1st National Community Radio Sammelan

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A SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE

The 1st National Community Radio Sammelan for operational Community Radio Stations of India is being organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in Association with the Commonwealth Education Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi from 7th to 9th April 2011. The Sammelan will be inaugurated by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Smt Ambika Soni.

The Sammelan will bring together 107 functional Community Radio Stations from across the country, Policy makers from various Government Departments like Health, Rural Development, Information Technology, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Panchayati Raj, CAPART etc. Several UN, National and other International organizations like UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, One World Asia, AMARC, Community Radio Forum etc. are also participating in the Sammelan.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is mandated to permit eligible organizations to run Community Radio Stations as per the Policy Guidelines of 2006. Community Radio is an extraordinary and invisible medium to give voice to the voiceless. It provides an opportunity to the community to speak about issues concerning their lives. It can also facilitate development by disseminating information regarding rural development, agriculture, health, nutrition, education and Panchayati Raj issues enabling social change through communication.

Community Radio is one of the priority areas for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. So far 278 Letters of Intent (LOI) have been issued, 130 Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA) have been signed. 107 Community Radio Stations have been become operational. Out of 107 stations 72 are run by Educational Institutions, 27 by community based organizations and 8 by Krishi Vigyan Kendra/State Agriculture Institutions.

Awareness generation is critical to achieve the desired goal of Community Radio Policy brought out by this Ministry in the year 2006. Ministry of I&B has been organizing Awareness Workshops all over the country from 2007 onwards. Around 28 Workshops have been organized so far. In 2010-11 Ministry has organized 8 Workshops in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra and Delhi.

The Ministry has also organized Capacity Building Workshops for the operational Community Radio Stations this year. 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 way.

In three days deliberations discussions would be held on issues concerning Policy changes in the existing Community Radio Guidelines, quality of content being broadcast from the Community Radio Stations, strategies to engage community in programme production, funding and sustainability, encouraging and popularizing local cultural talent etc. A Poster Exhibition has also been organized on the sidelines of the Sammelan.

The consultation will bring together community broadcasters and other key stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations, media activists, academia and the policy makers to take stock of the achievements of this burgeoning sector of radio broadcasting in India, and explore ways to take this movement to the next level. The consultation seeks to analyse, assess the current Community Radio Policy in achieving the goals of disseminating information, strengthening grass-root democracy and fulfilling social development objectives and discuss issues of financial & social sustainability of Community Radio Stations. The discussions will help design joint action strategies and define the role of organizations such as UNESCO, CRF, CEMCA, various Government Departments and other partners in strengthening the CR movement.

The outcome from the consultation is expected to focus on :

• Enhancement of stakeholders’ coordination in their effort to make community radio sustainable and more effective partner in development
• Increasing scope of collaboration between organizations working on developmental issues
• Furthering the use of new media and innovative/appropriate technology in the community radio sector

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