New Dawn is a privately-owned station in Buka, the main town of the Bougainville Autonomous Region of Autonomous Papua New Guinea. The island of Bougainville, also known as North Solomons, shares much in common with the adjacent western Solomon Islands. We are delighted to welcome New dawn into our local partners network, the Community Media Forum.
Background, Description and Mission
Talk of establishing a community radio station in Bougainville started around 2000. It was decided to call it New Dawn FM to mark the optimism about the future of Bougainville following the civil war. The initial mission of the station therefore addresses post conflict nation building, rehabilitation and peace, including acting as a forum for the debate on independence. The station finally came to air in 2008 with assistance from UNESCO and the German Government. A focus on educational programmes was added in 2010 as the station partnered with Commonwealth of Learning in their Healthy Communities programme. Today the station sees itself in a position to become a national broadcaster if and when Bougainville gains independence, whilst remaining loyal to community and participatory approaches to their programming.
Location and context
New Dawn FM is located in the centre of Buka town situated on an island of the same name, just off the northern end of Bougainville Island, eastern Papua New Guinea. The old Bougainville Province has been renamed the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) following the ending of a civil war that raged between 1988 and 1997, triggered by disputes and social change caused by the large Panguna mine that opened in the early 1970s. During the war, the PNG government attempted to put down a rising independence movement by force, and the region collapsed into disarray with villages being razed and terrorised by both sides, resulting in thousands of people dead, injured or internally displaced. The war came to an end following a peace deal brokered by New Zealand, and the establishment of an Autonomous Bougainville Government. Today, issues for Bougainville include inclusive development, high rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria. The role women can play in addressing these issues is a feature of Bougainville, where traditionally they held important decision-making positions in the family and community. This is reflected in the re-emergence of strong and active women’s groups. The region is also strongly Christian and the churches are also key partners in development. In Bougainville, most people live by farming, subsistence gardening and fishing. The island produces copra, cocoa,vanilla,timber. Apart from New Dawn FM, PNG’s national broadcaster NBC also operates in Buka. New Dawn have plans to extend their FM coverage to all of Bougainville.
The station is privately owned by Directors Aloysius and Maria Laukai and is registered under their company TAMBOLEMA TRADING LIMITED.
There is a Board of Governors which provides accountability and representation AND GUIDANCE.
The Board is chaired by FR. JOHN KORAN with board members, Thomas KATHOA, Pius Kapu, Aloysius Laukai and Maria Laukai.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) are supporting New Dawn FM with annual financial assistance and are also customers of the station regarding broadcasting government information and in the “Know Your Government” educational series of programmes.
- The Bougainville Inter-Church Women’s Forum (BICHWF) are participants in the Bogenvil Meri Tede (BMT) community learning programme, and the radio broadcasts and services also support their youth literacy training and women’s group activities.
- Bougainville Women’s Forum under the ABG’s Community Development Division including its Minister, ROSE PIHEI are also content partners in the BMT
- CARE International’s local office are also content partners in the BMT. The New Dawn services are also supporting their peer education programme for youth focusing on HIV/AIDS
- World Vision are content partners in the BMT. They also rent premises behind the New Dawn station and share communications.
- Commonwealth of Learning (COL) have been partnering with New Dawn FM building capacity for participatory radio with a focus on educational radio. The BMT programme has been developed under COL’s Healthy Communities programme. COL also assisted the station and partners with training on introducing mobiles into learning for development.
- The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has been assisting NDFM with linkages to regional organisations and programmes sharing content and technical media training.
- UNESCO has provided initial financing for the establishment of NDFM.
- The German Government also provided financing for the establishment.
- The National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has a local station in Buka and the stations share content.
New Dawn FM has a sustainable business model based on private ownership.
Revenues are raised from the following:
- Broadcasting sponsors. A number of business houses sponsor programmes with a monthly payment. Currently at least 50% of new Dawn’s broadcasts are sponsored in this way.
- Facilities rental. The Directors are expanding the facilities at the station to include a conference/workshop facility with accommodation. Adjacent premises owned by the business are also rented out to World Vision.
- Training. The station is becoming a centre for technical expertise in the area of ICT and digital media. It is planned to offer technical training for local organisations.
- Message services
- Contract reporting
- PA System and Equipment Hire/Camera/Sound System/Projector
- Donors including the Autonomous Bougainville Government
The station currently employs a staff of 15 in four departments: (1) Broadcasting; (2) Production/programming; (3) Reception and (4) News. The BMT series of programmes involved the station cp-producing educational programmes in partnership with several organisations, from whom the station can draw on for collaborative activities.
Main focus of activities
The station has two main mission areas;
- Entertainment and information service. It sees itself as a high quality and professional broadcasting service providing a popular and informative radio service for all Bougainville people,
- New Dawn FM was created to be the voice of a new, autonomous and peaceful Bougainville. The station sees their role as crucially important in educating and informing people about issues concerning Economic development, rehabilitation, peace and democracy building, and as a forum for all people to have a voice in the conversation about independence.
