Feb 18, 2012
Union minister of state for Information and Broadcasting Dr S. Jagathrakshakan said that the community radio alone has the ability to bridge the digital divide and empower people at the grassroots. He added that India should have thousands of community radio stations as the country has one of the largest broadcasting networks in the world.
New Delhi: Giving a call to states in the north and the east to set up community radio stations, Union minister of state for Information and Broadcasting Dr S. Jagathrakshakan said that the community radio alone has the ability to bridge the digital divide and empower people at the grassroots. Speaking at the 2nd Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi on Saturday, Jagathrakshakan said that a few states dominate in setting up most of the stations. He added that India should have thousands of community radio stations as the country has one of the largest broadcasting networks in the world.
The minister presented the National Community Radio Awards to over a dozen radio stations for their innovative, creative and contructive programmes being broadcast in their communities. Jagathrakshakan said these stations can spread thoughts and ideas to every nook and corner of the country. He added that the ministry will try to reduce the time taken in granting permission to applicants for the launch of a community radio station.
Jagathrakshakan gave away the awards for education, promoting local culture, community engagement, innovative content as well as making the community radio station a sustainable media. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had organised the sammelan in association with the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), in New Delhi on February 18, 2012.
Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Uday Kumar Varma said that the current number of community radio stations that are working is 126 but after one year this number should rise to 450. He too agreed with the minister and said: "If you look at the population, the diversity of people and the size of the country, we should have two to three thousand stations," Varma said.
He said that in community radio, people are both "the benefactor as well as the beneficiary. People are centric to the system." Varma said that the ministry is working on a roadmap in which it will create awareness generation, address areas which have not been covered by this movement as yet, simplify the process of setting up a station, build capacities, increase management by the community, record best practices, leverage community radio for disaster management and ensure financial sustainability.
Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that the conference will give the opportunity to see the progress that has been made on community radio and which direction to take in the future.
Besides nearly 126 community radio stations, experts from South Africa, the UK, the US and Australia too are sharing their experiences of the movement.