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Merie Awaz Suno (Listen to my voice)

Radio series on Violation of Women's Rights

In October 2003 “Meri Awaz Sunno” a 15-minute, bi-weekly women’s radio programme in Urdu was launched, becoming the first radio programme in Pakistan for women by women. Uks Radio Project developed the programme in collaboration with Internews Pakistan and was broadcasted from different FM stations throughout the country. The launch of the programme was extensively covered by national newspapers and hailed as a pioneering effort in the realm of radio and broadcasting.

Features of the Programme

The programme was produced by a team of all women producers and provided an alternative to other women’s programmes, which usually portray women in stereotypical ways. The programme took up many issues that are of interest to women in Pakistan including those that are important but unconventional. Through this programme a whole variety of themes were covered including

  • Women trafficking
  • Commercial Sex Workers from red light areas
  • Camel Jockeys
  • Drug abuse
  • Reproductive health, which in a conservative society like Pakistan’s, is considered a taboo topic despite the pressing urgency for an open discussion
  • Education
  • Women rights with specific relation to Islamic Laws
  • Emotional Health

The programme made use of different segments, namely, interviews, features, discussions and vox-pops (public voices) to provide a developmental perspective to issues that aim at information-dissemination and empowerment of women.

Despite the challenges of working in the field (particularly regarding programmes dealing with the red light area in Lahore or human trafficking in the South of the country) as well as the various constraints faced by women journalists, the team came up with programmes that were novel in their concepts and thoroughly professional in their handling of sensitive issues. The team also provided in-house trainings to the producers of upcoming radio stations to educate them on balanced and gender-sensitive reporting. The “Meri Awaz Sunno” had original music for the programme that was made in consultation of the radio production team and the technicians assisting the project. “Meri Awaz Sunno” was aired on five of the six independent Pakistani radio stations, reaching across the country.

Feedback from Listeners and FM stations

The 'Meri Awaz Sunno' series generated interest in the urban and rural listeners from across the country, places such as Vehari, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, Nooriabad, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and other areas where the frequency can be tuned in to. Letters and emails from the FM stations and listeners have been preserved and helped the team gauge the far-reaching effects of their input.