Aspects of Social Change
New Dawn FM has become very popular in the areas of North Bougainville where it has coverage (approximately 10% of Bougainville’s 250,000 population) and expects this popularity to increase as the station expands its coverage. People in rural areas especially find the station very informative, for instance in providing up to the minute news on election results and informing people about the machinery of their new government, and their associated civil and human rights. In addition to the core theme of strengthening democracy through civic education, the station works with its partners to support development activities in a number of areas including:
- Working with women’s organisations to support women’s role as agents of development
- Behaviour change communication and education on the communities’ priority health issues
- Peer education on HIV/AIDS
- Youth Literacy training
- Agriculture development/Fishing/Mining promotions
- Also members of Human Rights Group under UN mission on Bougainville
Media and Methods
- FM radio broadcasting merging live pre-recorded and archive materials in digital formats. Live content is mixed in as required from various microphone and telephony feeds. Mixmeister is used as a playlist manager. The station is looking at upgrading and integrating its systems, and has been evaluating the Grameen Radio Inter- Networking System (GRINS) and other systems. Also it has already tested the Siemens 24 hour Radio Program in the event the station goes on 24hour broadcast.
- Digital production and editing. The station uses Adobe Audition to pre-record programmes and to capture new content.
- Digital archives. Currently no content management system is in use.
- Important news and information concerning Bougainville is updated on a blog and a news sharing website.
- Posting news online
- Partnership with Papua New Guinea’s theNational Newspaper
- Also PNG’s FM 100 gets Bougainville’s stories from the New Dawn FM site
- Participatory radio programmes
- A new service is launched whereby news/information is available via SMS using Frontline SMS
The station has arranged for news releases to be sent from Government, companies and individuals and follow up to record more detailed programmes for their Current Affairs program which is aired each night at 7pm Monday to Friday and repeated every morning at 7 am. They also keep their ear to the ground for tips on good stories, and make news out of them. They cover happenings all over Bougainville.
Aloysius explains, “We also attend press conferences with visiting delegations into Bougainville and make news in response to interest from all over Bougainville. We are prepared to move all over Bougainville for news, and often we are the only reporters covering the stories.”
They also extract news items from the recordings that they make from their Bogenvil Mere Tede and other educational programmes.
In regard to music shows, New Dawn has Top 10 Hits on Saturday nights, gathered from the requests that they receive. Sports are covered live, with the draws and results broadcast after games.
Regarding government information, New Dawn does live broadcasts of ABG Parliament sessions, and this also feeds into their news coverage. They record the President and any of their activities and include the recordings in the Government program which is aired on Monday nights on Radio Bougainville. Another program, “Know Your Government”, concentrates on the constitutional plans and policies since the ABG was formed in 2005.
Other contents come from RITA ‘s Pacific way and Radio Australia’s Tok pisin service of radio programs.
New Dawn’s main achievement is the wide recognition it now has from many partners, including government community and development agencies, as a major voice and forum for the people of Bougainville. Just One year after starting New Dawn FM won a Pacific Award for Communication and Social Change Award from the University of Queensland in Australia.(2009)
The Bogenvil Meri Tede (BMT, Bougainville Women today) is a health learning programme developed at a design workshop held in Buka, 7-10 September 2010. It was organised by New Dawn FM in association with participation from the Ministry of Community Affairs, Bougainville Hospital, Bougainville Inter-Church Council, CARE International, NBC Bougainville, Bougainville Police Service, with sponsorship and training by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the Regional Media Centre of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The programme (part of COL’s Healthy Communities) brings a participatory approach to behaviour change communication, focusing on health priorities identified by the partners. From the Message Matrix and Programme Matrix developed at the workshop, the partners recorded a series of radio broadcasts that have been broadcast each Wednesday night. This has been followed up in May 2011 by training sponsored by COL, on Digital Editing and also another program one week later on introducing mobiles to support learning; for instance in reinforcing the health messages, learner support and monitoring.
New Dawn have also partnered with the Autonomous Bougainville Government to broadcast regular learning programmes about their new government called “Know Your Government”, with discussion on the machinery of government, democracy and the proposed referendum on independence.
Constraints and Challenges
- Need to expand coverage across Bougainville
- Need to centralise media systems
Story / Snapshot
New Dawn FM has become a premier News and Entertainer for the Autonomous Bougainville Region.
It has created its own credibility and become the main distributor of the Government’s news reports.
Most of the news from the office of the President are sent first to New Dawn FM where it is now distributed to media outlets in PNG , Australia and New Zealand.
The ABG has seen New Dawn FM as its main partner and has promised to further assist the Station under its annual budget.