Private radio turns up heat in PNG

Papua New Guinea, largest of the Pacific island countries, is a land that demands potent adjectives. It is vast, complex, chaotic, and violent. Definitely not dull or predictable. The four million people of PNG live in remote highlands, in cities, and on far-flung islands, covering almost half a million square kilometers. They speak an astonishing 867 languages. 

Malaria, cyclones and volcanoes torment the country. For nine years, the island of Bougainville has been engulfed in a civil war that has killed hundreds.

Radio in PNG isn’t dull, either. In fact, it’s getting more interesting every day, as the newcomer, PNG FM Ltd, challenges the state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). PNG FM Ltd is majority-owned by local investors, but 25 per cent of the shares are held by Communications Fiji Ltd (CFL) which owns three radio stations in Fiji and manages the PNG stations.

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