U.S. Radio Off-Key in Darfur?

Really interesting article by Sheri Fink of ProPublica on criticisms of the U.S.-funded Radia Afia Darfur.  One issue concerns the language used in the broadcast. Here’s an excerpt from Sheri’s article:

Radio Afia’s first broadcast was on Sept. 29, 2008. The news was and continues to be delivered in standard Arabic, which differs significantly from the local version of Arabic spoken in Darfur, according to James Dickins, a professor of Arabic at the University of Salford, England, who specializes in Sudanese dialects.

“You’re talking about really different languages,” he told ProPublica. “Standard Arabic isn’t understandable really if you’re not educated, and since most people [there] are not educated, they can’t understand.”

Three Darfur-born employees of Radio Afia tried to impress on their employers that standard Arabic was not only incomprehensible to the program’s intended audience, it was also offensive because it was associated with the people who were killing them.

The “language issue is very sensitive,” they wrote [2] (PDF) in a draft of an October 2008 letter to the president of the network that produces the program. “The majority of Darfuris in the IDP camps — the victims — suspect any broadcasting in the language or accent of the central Government or the Janjaweed tribes.”

Read the entire thing here.

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3 responses to “U.S. Radio Off-Key in Darfur?

  1. That is really happen in the Radio of the afia darfur
    and the people they are working now in the team. the language they are spoken is totally difference from the darfur local language and in the USA they have many of women and men they now haw to speak local language an many difference language like faur and zakawa and masalit . the people in refugees camps and IDP camps the don’t interested of this people of the radio afira they are support the government of sudan.
    and must of them they are janjaweed.

  2. Dear / all

    Iam happy to join you in your location and wish to recive any new news in my region Darfur

    thanks alot Alhadi

  3. thank all but I think it is nice to know the news and to send our culture out side we not be in top today so we will maintain step by step and it is better to conect us the attendance of team will progress and when the condition become good we will hear all the IDPs from any camp

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