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Professional solidarity against nationalism and chauvinism

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Rrominterpress
86a Sluzbeni put St., 11000 Belgrade
 (+381 11) 32-44-526; (+381 11) 34-70-736
 (+381 11) 32-44-526
romaindoc@ptt.yu
; rominterpres@yubc.net 
www.rrominterpress.org.yu

Radio station “Khrlo e Romengo” – “Voice of Roma”

  • Description of the Project “Khrlo e Romengo” – “Voice of Roma”

The necessity for founding of bilingual radio station that would broadcast program in Romany and Serbian has appeared for several times during the past ten years. Initiators of the idea were Romes, but often members of other nations as well.

During the past three-four years, there were several activities towards realization of the idea. In that purpose a non-governmental informative organization ”Rrominterpress” was found in 1995 because one of its planned activities were founding of independent radio station in Romany. The first practical steps ”Rrominterpress” undertook in 1997 when a project of such radio station was made and furthered to Media Program of ”Fund for an Open Society” and to ”European Commission” in Belgrade. The project was positively graded by ”Fund for an Open Society”, but there were no funds for its realization, above all because of non-adequate political conditions. Since then, there were a lot of discussions and some agreements were made during the past couple of months.

Our estimation based on a very broad analysis of present conditions shows that this is the most convenient moment for starting such radio station. Above all, the political conditions are showing that such radio station would be backed up by a lot of government and non-government organizations. This radio station could and should make a part in directing the Romany people towards democratic principles and ideas for which the recently elected authorities are pleading. This is the most important reason for not putting off the founding of the radio station.

During the past couple of months, problems of Romas slightly changed. The new democratic government in Yugoslavia and Serbia is showing positive intentions in solving these problems, but it is still at a declarative level. Practical changes can be done after forming the Republic Government.

“Rrominterpress” has assuring of the highest country authorities that it will get political support in solving numerous problems related to informing of Romas, but material help is not certain at this moment because country does not have financial possibilities for complete solving of Roma problems.

At this moment, there are conditions for starting this radio station and it has to be done in the most recent time. Every putting off of the realization of the Project would be counterproductive for the Romany people.

At the first time, the broadcast would cover territory of Belgrade and its surrounding. Marketing strategy will be developed according to possibilities and needs of Roma population. The broadcast would last 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

News would be broadcasted on every hour. The main news source would be independent agencies Beta and Fonet, our news agency and all other Romany audio and video and printed media as well as our own correspondence network. It could also serve as Romany news agency, which would be formed soon, and which would send news and information about life and problems of Romas in Yugoslavia to all Romany institutions in the world. Our domestic and foreign correspondents would be primarily from Roma population and from existing media.

Communal problems are one of the most important problems of Romas in Belgrade, because the largest number of them lives in wild settlements.

According to world standards, musical program makes about 70% of daily program. Majority of this kind of program would rely on ethnic Romany music from around the world, but other music trends would be presented, as well. Special attention would be paid to music for children and to education of youth in the field.

Language is the base of education. A large number of Romas do not speak their native language, or speak it badly. The station would broadcast the program in Romany and Serbian. The educational program would be realized in cooperation with children’s newspaper “Chavrikano lil” – “Children’s Newspaper” and “Romoloske studije” – “Romology Studies”. Educational program would be produced in different areas, relying on all other institutions that deal with education.

The cultural program would cover Roma inheritance, history, culture etc. This program would lean on publishing, video production and magazines. In this program a special place would have presentation of authentic Romany culture as well as recent Romany cultural achievements.

There are similar projects in almost every country in the region and that is the reason for initiative for starting an ethnic radio station “Khrlo e Romengo” – “Voice of Roma”. All those projects in the region are supported by non-governmental organizations and only a little part by government authorities. Similar situation is in Yugoslavia. We are expecting only political support from government authorities, but there are no means for starting of such radio station. The Project will complete the picture of informative activities of Romas in the region. With realization of the Project, Yugoslav Romas would be able to include in almost every informative action in the region.

With founding the local radio station “Khrlo e Romengo” – “Voice of Roma”, more than 100,000 Romas who live in Belgrade could hear information in Romany or Serbian language (radio station would broadcast bilingual). The entire population of about 700,000 Romas would be covered in period 2001 - 2003.

In the following period it would be worked on improvement of the program and widening of covered territory in Serbia, what would increase number of listeners and have positive influence on quality of the program. We intend to achieve hearing on the entire Serbian territory by 2003 and to be included in the future European network of Romany radio programs that would start soon.

Roma population in Yugoslavia is about 700,000. According to research, Roma Information and Documentation Center (RIDC) found that the population is far more interested in electronic media – radio and television – than in printed media.

