AFRICA/REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Radio Magnificat first Catholic Radio station in the Republic of Congo still waiting for licence

Wednesday, 18 February 2004

Brazzaville (Fides Service)- “I will pursue every legal path to get a licence to broadcast and assignment of wave lengths” Spiritan Father Maurice Milandou, director of Radio Magnificat an initiative of the Catholic Bishops of the Republic of Congo, told Fides
Father Milandou said that on January 26 Bishop Jean Gardin, Prefect Apostolic of Likouala (600 km north of Brazzaville) and head of the Bishops’ Commission for Social Communications wrote to the president of the superior council for freedom of communication asking for a licence to start trial broadcasts with Radio Magnificat in February 2004. He has had no reply to the letter. A request for a licence was put in by the Bishops’ Conference two years ago. In the meantime, pending the arrival of the licence, the equipment for Radio Magnificat donated by the Italian Bishops’ Conference is still in containers.
Congo has several private radio stations but none of them are Catholic structures.
“The project for a Catholic Radio is a fruit of the Catholic Bishops’ 27th general assembly 7 to 13 June 1999” Father Milandou told Fides. “The Bishops realised that a national Catholic radio is essential for Christian formation and for education to the values of peace, unity and reconciliation”.
According to Father Milandou, “the problem is mainly political. Interventions by the local Church, positions taken on social issues, the question of oil in particular, provoked diffidence among the national leaders. We were told this by the authorities who assign wave lengths. But we are confident that the matter will soon be settled”.
“When will the radio begin to broadcast?”, is the question Christians and people of good will are asking.
Radio Magnificat will be a community radio and the programmes will focus on the following subjects:

- Christian themes: Bible commentary, catechesis on Catholic moral teaching, Church History, Papal teaching, church news in Africa and in the world, Christian discernment, information about other religions.
- Basic education: human rights, personal formation, health, family, shared democracy, associations, education, culture of peace.
- Social action: struggle against poverty, solidarity in the economy, general development human promotion, economic and social initiatives.
The name Radio Magnificat was chosen because Congo Brazzaville was consecrated to the Virgin Mary by the then President Fulbert Youlou (former diocesan priest), on 15 August 1960, the day the country obtained independence from France.
Besides Radio Magnificat, the Spiritan Father in Congo produce videos, they run a audio-visual centre, and they have a weekly 30 minute programme on national radio.(L.M., M.S.T.) (Agenzia Fides 18/2/2004, righe 45 parole 473)