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Kenya: Mtaani Radio by local people have become the voice of Nairobi’s Dagoretti area since its Founding 3 Years ago

The 100-watt station broadcasts both in Swahili and Sheng, a dialect favored by local youths. It reaches an estimated 5,000 listeners

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Mtaani radio serves about 5,000 listeners in the Dagoretti area of Nairobi, Kenya. (Courtesy image) VOA

Mtaani Radio has become the voice of Nairobi’s Dagoretti area since its founding three years ago. The station serves the community, making announcements about lost children, calling out pickpockets and lobbying politicians to keep to their promises.

Mtaani is Swahili slang for “our ghetto.” The 100-watt station broadcasts both in Swahili and Sheng, a dialect favored by local youths. It reaches an estimated 5,000 listeners.

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Kelvin Nyangweso grew up in this deprived area of Nairobi and developed the station as an initiative to inspire and empower young people – the majority of its listeners, he said.

“We felt like there were a lot of issues that can be highlighted and the message can reach to more people, because Dagorreti itself has a population of 240,000,” Nyangweso said. “… So can you imagine the message that’s being aired on the radio can transform this person who is listening to the radio.”

Kelvin Nyangweso: Mtaani radio is a brain child of Kevin,who grew up in Dagoretti,a deprived area of Nairobi where this radio broadcasts, Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo: R.Ombour/VOA)
Kelvin Nyangweso: Mtaani radio is a brain child of Kevin,who grew up in Dagoretti,a deprived area of Nairobi where this radio broadcasts, Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo: R.Ombour/VOA)

Nyangweso started the station using a transmitter donated by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. The station gets financial support mostly from well-wishers, using the money for rent and electricity. He said financial donors continue to give because they’ve seen positive impact on the community.

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All nine Mtaani Radio journalists live in Dagoretti and donate their time.

Tebby Otieno, who has been with the radio station for three years, said she volunteers because she believes in the power of communication.

Tebby Otieno is a presenter at Mtaani Radio.She hosts a weekly shows that mainly talk about the issues faced by residents of Dagoretti area where the radio broadcasts, Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo: R.Ombour/VOA)
Tebby Otieno is a presenter at Mtaani Radio.She hosts a weekly shows that mainly talk about the issues faced by residents of Dagoretti area where the radio broadcasts, Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo: R.Ombour/VOA)

“When I am walking around and hear people talking about things they are going through and what is affecting them, that’s the topic I will come talk [about] in the studio,” Otieno says. “As a journalist, I believe when I talk about it, maybe it’s an issue about insecurity here or water shortage, if I talk about it they will feel like issues affecting them are being handled.”

Through her show, Otieno lobbied local politicians to build a local road and improve street lighting for better security. Two years later, there is a paved road and good lighting.

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Some residents say the journalists or presenters have become their spokespeople.

One listener, Alex Opondo, said Mtaani Radio’s coverage of issues such as gender-based violence and insecurity spurs improvements.

Once a problem “is reported to the Mtaani Radio, they do take action because most of the time they do not just leave the issue that way,” said Alex Opondo, an ardent listener.

Organizers say they hope the station eventually will be able to offer paid staff positions and to have the ability to reach other parts of Nairobi. (VOA)

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Private Firms Shouldn’t Censor Politicians, News: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook recently allowed US President Donald Trump's campaign office to post a fake ad about Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden on its platform

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FILE - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a Facebook developer conference in San Jose, California, May 1, 2018. VOA

Defending Facebook’s policy of not removing political advertisements containing false information, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that a private company should not be censoring politicians and news.

Challenged on CBS over the policy, Zuckerberg said “people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians”.

The policy has faced criticism from several quarters due to concerns that ads containing false information may spread misinformation and distort elections.

“What I believe is that in a democracy, it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments,” the Facebook CEO was quoted as saying.

While demands for reconsidering the policy emanated even from within the organisation, Zuckerberg did not commit to any changes.

Mark Zuckerberg. (Wikimedia Commons)

While Twitter has banned all political ads, Google last month announced new restrictions on such ads.

The Internet search giant put new limits on political advertisers globally from micro-targeting users via election ads based on their political affiliation.

Also Read: LinkedIn Visualizes 20 Times Growth in Coming 10 Years in India

The main formats Google offers political advertisers are Search ads, YouTube ads and display ads. Under the new rules, political advertisers may target their ads only down to the postal code level.

Facebook recently allowed US President Donald Trump’s campaign office to post a fake ad about Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden on its platform. (IANS)