Seminar on Community Radio Development – ‘Voices for Change and Peace: Taking Stock of Community Radio in South Asia’
UNESCO New Delhi will support a regional seminar titled ‘Voices for Change and Peace: Taking Stock of Community Radio in South Asia’. Organized in cooperation with the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), the UNESCO Chair on Community Media, the Community Radio Forum of India, and the Indian Academy for Self Employed Women (IASW), the event will take place in New Delhi on 17–18 January 2013.
The two-day seminar will be followed by a capacity-building workshop for 75 South Asian women community broadcasters. Participants of the workshop will be trained to produce programmes on climate and poverty eradication – two issues which present serious challenges to regional development.
The seminar will reflect on South Asian experiences with community radio (CR), including the medium’s strong potential for social change and promotion of peace in the region. It will bring together community broadcasting leaders from across South Asia, along with representatives of national associations, governments, and strategic partners of the CR sector in the region. The event will focus on planning a few achievable actions that CR stations in South Asia can work on jointly or in coordination. These actions will be related but not limited to cross border issues, exchange and learning visits, advocacy for legislative reform at the SAARC level, and other pertinent matters of common concern to the CR sector in the region.
The seminar in New Delhi is both timely and necessary. A number of concerns make the emergence and sustenance of a third tier of broadcasting (besides the public and commercial broadcasting sectors) in South Asia a particularly challenging task. Problems such as restrictive policy frameworks, inadequate allocation of spectrum for communities, and the lack of a sustainable support system are among the issues that need to be addressed urgently in order to enable the genuine democratization of the media in South Asia. Apprehensions over security arising from the activities of a range of non-state actors in South Asia have also contributed to a somewhat hesitant opening up of airwaves in certain areas. ‘Voices for Change and Peace’ will explore the community radio environment in individual countries, identify common challenges, and work towards establishing frameworks for action and regional cooperation.
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