As recently as the early 1980s Comoros had no national media. State-run Radio Comoros, transmitting from Njazidja, was not strong enough to send clear signals to the republic's other two islands. In 1984 France agreed to provide Radio Comoros with funding for an FM (frequency modulation) transmitter strong enough to broadcast to all three islands, and in 1985 made a commitment to fund a national newspaper after a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) study revealed that Comoros was the only UN member lacking print and electronic media. A state-owned newspaper, Al Watwany, began operations in July 1985, first as a monthly and soon afterward as a weekly. An independent weekly, L'Archipel, began publishing in 1988. A news agency, Agence Comores Presse, is now based in Moroni, and France has provided funds for establishing a national television service. In 1989 Comoros had an estimated 61,000 radios and 200 television sets.
In addition to national broadcasts on FM in Comoran Swahili and French, Radio Comoros in 1993 broadcast internationally on the shortwave band in Swahili, Arabic, and French. An independent commercial FM radio station, Radio Tropique FM, began broadcasting in 1991, although it and its director, political activist Ali Bakar Cassim, have both been the object of government ire over the station's readiness to criticize the Djohar regime.
During the independent media's brief career, its representatives occasionally have been rounded up along with other critics of the government during the republic's recurrent bouts of political crisis. However, outlets such as Radio Tropique FM and L'Archipel, which is noted for its satirical column, "Winking Eye," continue to provide independent political commentary.
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