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About Community Radio

Local National Regional & Global

What is Community Radio? Regional & Global Level

What is it that makes a radio station a community radio station? Perhaps the best way to answer this is in the words of AMARC’s members: ”Community radio, rural radio, cooperative radio, participatory radio, free radio, alternative, popular, educational radio. If the radio stations, networks and production groups that make up the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters refer to themselves by a variety of names, then their practices and profiles are even ore varied. Some are musical, some militant and some mix music and militancy.

They are located in isolated rural villages and in the heart of the largest cities in the world. Their signals may reach only a kilometer, cover a whole country or be carried via shortwave to other parts of the world. Some stations are owned by not-for-profit groups or by cooperatives whose members are the listeners themselves. Others are owned by students, universities, municipalities, churches or trade unions. There are stations financed by donations from listeners, by international development agencies, by advertising and by governments.” “Waves for Freedom”. Report on the Sixth World Conference of Community Radio Broadcasters. Dakar, Senegal, January 23-39, 1995

”When radio fosters the participation of citizens and defends their interests; when it reflects the tastes of the majority and makes good humour and hope its main purpose; when it truly informs; when it helps resolve the thousand and one problems of daily life; when all ideas are debated in its programs and all opinions are respected; when cultural diversity is stimulated over commercial homogeneity; when women are main players in communication and not simply a pretty voice or a publicity gimmick; when no type of dictatorship is tolerated, not even the musical dictatorship of the big recording studios; when everyone’s words fly without discrimination or censorship, that is community radio. Radio stations that bear this name do not fit the logic of money or advertising. Their purpose is different, their best efforts are put at the disposal of civil society. Of course this service is highly political: it is a question of influencing public opinion, denying conformity, creating consensus, broadening democracy. The purpose – whence the name – is to build community life.” “Manual urgente para Radialistas Apasionados”. José Ignacio Lopez Vigil. 1997

”The historical philosophy of community radio is to use this medium as the voice of the voiceless, the mouthpiece of oppressed people (be it on radial, gender, or class grounds) and generally as a tool for development.” Community radio is defined as having three aspects: non-profit making, community ownership and control, community participation. ”It should be made clear that community radio is not about doing something for the community but about the community doing something for itself, ie. owning and controlling its own means of communication.” “What is Community Radio? A resource guide”. AMARC Africa and Panos Southern Africa. 1998

”In Latin America, there are approximately one thousand radio stations that can be considered community, educational, grassroots or civic radio stations. They are characterized by their political objectives of social change, their search for a fair system that takes into account human rights, and makes power accessible to the masses and open to their participation. They can also be recognized by the fact that they are non-profit. This does not prevent them from growing and seeking a place in the market ”Community and civic radio is defined by the community of shared interests it represents and by the coherent political-cultural, communication and business objectives of these same interests.” Community and civic radio incorporates new languages, new formats, other sounds, types of music, voices. It brings other ways of talking, new relationships with listeners, ways of asking and answering questions, ways of making demands and pressuring the authorities.” “Gestión de la radio comunitaria y ciudadana”. Claudia Villamayor y Ernesto Lamas. AMARC y Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. 1998.

”Radio stations that practice radio broadcasting as a community service and see communication as a universal right. That seek to build a common path to support one another and strengthen our people’s communication. Radio stations that see themselves as an integral part of the community in which they participate. As media, they develop pluralistic and participatory communication that is open to the need for expression of the social and cultural sectors with less access to exclusively commercial media. That exercise the right to communication and, particularly, the right to information. That exercise radio broadcasting as a service, and not simply as a commercially profitable activity.” Federacion Argentina de Radios Comunitarias, FARCO. Argentina.

Community radio in the commercially dominated media system community radio means radio in the community, for the community, about the community and by the community. There is a wide participation from regular community members with respect to management and production of programs. This involvement of community members distinguishes it from the dominant commercial media in the Philippines that are operated for PPPP – profit, propaganda, power, politics, privilege, etc. Serving the big P (people or public) is a token gesture mainly to justify existence in the government bureaucratic licensing procedures. ”Stations collectively operated by the community people. Stations dedicated to development, education and people empowerment. Stations which adhere to the principles of democracy and participation. TAMBULI – Communication Project. Philippines

”Free, independent, lay radio stations that are linked to human rights and concerned about the environment. They are many and pluralistic. They refuse mercantile communication. They scrupulously respect the code of ethics of journalists and work to disseminate culture by giving artists broader expression within their listening audiences. They have association status, democratic operation and financing consistent with the fact that they are non-profit organizations. They are solidarity toward each other and constitute work communities that make it possible for each member to fulfill its mission to the utmost.” Charte de la Confédêration Nationale des Radios Libres, CNRL. France.

Regional Level: India

”Firstly, Community Radio is characterised by the active participation of the community in the process of creating news, information, entertainment and culturally relevant material, with an emphasis on local issues and concerns. With training, local producers can create programmes using local voices. The community can also actively participate in the management of the station and have a say in the scheduling and content of the programmes. Secondly, it is essentially a non-profit enterprise. In these days of highly commercialised broadcasting, the ethos of community radio remains independence and responsibility to serve the community, not the advertiser. As the station is owned by the community, it also maintains some responsibility in the running of the station. Thirdly, community radio programming is designed by the community, to improve social conditions and the quality of its cultural life. The community itself decides what its priorities and needs are in terms of information provision.” VOICES. India.

