State broadcaster, Lao National Radio in Vientiane is coordinating a project to improve the quality of programs on provincial radio stations around the country with the help of funding from Sweden, Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has learned.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA, is funding the radio station project, and is providing necessary program staff training and radio production equipment, including personal computers.
Radio specialists from Sweden and Denmark have been brought in to help.
The first phase of the project will last three years and cover six provincial radio stations, two each year.
The training program covers news reporting and editing for on air broadcast, interviewing, documentary making and magazine shows, and creative uses of music in programming output.
Lao National Radio, came up with the original concept and made the proposal for help to SIDA headquarters in Sweden through the Swedish Embassy. SIDA is recognised for its support for rural development in Laos.
LNR has taken on the role of project secretariat and is closely involved in running it.
Under a difficult to comprehend operational structure, provincial stations in Laos come directly under the Ministry of Information, rather than being part of LNR. They produce their own programs but must carry LNR news bulletins.
The Swedish Agency has a substantial presence in Laos. SIDA says that dialogue forms an important part of the cooperation program, as multi- level discussions with representatives of Laotian society allow the expression and explanation of critical views and requirements, all to further the cause of democratisation.
The lack of knowledge and skills is often cited as a critical obstacle to all development initiatives in Laos. Girls and ethnic minorities are particularly alienated from the education system and around half the adult population is illiterate. Consequently, SIDA is financing an initiative for better education in Laos that includes syllabus development and teacher training Infrastructure.
SIDA is now supporting the maintenance of the provincial road network with better planning, procuring and controlling road building, and at managing the maintenance and improvement of roads. Sweden has given 100 million Swedish Krona to be used for the repair of Highway 8, one of the most important trunk roads in the country.
SIDA is also involved with Laos health and education projects, along with helping the Laos authorities set up modern forms of governance for the economy.
Partly sourced from www.abu.org.my
Sweden's SIDA - http://www.sida.se Digital Broadcaster, Lao National Radio - http://www.lnr.org.la