Ethical radio broadcasting and community development: a comparative study: A case study of Kitende and Kimwanyi Sub-counties, Wakiso District.
The broadcast media can be a powerful tool in social development. In particular, the reach of radio is extremely high in many developing countries, enabling messages to reach a local audience that cannot be transmitted widely and efficiently by other media. With this reach, radio stations can project key development messages that influence decisions taken by people and communities to improve their lives and increase levels of social and economic development. This reach often extends into remote areas, far from other sources of information and knowledge. With this power and reach comes responsibility. How broadcasts are made and transmitted is critical. Standards of broadcasting ethics need to ensure that listeners truly benefit from broadcasts, are treated with respect and have the ‘right of reply’, when necessary. Broadcasts also need to be culturally and socially aware to reflect the great range of social and political environments at a local level. Sometimes, unfortunately, the basics of ethical broadcasting by commercial stations are breached. In Uganda, in particular, this is a critical issue given that a vibrant – and growing – FM radio community has the capacity to exert considerable influence on community behaviour. This study looks at a particular context in Uganda and seeks to understand the ethical issues involved in broadcasting, and in that context, how far FM radio influence community development. The study was carried out in two selected case study communities – Kitende and Kimwanyi – both of which are within Wakiso district, Central Uganda. The methodology involved a series of detailed interviews with 140 respondents, 120 of whom were community members, 10 community leaders and 10 FM radio station managers. The methodology chose community members using simple random sampling, while the community leaders and FM radio station managers were purposively selected. The reason these two communities were chosen was because of the location within an area of capable of receiving the signals of different FM stations and because of their rural nature. It is recognized that the study is not a representative sample (impossible given the size of the country and the means at the researcher’s disposal). However, it does provide a set of results that are important in that they indicate possible trends and suggest areas of key further inquiry.