22 Apr 2016

Politicians have added to Radio Vanuatu's money woes

12:26 pm on 22 April 2016

Political interference over the years has made maintaining radio transmission across the archipelago difficult, the new chair of the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation board says.

A radio mast on the Vanuatu island of Tanna.

A radio mast on the Vanuatu island of Tanna. Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana

The government recently replaced the old board following concerns over the lack of the public broadcaster's ability to reach the outer islands.

New chair Johnety Jerety said nation-wide coverage had to be implemented by 1 July under the government's hundred day plan.

Johnety Jerety left the VBTC in 2003 after working there as a journalist.

He said despite increases in government funding to the Corporation over the years, political interference had meant not all funds have been used for its intended purpose.

"Politicians come as members of parliament and then they use the opportunity to turn out funds from the institution and make it very difficult for the institution to have enough or appropriate funds to maintain its transmission system."

Johnety Jerety said Radio Vanuatu's financial difficulties had been heightened by the emergence of several other FM stations, which were all competing for advertising dollars.

Mr Jerety is confident nation-wide coverage will be achieved by Radio Vanuatu soon.

He said transmission had deteriorated over the years, mostly because of poor maintenance.

But Mr Jerety said part of the problem was that people were buying cheap radios.

"They're not compatible to meet the standard for our transmission system within here so that is why most of the ni-Van [indigenous people] within the islands are not able to have the coverage received throughout the island."

Johnety Jerety said they were now advising people to buy short-wave radios that are compatible.

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