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Children: the new media consumer in Madagascar

ANTANARIVO, 15 November 2004 - A study, launched today, by the Minister of Communication and the National Statistics Institute, in the presence of government officials, UN agencies and the nation’s media, revealed that 76% of all households in the country listen to the radio; 32 percent watch TV and 27 percent read newspapers. The study also pointed to the fact that village meetings remain the first source of information for most people and that children, surprise, surprise, listen to the radio as well!

The study, technically and financially supported by UNICEF, was conducted in 13 sites in the country, amongst some 10,000 households.

The last time Madagascar conducting a similar survey was in 1997,” noted Mahazaka Clermont Gervais, the Minister of Communication. “At that time, 70% of the population listened to the radio. Although the methodologies of the two studies are different, I am confident that access to information has increased and that there are more people today who listen to the radio than ever before,” he beamed.

In addition to answering questions about access to radio, television and newspapers as well as the role of video clubs, mobile cinemas and posters in transmitting messages, the survey also delved into traditional forms of communication, such as the local kabary (a long speech given by elders), and even asked respondents what forms of communication they found most credible.

“What was most revealing to UNICEF,” said the agency’s Representative in Madagascar, Barbara Bentein, “was that 56% of all households interviewed said that local village meetings were their first source of information regarding children’s health issues – both in urban as well as rural areas.”

Another noteworthy finding centered on the fact that children listen to the radio. In fact, out of all the households surveyed, children reportedly listened to the radio in 47%. Their preferred programs included music shows, drama series and the news. Interestingly enough, the highest “child listener audience” came from the province of Fianarantsoa (22%), often thought to be disadvantaged in terms of access to information.

For additional information, please contact:

Misbah M. Sheikh
UNICEF Madagascar
Off :         261-20 22 626 45/46
Fax :        261-20 22 628 45
Mobile :    261-33 11 892 83
Email :      msheikh@unicef.org




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