Community Radio in Bangladesh, some Potentiality and preservation

 

Community Radio:
A ‘community’ is considered to be a group of people who share common characteristics 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. The concept of ‘Community Radio’ also comes to serve that particular community through the program which made by the people who live in the area coverd by community radio. The program contents should cover educational, social, gender, economic, environmental and cultural fields that particular community.
 
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 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 and must rely mainly on the resources of the community.
 
South Asian Practices:
Community Radio stations may be established and operated in the oral languages of these marginalized communities as well as their full participation and management, which will reflect their hopes and aspirations, the indigenous knowledge, resource and culture of local communities and will combine modern knowledge and technologies. Community Radio has been initiated in other South Asian countries like India, Srilanka, Nepal and Malaysia.
 
Among those countries situation Nepal is the best example. Out of the 22 independent radio stations now operating in Nepal, four can be called community stations. The others are referred to as commercial stations but most of them have strong public service contents in their programming. Nepal’s National Broadcasting Act does not provide clear distinction between commercial and community stations. The community radio stations are identified by their ownership and the power of the transmitters they use. Since license fees are based on the transmitter’s capacity, from Rs. 50,000 for using a 100 watt transmitter to Rs.200,000 for using a 500 watt transmitter, the communities prefer to use low power (100 to 200 watts) transmitters since they have very limited financial resources. All of the private stations are on the FM band since the law specifies that private groups can operate radio stations only on the FM band. There are at least 25 applications pending with the Government. No licenses have been issued in the past few months.  Under these circumstances, it is imperative for the marginalized community radommunities and various ethnic groups of our country to have their (own) Community Radio.
The first two community stations in Nepal, Radio Sagarmatha (set up in 1997) and Radio Madanpokhara (set up in 1999) were financed through IPDC (UNESCO) grants. They have since then been supporting themselves both through donor assistance for specific projects and through their own income from advertising and sponsored programms. Both are now largely self-supporting. Lumbini FM at Manigram was set up by a cooperative with an initial investment of US$10,000 raised from among the members of the cooperative.
Finance has not been the main problem with the community radio movement in Nepal. Many communities that have applied for licenses plan to raise their own investment money, and in some cases, they have already done so. There are several donors who realize the value of community broadcasting in a country like Nepal and ready to offer assistance in setting up community stations. The real bottleneck is in the licensing process. Even though the process is very clear in the National Broadcasting Act and the National Broadcasting Regulations, the government has failed to promptly review the applications and grant licenses where the pre-requisites have been met.
In all cases there has been some local financing. While some received initial funding from UNESCO or DANIDA, there were others that raised money locally both to set up and operate their stations. In the case oworried about financing. In tghe case of the Manigram station, they have so much advertising that they are no longer worried about financing. Radio Madanpokhara has saved enough money to money property and building a new structure to house a studio and offices. Swargadwari FM has raised enough money to operate the station; donor money was used to buy equipment. Madanpokhara holds period meetings of the community to discuss how more resources can be mobilized to make the station sustainable. Yes, there is some advertising revenue in all cases. These stations, not being commercial, have a policy to broadcasting limited number of advertising messages and be more selective in the type of advertisements to be accepted by the station.
Surprisingly, there has not been much interference from the government. One of the conditions imposed at the time granting the license is to broadcast Radio Nepal’s main news, which all stations do. Recently, the independent stations received a letter from the government to use 25% of their time in broadcasting programms of Radio Nepal. The stations decided not to do it and the Minister of Information and Communication claimed he was unaware of such a letter. On the whole the stations are quite independent. What is sad is that the government is not issuing licenses on a continuing basis.
 
Community Radio in Bangladesh, some Potentiality and preservation:
Community Radio can be used for the community to serve them by Edutainment, Infotainment and some development oriented program. The people of that particular community also raise their problem and desire to the authority of that particular community through Community Radio. 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. This is the most powerful point for community radio grow up in our country.
 
Morever, broadcasting local development news and advertisements releted to development services along with other infotainment programmes is permitted through community radio. The acceptance of the internatinaly recognized and accepted fundamental principles of community radio in Bangladesh is positively observed. The most significant aspect of the policy is that all community radio stations will be owned and run by the proper representatives of the concerned community, as an advisory committee and another management committee are mandatory with the real perticipation of the community people.
 
Bangladesh Better has also been serving the important responsibility of public awareness raising and above all involving the public of all levels in national development for around last seven decades. In the age of free flow of information, commercial FM radio stations are now operating in our country at private ownership to fulfill the demand of multidimensional utility. These mainly city centered channels usually broadcast entertainment programs. But no radio has yet been formed in our country that is fully dedicated for the various grassroots communities and ethnic groups. At last here in Bangladesh Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy 2008has been aproved by the present government which will accelerate democratic process and development of the unheard and marrginalized people.
 
Internationally recognized and accepted fundamental principles of community radio will also be followed in Bangladesh. Any Organization or Institution intending to operate community radio must fulfill the following principle:-
            (a) It should be explicitly constituted as a ‘non-profit’ organization
            (b) The institution / organization should have a proven record of providing service to local community for at least five years.
            (c) The community to be served by the Community Radio Station should be well specified and defined.
            (d) It should have an ownership and management structure that is reflective of the community that the CRS seeks to serve.
            (e) The program contents should cover educational, social, gender, economic, environmental and cultural fields that particular community.
            (f) Kind of political, sectarian or doctrinal program shall be prohibited.
            (g) The institution/ organization must be a Legal Entity.
            (h) The focus must be for communities deprived of the reach of mainstream media outlets.
            (i) Women participation and give priority the disadvantaged and backward sections of the population.
            (j) The basic objective should be serve the target community and the people to meet their causes by involving them in the programs broadcast from the station.
 
So, as if any organization will follow and voyage through this principle then it would be a productive and successful organization. Community Radio also can take the initiative for the student who will going to Secondary and Higher Secondary exam throgh tution system. For the lack of specialist and unavailable teacher most of the student of village areas suffering a lot. If there haveat least only one teacher of that particular community he or she also will serve to the student through radio.
 
Community Radio can be a platform of local government to promote various social awerness among the community like early marriege, family planning, AIDS, election, immunization and other problemetic issues.
 
Flood prone or earthquaqe prone areas are the most important area for Community Radio because community radio is the more nearest of community people because its says about community by their own voice. Its true that majority people can’t understand the language of government own running radio because the language of this radio (for any awarness issue) is so formal. The main objective of Community Radio is the language should be in local voice of that perticular community, so that it can be easily undestandable for the community people.
 
There have some preservation in this policy which is the
 
·                    Licence Fee: Community radio is a non-profitable organigation so its licence fee should be reasonable so that enterpreners can be able to connect there frequency easily.
·                    Conditions of the Policy also verry critical
·                    Terms & Conditions also being maintaining a little bit tough for organiger.
·                    Regulation and monitoring process will organiged by any government authority this is another weak point because for this reason the radio authority might have some pressure.
 
These presurvation might be affected to serve community facility to the community in a bad way. So, if its posible to avoid these sort of issues then it would be a better platform and examole of establishing new media around the world.
 
An advisory committee will be formed for each radio station but the member of these committee only the government representative. but it should be reform very necessary. There should be necessary to includ some social worker, teacher, journalist and general people of the frequency area thats why they can help to develop the progam. There should be more peoples involvement and participation neccesary for that particular community so that they can rely on it like there own things.