Radio stations to unite people during electoral period

Burundian radio stations are called to be the main tool to unite people especially during the electoral period.

“Radio stations should give the floor to everyone regardless of their interests”

Nestor Nkurunziza, journalist Analyst, says journalists need to be aware of the different stages of the electoral process and work accordingly to unite people. “The elections are prepared since the normal period. Radios must help the population to know their duties and rights, the constitution and amended laws during the normal period”.

He says before, during and after the elections, a journalist must remember his /her responsibility to give the floor to everyone, to provide verified information and break stereotypes. “A journalist has to behave as a peace promoter”.

Mr. Nkurunziza calls on different radio stations operating in Burundi to stand out against widespread hate speeches on social media.

The ministry of communication says some radio stations do not focus on unity and tolerance while they are the best tools of communication. “Unfortunately, some of the radio stations do not focus on unity messages. They are manipulated by politicians”.

Juma Edouard Nduwayo, the national radio representative says radios should give balanced stories. “Radio station journalists should verify the information and give microphones to all people regardless of their interests,” he says, adding that there is no democracy without radios and freedom of expression.

Mr. Nduwayo says radio stations should focus on dialogue with different actors. “Dialogue leads to tolerance and tolerance leads to peace”.

Josephine Ntahobari, who delivered the speech on behalf of UNESCO, says radios have sparked new conversations and broadcast new ideas into home villages, universities and workplaces. “Dialogue across airwaves can offer an antidote to negativity that sometimes seems to dominate online news”.

While the World Radio Day is celebrated on every February 13, it was an opportunity for Burundian media professionals to discuss the role of radio stations in promoting dialogue, tolerance and peace in order to prepare for the 2020 elections.