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KOKOPO, Papua New Guinea (October 26, 1999 – The National/Pacific Media Watch/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Provincial radio stations have a greater role than other stations to play in communication with the majority of people in Papua New Guinea's rural and coastal communities, according to Kokopo MP Sir Rabbie Namaliu.

Unfortunately, many provincial radio stations have fallen into disrepair in recent years and have not been functionally effective at all, Sir Rabbie said.

"As a result, hundreds of thousands of our people have lost contact with the world. They do not have television or newspapers."

He was speaking at the opening of new studios of Radio East New Britain here last Friday. The project was funded by the Japanese Government.

"We in East New Britain are fortunate and grateful that though we lost our radio station during the eruptions, we now have the most modern radio station facility in Papua New Guinea.

"I appeal to the station management and staff to use the new station as a public information and education facility.

"It provides an excellent medium for promoting health care in the community, for agricultural extension work, for school and community programs, and of course, for news broadcasting and entertainment."

Sir Rabbie said this task could not be met by the National Broadcasting Corporation staff alone. It required community input, whether it be by health professionals, teachers or provincial and local leaders.

Communications and Information Minister Peter Waieng and Japanese Ambassador Tatsuo Tanaka cut the ribbons to open the studio in the presence of VIPs that included East New Britain Governor Francis Koimanrea and NBC Board Chairman Chris Rangatin.

Mr. Tanaka delivered a congratulatory speech and expressed his appreciation to all those who have worked hard, leading to the successful completion of the new studio and complex.

The Rabaul volcanic eruptions in 1994 severely damaged the East New Britain radio station and its closure affected the lives of about 260,000 people in the province.

Japan, in response to the request made by the PNG Government, committed a total aid package of 795million yen (K 20 million; US$ 7.5 million) to help rebuild the radio station.

Mr. Tanaka said that with this assistance, the Japanese Government hopes to bring back the vibrant economy and restore normal social activities in the province.

Title -- 2416 PNG: New studios open for Radio ENB Date -- 26 October 1999 Byline – None Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- The National (PNG), 26/10/99 Copyright -- The National Status – Unabridged

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