“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” – Henry Luce

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

‘Community’ Radio'

community radio

In terms of reach and access, India’s print and broadcast media is strong:  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 therefore caters to the interest of the deprived or the socially marginalized of for that matter the tribal groups. It is thus obvious to the point of banality that the low level of literacy rates and even lower awareness towards the society is definitely a handicap for them. It is therefore, quite difficult for these people to connect to the larger framework of national and international issues of importance shown in the news channels.

Open Source Community Radio #3 | Joe Miles
Importance of community Radio
  • 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 health care measures can also be articulated to the people by means of community media

 In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs & citizens to work in partnership to further community development as well as broadcasting aims.

The first community-based radio station

. The first community-based radio station, licensed to an NGO was launched on 15 October 2008, when ‘Sangham Radio‘ in Pastapur village, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh state, It was switched on.Sangham Radio, which broadcasts on 90.4 MHz, is licensed to Deccan Development Society (DDS), an NGO that works with women’s groups in about 75 villages of Andhra Pradesh. Thus, community radio acts a source of effective communication  on various developmental works that are on and their implications for the local residents. 

Anna FM is India’s first campus ‘community’ radio

Anna FM is India’s first campus ‘community’ radio, launched on 1 February 2004, which is run by Education and Multimedia Research Centre (EM²RC), and all programmes are produced by the students of Media Sciences at Anna University. The main thrust areas where the campus community radio generally focuses on are issues relating to health, education, career, stress management, interpersonal relationship between parents and children, lectures, workshops etc.
It also spreads awareness among the college students regarding the living conditions of slum dwellers thriving around the campus. The students may broadcast different community based programmes with the help of community based members residing in adopted slum areas and community residing grounds. Students are therefore important stakeholders in carrying out the process of spreading awareness which is an important function of any community radio.The Anna FM 90.4 also airs programs on environment, health and rural development. .

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.



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