, 07 July, 2020 / 9:50 PM
The leadership of the National Catholic Radio (NCR) in Ivory Coast has decided to suspend “broadcasts and all radio related activities” indefinitely, a decision that has been occasioned by financial limitations amid COVID-19 crisis, an official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI) has said.
“The financial situation of the Radio station requires decisions to be made about its future. Therefore, in compliance with state regulations, the Church is suspending broadcasts and all radio related activities. It is the bitter option that we have had to take,” the National Executive Secretary (NES) of CECCI’s Commission for Social Communications, Fr Augustin Obrou has been quoted as saying in the July 6 report.
Broadcasting under the tagline “Voice of the Gospel,” the 19-year-old radio station that broadcasts from the country’s capital, Abidjan, is considered “the Church’s tool for evangelization and the promotion of human development.”
To cushion the 30 personnel engaged by the station from the negative impact of the unexpected decision that affects their respective livelihoods, the leadership of the Church in the West African country says it has a social plan that entails a fundraising campaign “to sustain the survival of staff members and their families.”
“The goal is to get the financial resources to be distributed equally to each employee,” NES leadership has said and added, “If the funds collected are sufficient to run the station, the Church hopes to reopen the radio station and resume broadcasts.”
Established in February 2001, the Catholic radio has a 24-hour daily broadcast schedule and an almost countrywide coverage.
Ivory Coast has recorded at least 10,966 COVID-19 cases, 75 related deaths and 5,384 recoveries and.
Just like the radio station, Catholic institutions of learning in the country have been closed since March 17 as part of the government’s measures to minimize the risks of infections.
The closure, according to the Catholic Education Secretary, Fr. Jean Luc N'dreman, has plunged the learning institutions into serious financial challenges.
To cushion the staff of Catholic education institutions from the financial impact of COVID-19, Catholic Bishops in the country in April called on the Catholic Education Secretariat to “maintain the jobs and salaries of employees,” and encouraged negotiations among the two parties on modalities in case of difficulties in paying.
The Bishops also invited the personnel of the institutions in the country to “show understanding and a spirit of sacrifice in negotiations with their employers.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa