How to connect isolated communities with more than 700 languages? : SIGNIS in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
With the collaboration of SIGNIS Services Rome, the network of Catholic radios in Burkina Faso is launched
Ouagadougou, February 13th, 2018 (SSR). "After more than ten years of research, trials and errors, the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications is pleased to start today, the daily satellite connection of 14 diocesan radios spread over all 15 dioceses of our country. It's a first in Africa!”. It is with these words that Mons. Lucas Sanou, Bishop of Banfora and President of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina-Niger, expressed his joy and satisfaction on the occasion of the inauguration, on February 12 in Ouagadougou, of the Catholic radio network of Burkina Faso (Réseau RCBurkina), whose goal is to create a common framework of expression for the entire Church-family of God in Burkina Faso. In his address, Mons. Lucas provided a historical overview of the circumstances of birth of the RCBurkina network paying tribute to the first diocesan leaders of communication, who believed in the necessity and the opportunity to pool their strengths in the media field. It is in this momentum of ideas that the Association of Catholic Radios of Burkina Faso (ARCB) was born, anticipating the idea of launching the RCBurkina network which the ARCB Association now manages, under the coordination of Fr. Laurent Balma. The implementation of the RCBurkina network required significant investments. The Bishop of Banfora thanked the the financial support of the Italian Episcopal Conference. Technical support was provided by SIGNIS Services Rome (SSR), whose involvement was underlined by Mons. Lucas: "Allow me here to acknowledge the great involvement of our technical partner SIGNIS Services Rome, in the person of Father Fabrizio Colombo, who with his team in Rome helped us in the development of the project until its financing. He has often come to our country for trainings or events like FESPACO. He is still here today to support the coordinator and his team in perfecting the technical installations. May he find here all our gratitude.” Transmitted live via satellite to all radio stations in the network, and online on the rcburkina.org website, the event was national in scope. Among the participants was the Minister of Communication of Burkina Faso, his Excellency Rémis Fulgance Dandjinou who hailed the arrival of this new communication system of the church in Burkina Faso, considering it as an opportunity to strengthen social cohesion. The RCB network operates from a central radio station located in Ouagadougou, which has a studio and a satellite-type antenna. This radio transmits and broadcasts all of its own programs every day through the website rcburkina.org, thanks to streaming / webradio technology. Part of these daily programs are transmitted live, via satellite, to the 14 radios of the system, which, thanks to their own satellite antennas, receive these same programs and broadcast them live via FM, for the happiness of their listeners. Each of the 14 radios feeds the network through its direct transmissions, transmitted to all the other radios, according to the same process and according to a programming that gives all radios the opportunity to broadcast through the radios of the system.
SIGNIS celebrates World Radio day 2018
Brussels, February, 13th, 2018 (SIGNIS). World Radio Day marks the importance of radio in society, today. This year, 2018, UNESCO is dedicating World Radio Day to the theme of radio and sports. “Radio provides the opportunity to nurture diversity, as a force for dialogue and tolerance.” -Audrey Azoulay. In the following article, SIGNIS Vice President and SIGNIS Radio desk chair, Fr. Paul Samasumo, reflects on the role of SIGNIS and its work with radio over the years till now. To know more about the SIGNIS Radio desk, do get in touch at this email: Radio.email@example.com. Is old media out? Has radio still a future? This is a question you sometimes hear from the new generation with smartphones around their neck. Yes, the transistor radio has more or less disappeared and been replaced by new digital receivers, and yes, you don’t see many portable radios either. However, this does not mean that the essence of radio is gone. Radio may be old media, but it is alive and well. Times change, but the way news, information, and entertainment now arrive through radio, is also evolving. Radio continues to have a special place in the hearts of many, particularly in the SIGNIS association. SIGNIS is the heir of Unda As most of you may already know, SIGNIS is the heir of the Unda. SIGNIS was formed in 2001 by the merger of the International Catholic Organisation for Cinema and Audiovisual (OCIC) and International Catholic Association for Radio and Television (Unda). Unda was founded in 1928 in Cologne (Germany), by Catholic professional radio makers of different countries. The idea was for an organisation that would help the Church face new challenges of a medium which for the first time in history could reach every family and every person worldwide. The founders of Unda understood that the influence of radio on culture and religion was enormous with this new ‘super medium’. As the new medium of the time, radio could easily reach Illiterate as well as literate people. Radio continues to evolve Radio continues to survive because it adapts. If we could