”Over the years, community radio has become an essential tool for community development. People can recognize themselves and identify with community radio, in addition to communicating among themselves. Community radio is a cultural broadcast mechanism that adapts perfectly to the context of French Canadians. Its airwaves reflect the cultural reality songs, music, writing of the French-speaking population it serves. Community radio stations are the best standard-bearers of our culture. ”The tone of each community radio station is well modulated in the image of its listeners. The important thing is to seek out differences. Community radio is an element of closeness, a bridge, a step toward the other, not to make the other like us, but to have him become what he is. It is not a question of having more, but of being, that is the real mission of community radio stations in Canada. Isn’t the most meaningful definition of culture the act of making people aware of the greatness they possess?” Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada, ARC. Canada.

For More Infromation: http://www2.amarc.org/?q=node/47

National Level : Bangladesh- Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy – 2008

Internationally recognized and accepted fundamental principles of community radio will also be followed in Bangladesh

(a) A ‘community’ is considered to be a group of people who share common characteristics And /or interests such as sharing a single geographical location i.e. a specific town, village, or neighborhood; sharing of economic and social life through trade, marketing, exchange of goods and services.

(b) A non-profit service will be in charge of ‘Community Radio’ broadcasting activities. It Should be owned by a particular community, usually through a trust, foundation, or association. Its aim is to serve and benefit that specific community. It is, in effect, a form of public-service broadcasting, but it serves a community rather than the whole nation, as is the usual form of public broadcasting described above. Moreover, it relies mainly on the resources of the community.

(c) Community radio is a medium that gives a voice to the voiceless, serves as mouthpiece of the marginalized – and is central to communication and democratic processes within societies.

(d) Community Radio is a broadcasting system established by the efforts of a specific community, operated by the community for the purpose of the community’s welfare.

Ref : Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy – 2008 by Ministry of Information, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. For More Information www.moi.gov.bd

Community Radio ON AIR in Rural Bangladesh

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication(BNNRC) has been struggling for the last 12 years to open up the community media (including Community Radio, Community Television and Community film) and giving focus on its vital role as voices of the voiceless people.

BNNRC has been addressing the community radio & community TV access issue for over a decade, almost since its emergence in the year 2000. The reality of today is that the bondage between the community people and local-level community radio stations are getting strengthened day-by-day. Community Radio has now become their part of life. Community Radio becomes the instrument for the livelihood battle of the rural people.

Now 15 Community Radio Stations are on-air in the country, aiming to ensure empowerment and right to information for the rural community. They are broadcasting altogether 125 hours program per day on information, education, local entertainment and development motivation activities. Around 1000 Youth Women & Youth are now working with those Stations throughout the country as rural broadcasters.
Ministry of Information (MOI) of Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has primarily approved sixteen initiators to set up new community radio stations (2nd stage) the subject to receive security clearance from Ministry of Home Affairs, according to a reliable source.

To ensure free flow of information and people’s right to information government enacted Right to Information Act 2009. 2nd stage new community radio stations approval is a strong further step for voices to be heard in line with voices of the rural people in Bangladesh.

Earlier, in the 1st batch on 22 April, 2010, Ministry of Information has approved 14 community radio stations, the number stands on 16 by adding more 2 stations in the line soon. Presently, 14 community radio stations ushered a new era by rural broadcasting 106 hours programs daily within a listeners’ community of 4.6 million of 13 upazila of the country. These programs reflect the rights and scopes of the disadvantaged community people. This neo-media has produced a neo-generation of community radio broadcasters at rural level where a total of 536 youth and youth women are contributing creativity their time, effort and thus taking part in nation-building process. The initiating organizations received approval for primary set up of community radio stations in the 2nd phase are:

  • Progati Research on Grassroots Ownership and Traditional Initiative for Shaymnagar Upazila, Satkhira District;
  • Aparajeyo Bangladesh for Pirganj Upazila, Rangpur District;
  • Bangla-German Sampreeti (BGS) for Tangail District;
  • SKS Foundation for Sader of Gaibandha District ;
  • Voluntary Association for Rural Development (VARD) for Sunamganj District;
  • Somaj-O-Jati Gathan(SOJAG) for Dhamrai Upazila of Dhaka District ;
  • Shechashebi Bahumukhi Mahila Samajkallyan (SBSSS) for Boalia Upazila of Rajshahi District ;
  • Jyoti Development Foundation for Sadar Upazila of Kushtia District;
  • Institute of Development Affairs (IDEA) for South Surma, Sylhet District;
  • Nazrul Smriti Sangsad (NSS) for Kalapara Upazila of Patuakhali District;
  • Karmojibi Nari for Bheramara Upazila of Kushtia District ;
  • Bandhan Society for Muksedpur Upazila, Kishoreganj District ;
  • Patuakhali Development Organization (PDO) for Bauphal Upazila of Patuakhali;
  • Coastal Association for Social Transformation for Sadar Upazila of Cox’s Bazer ;
  • Program for Eco-Social Development (PESD) for Sherpur Upazila, of Bogra District &
  • Borendra Unnayan Prochasta for Sapura Upazila of Rajshahi.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication express very heartiest congratulations to Ministry of Information for their efforts to approve more sixteen community radio stations on the basis of having their security clearance. BNNRC now started advocacy with the Government of Bangladesh to open up Community Television for Development. Hope that, community television will come into being within a short time in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication represents the community media sector to Government, Industry, Regulatory Bodies, Media and Development Partners in Bangladesh. The reality of today is that the bondage between the community people and local-level community radio stations are getting strengthened day-by-day. Community Radio has now become their part of life. Community Radio becomes the instrument for the livelihood battle of the rural people.

BNNRC has been struggling for the last 12 years to open up the community media (including Community Radio, Community Television and Community film) and giving focus on its vital role as voices of the voiceless people and has already established the Community Media News Agency (CMNA), Community Media Academy (CMA) and Monthly Community Media to share development news & building capacity for the Community Media sector in Bangladesh.

For details information about Community Radio Station, Please visit Community Radio Directory 2012
Momentum for Change: Using Community Radio to Fight Poverty in Bangladesh