Merundoi dropped by NCN over voter education story

-source

State-owned National Communication Network (NCN) yesterday afternoon pulled the popular radio play Merundoi from its airwaves reportedly over a storyline that dealt with voter education.

A source close to the production confirmed that they were informed yesterday afternoon that the show will no longer be aired.

Attempts by Stabroek News to reach senior officials at NCN were futile.

The source who requested that their name not be used said that one of the criteria for a USAID grant received in June was for harmony, tolerance and voter education to be incorporated into the skits. Stabroek News was told that the aim of the voter education storyline was to persuade people to vote unity and not race. “It was all about general education”, the source stressed.

The source told this newspaper that the pulled series was already on the internet. It was explained that at the beginning of the week when the various series are given to the radio, they are also uploaded onto the internet.

Persons close to the radio play said that this development is surprising since there was no message about a political party or anything that would incite tension or conflict.
Merundoi officials will soon be meeting to discuss the next move.

Over the years it has gained popularity among many, especially youths.

Merundoi started out as a joint venture production by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global AIDS Programme Guyana in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The serial is a PEPFAR-Government of Guyana project based on the MARCH (Modelling and Reinforcement to Combat HIV) strategy for behaviour change communication and aims to help people reduce the risk of HIV infection and transmission; encourage access to care and treatment, support individual behaviour change and reduce stigma and discrimination.

When it acquired Non Governmental Organisation  status in 2008 it functioned  independently with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) being its main donor. Since its first episode aired in October 2006 Merundoi had integrated into the health and education sectors executing its strategy for behaviour change communication and tapping into the school curriculum.