Sunday, February 19, 2012

Expansion for Community Radio in the 12th Plan

I&B Ministry to Consider New Strategies to Support 

First National Community Radio Awards Announced.
Three  Day National Community Radio Sammelan Commences.
The Second National Community Radio Sammelan commenced today 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).
            Speaking at the inaugural function, Minister of State, Dr S Jagathrakrakshakan said, community radio stations provided a platform to people to create their individual and collective identities. As a medium of communication, it empowered the masses and gave them a sense of belonging. The need of the hour is to connect the aspirations of the people to the information highway and thereby bridge the digital divide. Community radio not only bridged the divide, it very effectively facilitated the growth of peoples’ empowerment in the far and remote corners of the country.
            Also,  speaking earlier on the occasion, Secretary I&B,Shri Uday Kumar Varma outlined the roadmap for the  growth of the community radio movement in the 12th Five year plan. It was necessary to target the uncovered areas in the country coupled with a cost effective and operational business model. Secretary called upon the participants to avoid delays in  operationalising the licences  in view of the scarcity and squatting over spectrum . For the movement to reach a sizeable target it was critical to be innovative,  encourage out of the box thinking and learn from the best practices. A critical factor determining the growth of the movement was the need to focus on cost effective technology and research. Secretary mentioned that the ministry had submitted a proposal to the planning Commission regarding state funding in the next five year plan. For being an effective dissemination tool it was necessary to position the relevance of the medium in disaster management.
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 awards were given away by the Minister of state, Dr S Jagathrakrakshakan.
i)                 Thematic  Award    
ii)               Community Engagement Award 
iii)             Promoting Local Culture Award 
iv)             Most Creative/Innovative Programme Content Award
v)               Sustainability Model Award 
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
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 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 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.
Some of the important links where the Sammelan coverage would be available are;

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