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Odisha government may support community radio

 

  Odisha, Community Radio
Last updated 09 Apr 2016 09:45:04 +0530  
Community Radio Association of Odisha inaugurated; State Level Consultation on Community Radio kicked off
 

Community Radio Stations hold the key to development by bridging the information gap at grass-root level and empowering communities living in rural and outreach Odisha, opined the speakers of the two-day consultation workshop started in Bhubaneswar on May 23, 2015.

CRS – an effective change agent

“With seven already operational and about 25 in pipeline community radio stations (CRS) bear enormous hope in the state of Odisha,” said Madhusudan Padhi, commissioner-cum-secretary of Information and Public Relation department, who was the chief guest of the inaugural session where formation of Community Radio Association, Odisha, was officially announced.

The consultation workshop, which followed the inaugural session, brought to fore the unique responses of already operational CRS in Konark and Jagatsinghpur in situations of emergencies during the 2011 floods in Puri district and the Phailin super cyclone of 2013.

Discussions also highlighted, through presentation of case studies, the role of CRS in making primary schools dropout free and fighting social injustice like discrimination.

“It’s by involving farmers’ clubs and women self-help groups (SHG) in its management and content production activities, the recently launched CRS in Daspalla of Nayagarh district has taken the role of an agent for socio-economic development of the communities,” said its manager Sisir Kumar Das.

“The government must take advantage of the strong connection CRS have established with communities in their places of operation,” said Ghasiram Panda, Senior Programme Manager of ActionAid iNGO.

   

Quotation starts

Organisations setting Community Radio Station must stick to the basic objectives of it and understand the language, culture and traditions of communities they work with.

Quotation ends

 

Challenges

Reflecting on the history of community radio in India and its growth in the state during past few years, Journalism Professor at Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Dhenkanal, Dr Mrinal Chatterjee highlighted content and revenue generation as major challenges before the CRS.

“Emphasising that CRS should not be perceived as profit making initiatives,” Chatterjee said in his presentation that the “organisations setting CRS must stick to the basic objectives of it and understand the language, culture and traditions of communities they work with.”

“A common pool with free access would help CRS getting quality content at reasonable cost,” he suggested underlining that Odisha has highest number of CRS in eastern India.

CRS managers like N A Shah Ansari, the president of CRA, and Biswajit Padhi highlighted financial issues as bigger challenges and sought attention of the government for their redressal.

I&PR Secretary Mr. Padhi took note of the requests made by CRA members for inclusion of Community Radio in the advertising budget of the department as a measure to support the CRS.

The second day of the event focused on sustainability of CRS and the possibilities they bear in regard to bringing positive changes in communities.

“As Odisha is a disaster prone state, the CRS have the bigger responsibility in building resilient communities by providing valuable information to people,” said B. N. Durga, Programme Officer, ActionAid.

Possibilities

Talking about sustainability of CRS, Dr Lopamudra Tripathy, C4D Officer of UNICEF, highlighted the possibilities with building effective linkages with community, local administration and larger forums with similar interest.

“Though each CRS deals with communities within a limited area, together they have enormous reach in the state and this collective reach can help generating revenue and running effective campaigns to bring change at the grass-root level,” said Chandra Mishra, Senior Journalist and former member of State Employment Mission.

“As the medium can play bigger role in engaging communities in development process, all the possibilities for sustainability of CRS should be explored,” said Alka Gupta, Communication Specialist of UNICEF, Bhubaneswar.

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