paraphrase Mark Twain: Reports of the death of radio have been grossly exaggerated. In the past, portability and immediacy helped it survive. While people were performing other activities and household chores, they could listen to their radio sets. For people in business, religious ministers and even politicians, radio opened new opportunities. Catholic broadcasters saw and continue to see in radio an instrument that can bring people from different horizons together, sharing stories, information and culture. This resonates well with this year’s theme for World Radio Day. For Catholic broadcasters, radio became an instrument of spirituality, evangelization, and truth-telling –covering news glossed over by state media. In the Pacific region, with its hundreds of islands, radio as a medium of communication is still one of the essential means of communication. In Europe Catholic Radio still plays its rightful role. Many people listen to radio stations, especially in their cars. In Portugal, for example, it was the Catholic Radio Renascença which broadcast "Grândola, Vila Morena" as a signal that eventually led to the democratisation of the country on 25 April 1974. The Popes and Radio Vatican The radio inventor, Guglielmo Marconi and Pope Pius XI, founders of Radio Vatican, understood the importance of this medium. On 12 February 1931 when Pope Pius XI launched Radio Vatican, he was looking for a medium that would help him speak to Catholics of the entire world, in many different regions –including totalitarian regimes where freedom to worship was impeded. During the Second World War, Vatican Radio constituted an essential source of information much to the chagrin of Goebbels. Radio Sutatenza, a trailblazer for Catholic radio More than seventy years ago, the Catholic radio, Sutatenza, founded by Catholic Priest Monsignor José Joaquin Salcedo Guarin in Colombia started to evangelize with radio programmes about the Bible but also to help reduce illiteracy; provide information on health as well as give agricultural instruction. The Sutatenza radio programming became a model, in Latin America, where radio became the defacto voice of the voiceless for the indigenous people, ‘campesinos’ and even for mineworkers. Catholic radio broadcasters such as Sutatenza became an inspiration for members of Unda worldwide. Africa: Catholic radio as a pastoral tool for development In Africa, particularly after the First African Synod, dioceses who could, quickly established diocesan radio stations. Social Communications was a key theme of the First African Synod. The Bishops of Africa resolved to use radio as a tool for integral development and evangelization. To illustrate: Once the regulation hurdles had been overcome, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) launched eight Catholic, community-based radio stations between 2010 and 2016. In Africa, typically, the radio stations are in rural areas that have long been marginalised and marked by policies of social, economic exclusion. This exclusion over the years translates to poor service delivery; inadequate infrastructure; high rates of illiteracy and morbidity. On scrutiny, these are themes that resonate with Pope Francis’ push for a Church that ministers to the poor and marginalised. They also have a place in Catholic Social Teaching. After 50 years, Radio Veritas is still making waves in Asia 60 years ago, the Southeast Asian Bishops ‘conference decided to launch a radio international in their region. It became a reality with Radio Veritas Asia in 1969. Radio Veritas Asia broadcasts in different languages of Asia. The radio station has been at the forefront of broadcasting not only material of a religious nature but also programmes that promote religious and cultural dialogue. Other critical areas of transmission include social and cultural issues; news and information and on community building. In 2015 UNESCO recognised the radio’s audio files as part of the collection included in the Memory of the World Program and Digital Preservation of Documentary Heritage. SIGNIS Services Rome While embracing new media, SIGNIS continues with its traditional support to its vast network of legacy media. Towards the end of the 1950s, a unique missionary service was founded in the Vatican specifically to support missionaries and their media in the missions. This is what is known today as the SIGNIS Services Rome (SSR) office. SIGNIS Services Rome continues to support the Church of the south with sourcing relevant and robust equipment and supporting the pastoral development of social communications in Africa, Asia and Latin America. SIGNIS Services Rome not only ships equipment to missions but supports and provides aftersales service and assists dioceses and institutions with the pastoral direction in the fast-changing maze of media technologies. The SIGNIS Radio Desk One way SIGNIS is supporting the Church’s engagement with media is through the work of six Desks (committees or teams) organised around six major types of media: digital, film, journalism, media education, radio and television. With the Radio desk, the current Radio desk Chair is Fr. Paul Samasumo. The secretary, Edgar Rubio, a member of staff at SIGNIS Brussels assists him. The desk also works with radio professionals on all the continents. Being a worldwide association for Catholic communicators, SIGNIS has a broad mandate. We aim to engage with media professionals and support Catholic communicators, throughout the world.