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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Indian Government/UN initiative to help widen community radio practice

20-12-2006 (New Delhi)
Indian Government/UN initiative to help widen community radio practice
© Jeff Victor
A joint United Nations group in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of India will ortganize a two-day National Consultation on Community Radio in New Delhi in the first trimester of 2007.
This decision follows the Government of India’s nod to community radio broadcasting in India on November 16, 2006. A copy of this policy is now available on the website of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting http://www.mib.nic.in/informationb/CODES/frames.htm.

The Consultation will be the first in a series of activities including regional workshops for building up the conceptual and technical capacity of interested communities to set up community radio stations in different parts of the country.

The Consultation is expected to be attended by community members already engaged in grassroots community radio initiatives, community based organisations, non-governmental organisations, government departments, international organisations, as well as bilateral donor agencies.

This activity will aim to raise awareness on establishing community radio stations and aspects related to licensing procedures, management and operations as reflected in the recently approved policy.

Resource persons from India, Asia and other parts of the world will share their community radio experiences and models of best practice on crucial aspects of community radio management, programming and sustainability, as well as technical options, requirements and maintenance. Participants will be encouraged to engage in discussions that will help contextualise these practices to an Indian context.

A number of tools and manuals guiding community radio establishment developed by UN Agencies in India in collaboration with civil society organisations are available on the websites such as those of UNESCO and UNDP. The National Consultation is also expected to give insights into possible adaptation of such material to suit the local Indian environment taking into consideration the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of the country.

In May 2004, UNESCO and UNDP in association with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting organised a multi-stakeholder consultation that contributed to expanding the scope of community radio policy in India. The upcoming National Consultation will similarly develop guidelines for community radio broadcasting in India. Different stakeholders will therefore be engaged in the formulation of these directives for discussion and adoption during the sessions. A kit of both self learning and group learning tools for capacity building in this field will be made available.

UN Agencies in India have supported initiatives aimed at community-centred communication. UNDP supported the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan, a collective of over 10,000 rural women that works for their social and economic empowerment, in setting up a community radio network to expand outreach to women in remote areas of the region. Community participation was central to this partnership while as technical inputs and training for technical handling, production and direction was provided by a professional audio-visual communication agency. UNESCO supported the establishment of Namma Dhwani in Budikote, India’s first cable community radio station where local communities produce content on a daily basis; has also assisted the launch of a radio station entirely managed by local Dalit women, in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh and continues to provide support to other community radio and community multimedia initiatives in the country.
Related themes/countries

      · India
      · Public Service Broadcasting: News Archives 2006
      · Community Media: News Archives 2006
      · Media Development: News Archives 2006
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