7 Jun 2010

Community radio station launched in Tonga in response to tsunami

10:12 am on 7 June 2010

A community radio station has been established in Tonga in response to September's devastating tsunami.

The new FM station on Niuatoputapu was launched last week by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Regional Media Centre and its Pacific Rural Internet Connectivity System, PacRICS.

A spokesman for PacRICS, Ian Thomson, says Niuatoputapu is too remote to receive the country's main radio transmissions.

He says the new station is a tool to help the community share information and rebuild itself after a disaster.

"Of course it's going to play music; so there's going to be local Tongan music. But also we've trained the local villagers to be able to go out and interview people. So they're going out to interview government officials and other interesting people like chiefs on the island, things like that, on topical issues that are important for them to understand a little bit about."

Ian Thomson says the station will broadcast government announcements and discussions on current issues affecting the island, including outbreaks of disease.