This week, Liberia?s interim government announced that Star Radio will be allowed to resume broadcasting. The station was ordered closed in early 2000 by the former government of Charles Taylor. Now that Mr. Taylor is in exile in Nigeria, Star Radio can return to the airways. But first it needs money and new equipment.
Dario Baroni is a spokesman for the Swiss-based Hirondelle Foundation, which specializes in setting up independent media in war-torn countries. It established Star Radio in 1997. He says besides being unhappy with its broadcasts, Charles Taylor apparently wanted to shut down Star Radio?s internet web site. Mr. Baroni says it?s not clear when Star Radio will resume broadcasting, because it will cost at least one million dollars to get things started. He does say, however, that once the station is on the air operating costs should drop dramatically. That's because it is expected to become self-supporting. Hirondelle hopes to get several donor nations to contribute to start up costs.
When it does resume operations, the station will be an independent medium with a Liberian Board of Directors. From Geneva, Mr. Baroni spoke to English to Africa Joe De Capua about restoring broadcast operations.