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05DJIBOUTI908 2005-09-13 11:11:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

Somali-Language Radio, A Missed Opportunity?

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					UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 000908 


State for AF, AF/E, AF/PD; Casablanca for David Strawman
Transmitting Station Tangier

E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Somali-Language Radio, A Missed Opportunity?

1. (U) SUMMARY: Recent conversations with Djiboutian youth
have revealed their marked preferences for receiving
information in a traditional news format via radio and
their heavy reliance on BBC Somali for their world and
regional news. This information has important implications
for methods of news delivery in the Horn of Africa and
underscores the unexploited opportunity available to the
U.S. through Somali language radio programming. END SUMMARY

2. (U) The topic at this week's Post-sponsored English
conversation groups has been "How do Djiboutians get
their information?" An overwhelming majority of the
participants said that they prefer a news format to
"softer" formatting techniques such as music or theater.
In addition nearly all of the participants said
that they spend at least 10 hours per week listening
to BBC Somali.

3. (U) When discussing how people without radios
get their news, students said that word- of-mouth
most certainly plays a role in the districts, the
regions of Somaliland and Ethiopia that they visit
for holiday, and the poorer areas of the city, but
that much of that word-of-mouth also comes from BBC
Somali. Local newspapers and television also play
a lesser, but notable, role.

4. (U) The Post-sponsored English language
conversation groups continue to be a great
success in Djibouti. The groups are currently
active in five English night schools throughout
the city and six more schools are on a wait list.
About 130 youth ages 16-25 participate in the
groups each week and discuss civic topics with
native speakers from the Embassy and US military.
The Embassy also provides copies of VOA Special
English articles or transcripts to each of the
students on subjects related to the conversation
topic. The groups continue to be important aspect
of PD's hearts and minds campaign and a venue for
sharing the US message while simultaneously
providing important insights into Djiboutian
culture and attitudes.