UNESCO supports creation of Bangladesh's first community radio station
Twenty-four year old Jafruddin declares with undying enthusiasm: "I want to become a famous singer and be well known throughout Bangladesh. I want to learn play the harmonium and sing formally by going to classes." A UNESCO supported Youth Community Multimedia Centre in Bangladesh has the infrastructure to help him.
Untouched by the trauma of disability (he lost a leg because of polio), Jafruddin anxiously awaits the establishment of Bangladesh's first cable community radio station in Sitakund District of Barakundu Union in order to realize another related dream - hosting his own music show.
Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), a grassroots NGO working in Bangladesh is establishing a community multimedia centre (CMC) with support from UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Given the lack of a legislative framework for community radio in Bangladesh, the centre will use different media like cable TV, loudspeakers and video and audio playback to cater to local information needs and reach the local community.
Jafruddin first heard of the Youth Community Multimedia Centre (YCMC) in Sitakund in September 2005 when a local staff member invited him to a training workshop. He says, "Some people in my village treat me unfairly. I try to be mentally strong but I feel that they should treat people with disabilities with more respect."
In a recently held community radio training workshop at the centre, he learnt how to record and edit programmes using Audacity, an open source audio editing software. The training also involved learning about the rationale for community radio and the importance of community participation and ownership.
When asked how he will contribute to his radio station, he says, "I want to speak about how people with disabilities should be treated with respect. I also want to have a weekly program where I will sing local songs. These songs are not available on the market and people will really like to listen to them. This way, I also will get recognition and people will also be entertained."
The YCMC studio will generate locally relevant content in the local language (Bangla) on a daily basis for one and half hours. The studio has been connected to the cable operator's office covering about one thousand households in Sitakund. For those without television sets, the CMC plans to set up loudspeakers directly from the studio. Some of the issues which have come up for content generation are environmental concerns, human rights in the local ship breaking industry, women's rights, education for all sections of society, unemployment, communal harmony, local culture and identity, and disabilities.
Story contributed by Ramnath Bhat firstname.lastname@example.org
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