ASIA/BANGLADESH – 95% of Radio Veritas Asia listeners in Bangladesh are not Christians
Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) – The radio is a precious means of announcing the Gospel in Bangladesh. This is reaffirmed by the Bengali service of “Radio Veritas Asia” (RVA), which recently organized a meeting with its listeners in the capital Dhaka. This meeting, as well as surveys conducted in recent months, revealed that 95% of RVA listeners are non-Christians. Participants at the Dhaka conference, from different faiths and ethnicities, testified to their enjoyment of listening to Catholic radio, expressing their appreciation and seeing a positive impact on their lives.
“Since my childhood, I have listened to the Bengali service of Radio Veritas Asia. I especially like a program called “Chatona”, which means “awareness”. The voice of Radio Veritas Asia has enlightened me and my family” , said Didarul Iqbal, a Muslim listener from the city of Chattogram. With its in-depth program “Chatona”, the station tackles and discusses prejudice and social discrimination. “The radio helped me on my path of human and professional growth,” he says.
Asif Iqbal, another regular listener of Rajshahi, said he has listened to Radio Veritas since 2001. “Through different programs, RVA has offered me messages that I have always appreciated. I can say that RVA is the craftsman of my life. I feel like a full member of the RVA family”.
Another listener, Firoja Akter, told Fides that she received valuable life advice from Catholic radio: “One day I listened to a program on the theme of women’s development and autonomy. He spoke of small economic initiatives like raising chickens. I was inspired by this program and so I started a small business that allows me to live today”.
The Bengali Service Coordinator of Radio Veritas Asia in Bangladesh, Father Augustine Bulbul Rebeiro confirmed that “RVA is committed to expressing truth, charity, mercy, dignity of the person, which is the Gospel of Jesus”. And he said it will continue in the future: “We remember with gratitude all those who helped to establish and continue the mission of the RVA in Bengali. We will continue to preach the truth.”
Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario CSC also spoke during the meeting with the listeners, emphasizing that “RVA is the voice of Asian Christianity” and recalling that the station began broadcasting programs in the Bengali language on December 1, 1980. “In Bangladesh, remarks the cardinal, the majority of RVA listeners profess Islam. Our radio contributes to creating a conscience, a mentality and a culture in our country. It works as a voice for the voiceless”.
After broadcasting on shortwave radio until 2018, RVA moved to digital media platforms. Today, she is the voice of the Church in Asia and promotes dialogue on issues of religion, culture, spirituality and current affairs. Radio Veritas Asia, headquartered in Manila, was established in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their local languages. Today, she proclaims the Good News through websites, podcasts and social media platforms in English and 22 Asian languages. In 1974, the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) assumed full responsibility for the radio station, making it a joint project of the Church in Asia under the auspices of the Office of Social Communications of the FABC. (PA-FC) (Agenzia Fides 11/1/2023)