Kathmandu, May 22 (Face to Face)- South Asia’s first independent community radio, Radio Sagarmatha 102.4 MHz has stepped into its 24th year of broadcast last Friday.
On this auspicious occasion, Radio Sagarmatha received feedbacks and good wishes from Prime Minister, Former President, Ministers, Member of Parliaments, Government officials, Chief(s) of Security, Media SectorCampaigners, Experts from different fields, listeners andwell-wishers.
Despite the nation-wide lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, Radio Sagarmatha broadcast live content from 6:00 am in the morning to 5:00 pm in the eveningon the occasion of its 23rd anniversary from its own building located in Bhanimandal, Ringroad, Lalitpur.
Kosmos Bishwokarma, President of Radio Sagarmatha Operation Board and Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists, inaugurated the anniversary program with a short message.Besides Friday specials like KhabarPatrika and Halchal, all the other programs aired were especially designed for the anniversary.
Radio Sagarmatha, the first independent community radio station in Nepal, is also famous for being the first independent community broadcasting station in South Asia.
Starting its trial broadcast from 2052 BS, Radio Sagarmatha102.4 MHz had started its official broadcast from Jestha 1, 2054 BS.Radio Sagarmatha, which is operated by Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ), has been broadcasting informative, contextual discussions, entertainment programs and news for its listeners from its earliest days.
On the occasion of its 23rd anniversary, PM KP Sharma Oli,Former President Dr. Ram BaranYadav, Health Minister BhanuBhaktaDhakal and Agriculture Minister Ghanshyam Bhusal have conveyed their good wishes. PM KP Sharma Oli stated that Radio Sagarmatha has been the leader for the establishment and durability of many more community radios all over Nepal which are continuously working to keep the rural people informed about the current situations. With a congratulatory note from the Prime Minister, he has further wished for Radio Sagarmatha to maintain its balanced and unbiased reporting in the days to come as well.
Former President Dr. Yadav acknowledged the radio’s contribution towards the environmental sector and shared that he is a regular listener of Radio Sagarmatha.He perceives the radio to be a platform for actively advocating and lobbying for issues related to the forests and environment. Lastly, he encouraged Radio Sagarmathato raise these issues with vigor in the future as well.
Similarly, Health Minister Dhakal stressed that the radio has been dedicated to advocate for solving the problems that arise in the society.
Agriculture and Livestock Development Minister Bhusal shared that Radio Sagarmatha is the guardian organization for all the community radios in the nation. He also shared that the government is planning for developing and exploring the agriculture potentials inside the country.
Kosmos Bishwokarma, President of Radio Sagarmatha Operation Board and Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ),shared his gratitude towards the partners, well-wishers, advertisers and organizations who have walked hand in hand with the radio over the years.Highlighting the importance of radios to change the society in the recent years, he shared that operating the radio in a sustainable way will be a huge challengein the future.He pointed out that the radio needs to work with all the three levels of the government in the coming days, especially collaborating with the local government.
Radio Sagarmatha has increased its broadcast time from 2 hours to 16 hours every day. In its broadcast, Radio Sagarmatha has been advocating for people’s right to information, right to freedom of expression, social justice, democratic practice and culture, open discussions on social issues, discipline and human rights. It has given more focus upon environment and sustainable development issues and social issues.
Radio Sagarmatha was forced to stop its broadcast because of the interference from the nation during the monarchy in Nepal. The government had given an order to stop the radio when Radio Sagarmatha had re-broadcast the interview with the then Maoist revolution leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda which was a part of the relay broadcast of the BBC Nepali Service.
Many strikes were carried out showing dissatisfaction towards the government’s order to shut down the radio station. After the Supreme Court gave its temporary order not to shut down the radio station, the radio had once again started its broadcast forty four hours later after that decision was made.
Radio Sagarmatha had initially started its broadcast from Kaldhara and then from Patan dhoka and afterwards from Bakhundole. Now, it has been carrying out the broadcast from its own earthquake resistant building located in Bhanimandal, Ringroad, Lalitpur. It has been continuing its journey despite the various hurdles like the interference from the then government, calamity brought by the earthquake and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Krishna Prasad Sigdyal is the Founder President of Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists under which Radio Sagarmatha, the first independent community broadcast radio station in South Asia,is being operated.