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Radio wave on human rights. (People Making A Difference).

Getachew Hailu Wolie is Head of Programmes for Radio Fana in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Fana means `light' and the independent station which he helped to found broadcasts in four languages.

Getachew is enthusiastic about what he sees as the station's mission. For him it is very much bound up with the quest for good governance in Ethiopia. He sees one of the radio's principal tasks as educating people to know their human rights. `These rights,' he says, `are not a gift from the government that people have to beg for. They are the inherent property of the people and the government should be protecting them.'

Programmes explain the content and the spirit of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the specific rights incorporated in the Ethiopian constitution which were put into effect after 1995. He believes that when these rights are properly understood, the people themselves will safeguard good governance.

Because Ethiopia is multicultural, multifaith and multilinguistic, he sees building bridges between communities and traditions as another way in which Radio Fana can make an important contribution. `Parts of the country are still governed by traditional leaders under traditional law,' he explains. `This sometimes means that females are not treated equally under customary law and children are subjected to many kinds of corporal punishment. We therefore try to promote the concept of equality before the law and the rights of children.'

One way the radio is able to do this is by working with traditional elders and then letting them convey the message over the air themselves. `They are more credible than anyone else,' he says. `In this way we try to harmonize the traditional law with the modern. It is not always easy, but we have to make the effort.'
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Title Annotation:chatting with Getachew Hailu Wolie, radio personality; Ethiopia
Author:Williams, Paul
Publication:For A Change
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:6ETHI
Date:Feb 1, 2002
Words:293
Previous Article:Fuel for learning. (People Making A Difference).
Next Article:There or nowhere.
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