon (Great Life) program Monday evening where life and works of great people are broadcasted. It inspires me to build up a better life,” said a Muslim boy Sohag Bepari, 22. Another Muslim girl Naznin Ara Sumi, 20 said, “All the RVA programs are good because they teach values and spirituality which are important to make good human being.” Despite its growing popularity, RVA is not immune from financial constraints and challenges ahead, said Father Joyanto S. Gomes, RVA Bangladesh service secretary. “In coming days South Asian language services are expected to be broadcast separately by other teams and there will be no center for us in Manila. The decision will be finalized on February 22,” said Father Gomes, director of Catholic Bishops’ Christian Communications Center (CCC). He added that finance is a major concern for the service. “We need US$300 to produce a one-hour program now, but we get US$74 from RVA. The rest comes from the local church. In the future we have to bear the total cost locally,” he added. The priest said he regretted that recently the government allowed the setting up of 15 community radio stations around the country. But two hopefuls among church media, one of them RVA, were not granted permission. Caritas Bangladesh executive director Benedict Alo D’Rozario, one of the guests told the gathering, “Veritas means truth and Caritas means love, so we’ll stand beside RVA Bangla service if they need. It’s not very difficult to overcome challenges of setting up and run the station here if we work hand in hand.” BA13361.1642

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