Fernanda Maria, Radio Liberdade, Timor Leste

Fernanda Maria is one of the group of powerful women broadcasters in Radio Liberdade in Dili, Timor Leste, working to ensure women’s voices on the air, finding ways out of abusive relations and violence

Women on the Global Community Airwaves

Women on the global community airwaves is a podcast series bringing you stories told by women around the world working to strengthen women’s voices on airwaves within their own community media. The stories are brought to you by me, Birgitte Jallov, who have worked with these issues for a lifetime. The women tell about why it is so important that women get a voice and what it means for the producers, the listeners and the community contributing. Much more here →

Fernanda Maria has worked for 12 years in Radio Liberdade, a community radio in Dili, the capital of Timer Leste. Radio Liberdade works with the ‘Fundacão Media Development Centre’ working to support women’s voices in the media and the voices of other underrepresented groups.

Radio Liberdade is one of some 15 community radio stations, struggling for survival, as Fernanda tells us – but she and her station have some ideas about how to turn the stations sustainable! Despite the challenges, new stations appear, not least because the spoken word is so important in a reality with and only 60 % literacy rate.

Since 2016 Fernanda has worked on a special programme on ‘Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls and Gender-Based Violence’ which she tells about in the podcast. Presently she works with Radio Liberdade to provide Journalism Training on Gender Sensitive Reporting.

Timor-Leste’s road to independence – achieved on 20 May 2002 – was long and traumatic in their struggle for self-determination. When their Portuguese colonial masters withdrew in 1975 – as they did in all other colonies including Mozambique, from where one of the other radio women in this podcast series is – Indonesia claimed the territory for itself and suppressed the independence movement. The UN took over the administration and supervised the territory’s transition to independence in 2002.

As Fernanda explains in our conversation, domestic and gender based violence is extremely high in the country – close to 60 % of the women report to have been abused physically, so the focus of the radio station and the foundation – fundacão – which started it, is to work on ways of limiting violence against women. Radio Liberdade therefore works with a focus on Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls and Gender-Based Violence, and this is also the radio programme Fernanda is engaged with.

More information about the project Fernanda – Nanda – works with here.

Fernanda on the air in Radio Liberdade (Private photo)
Radio Liberdade on their facebook page present among others this trainee, now volunteer in Radio Liberdade (Private photo)