Boosting Community Radios in India

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Community Radios(CRs) not only provide a platform to foster art and culture but also facilitate the growth of peoples’ empowerment in the far and remote corners of the country. The three day National Community Radio Sammelan is an excellent initiative to encourage CRs.

The Second National Community Radio Sammelan commenced yesterday with the objective of carving out a new roadmap for mainstreaming Community Radio as an effective outreach tool for community empowerment. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has organised the three day sammelan  from 18th February to 20th February 2012 in association with Commonwealth Educational Media centre for Asia (CEMCA).

Community Radio is one of the thrust areas for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.  Ministry has so far issued 363 permissions to set up Community Radio Stations in the country. Out of this, 126 stations have become operational while others are in the pipeline.

This Sammelan has brought together more than 150 stakeholders including Community Radio operators, UN partners, activists, Government departments and experts from various countries like USA, UK, Australia and South Africa.

In the last two years, Ministry has taken several initiatives to strengthen the Community Radio movement in India. Permission process for the CR applications has been fast tracked through better coordination with stakeholder Ministries. People can also now apply online and track the status of their applications at www.cronlineindia.net. This has brought about transparency and accountability in the system.

A Facilitation Centre has also been opened up in the Ministry with a toll-free phone number (1800116422) where people can call up for any information relating to Community Radio. Due to these initiatives the number of permissions issued by the Ministry for setting up Community Radio Stations has increased from 186 to 363 and number of operational CRS has increased from 64 to 126 in the last two years.

Ministry of I&B has been organizing awareness and capacity building Workshops all over the country from 2007 onwards to create awareness about Community Radio Policy. Around 32 Workshops have been organized so far. These Workshops have proved to be useful not only to spread awareness but also build capacities of the NGOs and other organizations to operate Community Radio Stations in an effective manner.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has partnered with Ek Duniya Anek Aaawaz (EDAA) which is an audio content exchange platform for Community Radio Stations, to have a separate micro-site on EDAA for the coverage of the 2nd National Community Radio Sammelan on new media platforms.

Proceedings of the sessions will be updated on EDAA`s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which will be instantly available on EDAA home page itself. After the session, reports would be filed immediately on development news portal of OneWorld South Asia at http://southasia.oneworld.net.. Video bytes from the dignitaries, panellists and CR Stations would be uploaded on YouTube.

EK duniya anEK awaaz (EdAA) i.e One World, Many Voices is a web based open content exchange platform for community radio broadcasters. The platform enables the CR stations and other content producers to share their audio content and other resources, thus facilitating meaningful utilisation of resources breaking geographical boundries.

This site is operated by OneWorld Asia, an NGO. EDAA is designed to handle content exchange and consists of over 350 registered users with a content base of more than 900 usable audio clips from different regions across South Asia in around 9 different languages including Hindi, Nepali, Sinhalese, English, Tamil, Kannada, and Oriya which are categorised under 27 themes pertaining to social development.

 To encourage better programming and competition among Community Radio Stations, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also instituted National Community Radio Awards in following 5 categories. 

The National Community Radio Awards in the identified categories have been given to the following for their remarkable efforts and performance :

A)    Thematic Award Category

  1.  Radio Namaskar, Konark
  2. CMS CR, Gomati Nagar
  3. Radio Active CR, Bangalore

 

B)     Community engagement award category

  1. Radio Namaskar, Konark
  2. CR Benzigar, Kollam
  3. Kalpakam CR, Kalpakam

 

C)     Promoting Local Culture Award category

  1. Radio 7, Jaipur
  2. Radio Sarang, Mangalore
  3. Gurgoan Awaaz, Gurgaon

 

D)    Most Creative /Innovative  Programme content award

  1. PGP CR, Namakkal
  2. Rudino CR, Ahmedabad
  3. Radio JU, Kolkata

 

E)     Sustainability model award

  1. Radio Mewat

Sources: http://www.pib.nic.in/

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