In terms of reach and access, India’s print and broadcast media is strong: Â Approximately 60% of urban Indians and 25% of rural Indians read print media on a regular basis, and 96% of the country is reached by radio”. An essential component of community media is community . Sociology defines community as a space where a group of interacting people live. Community radio, thus is a type of radio service, that serves a particular community either geographical or communes and are also run by that community. An essential feature of community media is that since it is completely free from the clutches of the market, profit motive community radio derives its genesis from the fundamental principles of democracy necessarily entailing equal and active participation in civic affairs and freedom of speech and expression.
- Community radio is the most viable option that most of them would not be in a position to use the print form of community media.
- It would be feasible for them to connect viably with issues pertaining to their own neighborhood broadcast in their own native language.
- It provides a platform for the local people or groups to tell their own stories, share their experiences and thus become active contributors and participants of the media. In this way, people become creators of their own community specific media.
- Social awareness programmes and can also be articulated to the people by means of community media
The first community-based radio station
Anna FM is India’s first campus ‘community’ radio
The principal functions of community radio
- To reflect and promote local identity, character and culture by focusing principally on local content. Culture is how the people of a community talk about their past and their future. Culture is infinitely variable and constantly evolving. Community culture is also artistic expression through local music, dance, poetry, theatre and story telling. Culture is also language, so programming includes the languages of any minority groups in the community.
- To create a diversity of voices and opinions on the air through its openness to participation from all sectors. Some discord is present in all communities, but the acknowledgement of con- flict is necessary for democracy and for democratic communities. Community radio tries to air objectively all sides of a discussion without itself taking sides.
- • To encourage open dialogue and democratic process by providing an independent platform for interactive discussion about matters and decisions of importance to the community. Community radio provides the forum to bring democratic decision-making closer to the people concerned.
- To promote social change and development. In marginalized communities people all have their individual perceptions about their situation, but for change and development need a collective perception of the local reality and of the options for improving it. This collective perception can only be achieved through internal discussions to analyse specific problems, identify possible solutions, and mobilize the appropriate people or groups for action. Community radio provides the perfect platform for this internal discussion.
- To promote good governance and civil society by playing a community watchdog role that makes local authorities and politicians more conscious of their public responsibilities. The community radio gives them a voice to air their grievances and obtain their due rights.
- Some other functions of community radio include: sharing of information and innovation; giving a voice to the voiceless, especially to women and young people in some societies; and providing a social service as a replacement for the telephone.