Mahdiya Radio 1: How an online broadcast in Tunisia found its niche in citizen reporting

byAbdul Malik Bin Abdullah
Mar 24, 2015 in Social Media

In May, IJNet Arabic launched a virtual mentoring center, choosing eight entrepreneurial journalists in the MENA region in need of financial and digital advice to get their startups off the ground. Throughout the process, the mentees will be sharing lessons learned and tips with IJNet readers. Here, mentee Abdul Malik Bin Abdullah shares his experiences growing his own media project, Mahdiya Radio 1 in Tunisia. 

Mahdiya Radio 1, the first social online broadcast in the Mahdiya province in Tunis, Tunisia, was launched in February 2012 as a free, local media source that voices the concerns of province residents. The broadcast highlights their neglected demands and the needs of their region, while granting them a platform to express their issues.

The founders of this project are Mahdiya residents too. We don't want Mahdiya to be isolated from the rest of Tunisia, and we want to display Mahdiya's cultural and historical heritage. In addition, we want to promote it as a tourist destination and attract investors.

The broadcast covers local development and social events, which usually depend on traditional media coverage. But many residents have started to rely on digital media, preferring it when receiving news and updates related to current events within the province especially. Our audience also follows along via our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The site adopted the strategy of following up on youth issues through the website itself or through social medial networks, which help to engage youth in the broadcast. Many youth also share their articles and opinions with us through the "contact us" tab on the site. 

In addition to the broadcast, the project site also features video and photojournalism reports that come directly from residents, which enabled our project to gain higher influence. 

The project is focusing largely on a few core aspects: the production of multimedia content like infographics and videos on quick and attractive news highlights, and more importantly, the artistic development of the site which facilitates easy surfing and usability, in addition to increasing the size of project income to help its future development.

The broadcast is also partnering with like-minded organizations to give the program wider reach. Mahdiya Radio 1 was able to join the Free Tunisian Radios Union and build an association with Radio AlRikab of the Revolution in Cidi Bu Zaid province which recently obtained an FM broadcast license. In addition, the broadcast signed a partnership agreement with the Algerian Union of Journalists for cooperation and training to gain better expertise and access to the Arab and international media scene. 

This story was originally published in Arabic, translated by Shereen Karadsheh and edited by Margaret Looney. 

Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via smuzz