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Meet the people behind microwav.fm

Tbilisi Street, July 2016
Tbilisi Street, July 2016 "Be Happy" | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

The microwav.fm project would not have been possible without our ground base and coordinators in the South Caucasus. We now wish to introduce you these people, the silent power behind the project. It is thanks to their enthusiasm, hard work and commitment that this two-year long process has resulted in something so successful. It’s thanks to them that microwav.fm has brought online radio to young human rights activists in the South Caucasus region.

Let’s meet the people behind the microwav.fm project:

Mane Papyan (Armenia)

Mane has a background in journalism and has worked for newspapers, news magazines and several media outlets in the past. She currently coordinates the Armenian radio stations for microwav.fm. Mane got involved with the project while she was working with one of our partners in the region: Imagine (Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation).  

“With microwav.fm, we can create something that was not there before. Independent Online Radio broadcasting simply was not possible before in Armenia. Also, I adore the enthusiasm the people of our eight radio stations bring with them,” Mane says. “People are into this not for the money but for the fun and motivation they get out of their own work. Our project participants want to make their voice heard. That way, we can really change the mindset of our radio makers and their audience. Our radio stations do make a big difference in Armenia, and I am grateful for that.”

Mane Papyan | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

Mane Papyan | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

‘Be the difference you want to see in the world. Don’t wait for the miracle - be the miracle!’ - Mane Papyan

Zviad Adzinbaia (Georgia)

Zviad has a background in Political Science and has worked in civil society organisations before. He coordinates the content of the microwav.fm homepage and blogs and helps with the communication and coordination of the Georgian radio stations within the project.

“Microwav.fm is full of open minded and free spirited people. I like that our radio stations explore different problems and topics that had been unexplored before,” Zavid says. “Also the radio-making process is fun and a great experience for the participants themselves. In the end everyone benefits, Georgia benefits, and I am happy to be part of this project.”

Zavid hopes that his blog posts are valuable to their readers. He aims to write posts that are short and informative in order to quickly educate readers. His ultimate goal is to spread the word about freedom, tolerance and democratic values. “Microwav.fm is a great communication channel for the young generation, I hope to reach out to as many of them as I can,” Zavid continues. “Our readers should benefit from our work, I am here to make the community bigger and make us heard in the world.“

Zviad Adzinbaia, July 2016 | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

Zviad Adzinbaia, July 2016 | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

“The world is better now, than it used to be 100 years ago. But we still lack freedom, education, friendship and love. Even though we cannot be ideal, we have to try to make this world a better place. I want to inspire people to follow their dreams and ideals.” - Zavid Adzinbaia

Khatia Shalamberidze (Georgia)

Khatia coodinates the microwav.fm radio stations in Georgia. She has a background in journalism and has worked for a variety of TV stations. She has been actively organising various events and training sessions for the Georgian radio stations and supporting project participants in their professional growth.

“What I like the best about the microwav.fm project is that it deals with youth and new ideas. Seeing how each radio evolved day by day, by taking one little step after another, is fulfilling for me, Khatia comments. “It does make you realise that when you are young, motivated and have access to modern technology, you can make a difference in your society by making your voice heard.”

The microwav.fm project gives the younger generation in Georgia an additional platform to talk about the issues and topics that affect or concern them. “We strengthen the power of freedom of speech and free-mindedness,” says Khatia.

Khatia, July 2016 | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

Khatia, July 2016 | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

“In the light of recent tragic events unfolding around the world, it seems like we are losing the peace that took centuries to build. Some brutal forces are taking advantage of globalisation. Each of us notwithstanding race, gender, ethnicity and religion should stand together and say “no” to terrorism.” - Khatia Shalamberidze

Anahit Vardanian (Armenia)

Anahit has a bachelor's degree in Economics and a master's degree in Computer and Information science. She manages the technical support for participants and helps them with a wide variety of technical matters. She is the Armenian editor for the microwav.fm website providing interviews, blog posts and useful information about technology, media and journalism.

“The media environment in Armenia is full of self-censorship, violence against journalists and control by the government or by individuals closely related to it,” Anahit says. “In all this, microwav.fm stands out, because it gives the opportunity to many independent media outlets to discuss what matters to them without concerns about governmental supervision and
censorship. Microwav.fm provides alternative content, free from an imposed point of view.”

The microwav.fm team managed to create a small and tightknit community of individuals who are interested in online journalism and are eager to share their knowledge with each other. “I hope our current radio stations will broaden this community to include members from other countries as well and to cooperate with them beyond their borders,” Anahit comments.

Anahit Vardanian, July 2016 | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

Anahit Vardanian, July 2016 | Photo: Eva Dangendorf

‘Human empathy is the strongest power we have. Don't stay passive when you can act, don't remain silent when your voice matters. We all need each other.’ - Anahit Vardian

Zamira Abbasova (Azerbaijan)

Zamira Abbasova is the Country Director of Imagine Center of Conflict Transformation. She has a background in conflict transformation and post war development. She is the Azerbaijani coordinator of the project. With more than six years of experience with international organizations, she is now leading a group of amazing youth who are advocating for a better future through radio activism. 

“When activism became an unsafe job for Azerbaijani youth, media became more actual than ever to provide a space for activist community to continue addressing issues common to many. Microwav.fm is a safe and creative tool for those activists who can sit in their rooms and go as creative as possible with their radio shows without the need to be present at protests which poses amazing danger to their safety. As an active user of myself, I can clearly see that print, TV, or even web journalism is dead. For me Microwav.fm is the future of digital activism. And tools that Sourcefabric has provided makes this magic happen."

Radios in Azerbaijan cover so many diverse issues. Because unlike traditional journalism, radios are not only reporting news, they passionately advocate their topics. They consistently share what they have with passion, empathy, and build bonds with their listeners. What kind of tool would allow the same if not radio? This is the difference we are targeting and trying to achieve with microwav.fm. 

Hand over their issues to the youth. As the future of this planet, they know better how they want to see their societies evolve. So, trust them! Let them take over! Let them change you!" - Zamira Abbasova

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