Feature: Sa’a Suriya live from Paris

It has become very late on this Friday. It is 7pm; Mohammed is leaning down on a chair next to his radio booth, very exhausted, but with a proud smile on his face. “It was really an extraordinary experience for me” says the 28-years-old radio presenter, “to come as part of a small Community Radio from Jordan and to participate in such a big event with colleagues from all around the world. It feels like the Oscars and Hollywood.” Mohammed has been part of the Sa’a Suriya team that travelled to Paris to re-launch the radio show with one episode on the occasion of World Radio Day. A total of 20 radios broadcasted live from UNESCO HQ in Paris. This year’s global theme is “Youth and Radio” and the Sa’a Suriya Radio Project complemented the live event perfectly as it is a programme that is mostly run by youth. “So many people approached us today, and asked about our experiences, producing a radio program that targets refugees in Jordan” tells Mohammed, who currently studies his MA in Journalism and New Media....

It has become very late on this Friday. It is 7pm; Mohammed is leaning down on a chair next to his radio booth, very exhausted, but with a proud smile on his face. “It was really an extraordinary experience for me” says the 28-years-old radio presenter, “to come as part of a small Community Radio from Jordan and to participate in such a big event with colleagues from all around the world. It feels like the Oscars and Hollywood.”

Mohammed has been part of the Sa’a Suriya team that travelled to Paris to re-launch the radio show with one episode on the occasion of World Radio Day. A total of 20 radios broadcasted live from UNESCO HQ in Paris. This year’s global theme is “Youth and Radio” and the Sa’a Suriya Radio Project complemented the live event perfectly as it is a programme that is mostly run by youth.

“So many people approached us today, and asked about our experiences, producing a radio program that targets refugees in Jordan” tells Mohammed, who currently studies his MA in Journalism and New Media. “Their feedback made me feel we are doing something very important.”

Since its launch in March 2014, Mohammed has been the presenter of the programme, that was aired bi-weekly on the Farah al Nas Community Radio in Amman.

The programme that was also broadcasted on Yarmouk FM has become an institution in Jordan when it comes to information platforms for Syrian refugees. Through the medium of radio, the programme reached out to refugees and vulnerable host communities, providing them with reliable information on services available and counseling. As part of the project, 40 Jordanian youth reporters were trained and worked closely with the refugee community while producing reportages that were later aired during the programme.

The one-hour episode that was aired from Paris focused on the World Radio Day theme and on UNESCO’s work in the field of youth and media. “My colleagues and I were a bit worried in the beginning if the live broadcasting would work, if any technical problems would happen and how they could be solved” admits Mohammed.

The team managed to produce a high level episode, with the UNESCO Director-General Ms. Irina Bokova live on air, several UNESCO colleagues and a Syrian radio reporter who is based in Paris. The BBC World Service also interviewed Mohammed live from London during his show. In addition, the team recorded interviews with other radio activists and presented the project during a round table discussion. “I am super tired, but super satisfied and happy. I feel like super man after this day.”

The Sa’a Suriya radio project came to an end in February 2015 and was generously funded by the Government of Japan. The UNESCO Amman Office is ready to implement an extension phase and is actively seeking funds for it.