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Ink and radio waves contribute toward the peace

By Cpl. Sbastien Pisani
First published in
SFOR Informer#106, February 7, 2001

Banja Luka - The voice is young and dynamic. The national and international current events are flying by in three minutes.
The news bulletin in the local language scarcely ended, and an English pop song filled the airwaves before changing over to the jerky rhythm of an American rap number.
"Our main target is the youth between 15 and 25 years old. We are only broadcasting Anglo-Saxon music and we are putting the accent on talk show," said Julijana Bunic, in charge of Oksigen (Oxygen) radio program planning. Eight local civilians and two SFOR soldiers are devoting themselves to Oksigen, an original element on the FM band.
The radio show was only in the Banja Luka area in 1999, but it has quickly evolved under Capt. David Bailex's leadership and today it covers 90% of the MND-SW.
"We are perfectly operational. We are broadcasting, during the week, 18 hours of daily programs in Republika Srpska like in the Federation," said Cpl. Andrew Milliken from the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME).
Some long-time segments remain for the listeners. Every evening, a host answers to youths descending from different communities. Bailex takes on Wednesday and Sunday shows; Malic Dragan keeps the dialogue all the other days of the week.
"A lot of teenagers are asking questions about the future of their country. We are trying to put their minds at ease and to give them a message of hope," Bunic said. More than its lively and stirring music, Oksigen has a safety mission. Shock messages are evenly broadcasted to make the young audience sensitive to road safety and mine risks.
In the articles in the free newsmagazine, Mostovi (bridge in local language), the concern is identical. The 35,000 copies of this publication are distributed in MND-SW with SFOR patrols, and they are intended for 20- to 30-year-old readers.
"In 1996, the magazine had only four pages. Mostovi today has 12 pages on glazed paper and a resolutely federating tone," said Capt. Theo Van de Krol, from Banjaluka Psy Ops department. News, tests or portraits of international stars are produced by Capt. Rob Saunders's small team.
Besides the distraction of reading, people are informed in their native language of actions on the BiH territory. "We are not the newspaper of an entity, that's the reason why Mostovi is accepted and read by everybody," Van de Krol said.

Oksigen frequencies (FM): Kozara : 104.9 Banja Luka : 89.6
Travnik : 105.4
Bugojno : 99.8 Ivovik : 96.4

Awareness campaigns are also very important. One insert urged people to return weapons because in winter the kids are playing more at home. "Do you prefer to see your kid playing with a teddy bear or a gun?" This question cannot leave the reader of this magazine indifferent. The magazine cover shows the "radio Oksigen" logo.
Both mediums are seeking after the same aim: to teach living together to people again.

Related link: SFOR at Work