Tuesday, September 22, 2009

‘Community radio needs more support’

'Community radio needs more support'

Madurai, Sept. 18 Community radio broadcasting in India needs an enabling environment, according to Mr Ashish Sen, Vice-President, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters.

Community Radio has proven itself in disaster management in several parts of the world.

In India, there is an urgent need to establish such a network to tackle disaster preparedness and mitigation, and the Government should create an enabling environment for this, he told Business Line.

It is less than two-and-half years since the applications for grassroot non-government organsisations (NGOs) were operationalised.. However, till date, less than 50 stations are on air among which only five stations are operated by the NGOs. Of these two are in Tamil Nadu and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. The rest are operated by educational institutions, he said.

The broadcast spectrum in the country has the potential for 5,000 stations of 50 Watt capacity each. The licensing process is stifling the growth prospects. There is a need to have separate policies for educational institutions and NGOs, he said.

The broadcasters need seed money for the purchase of equipment and for capacity building. One of the suggestions has been setting apart one per cent of the profit of private broadcasters, he said.

Mr Ashish Sen was in the city to present a lead paper at s workshop on 'Community Radio for Change' held as part of the 'Madurai Symposium 2009', organised by DHAN Foundation.

Jaisakthivel, Chennai, India

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