The most important effects of realization of the Project would be:

  1. objective and in due time informing of Romas in the language they know best;

  2. introducing with wider problems related to Romany population;

  3. learning of native language of all those who do not know it well enough;

  4. codification and standardization of Romany language;

  5. educational program in order to  literate Romany women and children will be a part of the program;

  6. homogenization of Romany nation.

  • Information about “Rrominterpress”

“Rrominterpress” was founded in Belgrade in 1995. It deals with information of Romas and publishing in the Romany language and about Romas, and this is the only one organization of this kind in Yugoslavia at this moment. Currently, “Rrominterpress” publishes the following newspapers and prepares the following programs:

  • Newspaper “Romano lil” – “Roma Newspaper” was launched in 1935 and revived by “Rrominterpress” in 1995. So far, 56 issued were published with the financial support of “Fund for an Open Society”. It has circulation of 3000 copies. The newspaper covers culture, information and politics, and at least 30% of articles are about Roma refugees from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and now Kosovo. The newspaper is published in the Romany and Serbian language and it is distributed through Roma organizations and individuals in Yugoslavia. About 300 copies are distributed worldwide through Romany and non-Romany organizations and institutions.

  • Children’s magazine “Chavrikano lil” – “Children’s Newspaper” was started on September 21st 1985. The first three issues were published by “Decje novine”, a children’s publishing house from Gornji Milanovac. Until 1995, the magazine was not published because there were no funds for its publishing. In September 1995, the magazine was revived by an independent publishing and information organization “Rrominterpress” and 50 issued were published so far. The magazine is distributed through Roma organizations and individuals, as well as through schools with larger number of Roma children. Over 200 copies are distributed abroad, to Roma and non-Roma organizations and institutions. The topics of the magazine are adapted to children’s needs. During the past two years, the magazine also published a number of articles about Roma children who fled from Kosovo or articles written by the children themselves.

  • Magazine “Romoloske studije” – “Romology Studies” was launches by “Rrominterpress” at the end of 1997 and 8 issues were printed so far. The magazine is printed in the Romany, Serbian and English language. It primarily covers field of informing in the Romany language.

  • Radio program “Romano them” – “Roma World” was started in 1992. The radio program, which lasts 1 hour per week, broadcast in two languages – Romany and Serbian of frequencies of the Association Radio Stations of Serbia. The program is prepared at the premises of Radio Belgrade. It has informative and political character, but it brings features from other fields as well. Over the past two or three years, special attention has been devoted to the problems of Romas who have fled Kosovo.

  • Radio program “Khrlo e Romengo” – “Voice of Roma” was started by “Rrominterpress” in cooperation with the Belgrade Media Center and ANEM in December 1999. So far, 39 one-hour bilingual programs of combined talk shows and music have been broadcasted. The program has informative-political character, with cultural segments. It devotes great attention to the problems of Romas who have fled Kosovo. At least 30% of the program, which lasts in total of one hour, are devoted to these problems. The length of time dedicated to these issues depends on the events in this field. Special attention is paid to the young Romany generation. “Rrominterpress” plans to broaden the program and have it aired through as many local radio stations as possible. The present practice of broadcasting it through 24 local radio stations has proved to be insufficient, so plans for airing it on another dozen or so such radio stations have been made. Priority of “Rrominterpress” in the following period is to start broadcasting a 24-hour program through its own local radio station, which will have the same name as the radio program. Preparations for opening this radio station are under way. The program of “Khrlo e Romengo” - “Voice of Roma” can also be heard on the Internet at: www.mediacenter.org.yu.

  • Radio program “Asunen Romalen” – “Listen People” is a bilingual half-an-hour program of combined talk show and music, which was launched on Radio B2-92 at the beginning of 2000. Its topics have informative-political character. Great attention is devoted to problems of Romas who have fled Kosovo. The program was broadcast on Radio B2-92 until this radio station was closed down.

  • Program “Romano cacipe” – “Romany Truth” is a half-an-hour, bilingual – Romany - Serbian program of combined talk show and music that recently started on Television Kragujevac. It was planned for the program to have informative-political character, with features about life of the Romas who have fled Kosovo. Quite a sufficient amount of material dealing with this issue, both on the territory of Serbia and in other regions, has been recorded so far. The program will be realized with the help of the Roma Media Fund from Budapest and the media program of Fund for an Open Society of Yugoslavia. Some other non-governmental organizations have also expressed interest in broadcasting.

Every media published and produced by “Rrominterpress” has its editorial office. There are 37 part-time employees in five editorial offices. Majority of employees is women (25) and minimal level of education is a high school. Every employee is computer literate and speaks at least one foreign language.

 

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