The peoples voice

The government’s recent CR policy is considered a big leap forward in enabling people to participate in the mass media. The next five years may see some self-help groups, fisherfolk and farmer groups, in areas remote and near, bid for radio stations of their own. (Malvika Kaul of India together recently wrote in her report THE MOUTH PIECE OF CHANGE.

Isn’t this style wonderful and worth a pat and even more coz of the independence of the medium. The common man atlast seems to be incharge of the news and happenings around, if not anything else. Even here the gender peeps in and its the women folk who are more interested and active as well as concerned. I know most of it is experimental and might not stand the sustainability principle for now but who knows tommorrow you might hear a CR announcing this is veeru popuri from the forests of nallamalla broadcasting folk stories and folk music. Heeee

How about trying something like this when your elected public representative doesnt show up to solve your problems. oops nooooo its not Gandhigiri….

The villagers of the Angada Block in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district had for long been asking for the basic facility of a school – an appeal that had been expressed, until now, through letters and invitations to the local administration and the government. What finally drew the attention of Savra Lakra, the MLA of the Khijli Vidhan Sabha, was a play performed by the villagers on the dire need for schools in the village. This programme was aired on FM Ranchi, as part of a community radio initiative in Angada Block, on the day of its inauguration on 31st October 2004. It forced the legislator to come all the way and promise the villagers that they will soon have schools in their village.

Initiated by Charkha Development Communication Network, this Delhi-based NGO aims to empower the rural poor and the disadvantaged communities and to articulate voices that highlight the local issues to the opinion leaders and policy makers. Initially as part of a Pilot Project Community Radio initiative in Jharkhand, in association with the regional partner, Manthan Yuva Sansthan, a need-based study was conducted of selected community people, who were then trained to develop and design a half hourly radio programme in a magazine format.

In India, the idea of CR has been used in different ways. In Uttarakhand, young men and women make and broadcast programmes that inform the public about developments such as Panchayat elections, and record the historical and folk literature of the hills. In Kutch, Gujarat, realising the low literacy level of the area, the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS), supported by UNDP, started Radio Ujjas, a radio initiative focused on women’s issues in the local dialect. “The radio programmes have had a ground-level impact. Once a woman just barged into our studio and talked about how she was tortured by her in-laws. The in-laws were later arrested,” said KMVS’s Preeti Soni.

Dalit women in Medak district, Andhra Pradesh, supported by the Deccan Development Society, refused to air their radio programme on AIR. They feared that before or after their programme on organic agriculture, AIR would run an advertisement of a pesticide company. Today, the women run their own radio station and narrowcast the programmes.

The Multinationals that I hate (I mean it) have given a spurr of activity in the CR (community radio field) and UNESCO which normally is branded US pocket organ has brought in small or some even more radical changes in rural areas round the world.

UNESCO has supported several CR projects In Budhikote, Karnataka (a project supported by UNESCO and run by NGOs), local women’s self-help groups established a cable radio network that uses computing technology to produce and disseminate radio programmes on sericulture, organic agriculture, child and reproductive health. In the 1980s, UNESCO helped develop the first 30 Watt solar-powered transmitter used in several CR projects. More recently, UNESCO supported the development of a radio in a box – something that is small, effective and can be repaired by people themselves. This 55 x 50 cm box contains a laptop, mixer, CD/Cassette player and a 30W FM transmitter and antenna.

Followers of the open media movement will be familiar with Ian Howard and the community radio inititaives from Geekcorps in Mali.

Look at this article for more on Community radio: Unshackle FM radio
VOICES, a Bangalore based development communication NGO, manages an informative website on community radio.

Think for a moment what a powerful, noncommercial radio station could do in your community. As the late George Gerbner, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, said, we need a media not run by “corporations that have nothing to tell and everything to sell, that are raising our children today.”

people are finding innovative ways to fight back, to demand independent, community-based media. One such effort that you can join is the movement to create new, full-power, noncommercial FM radio stations .

Community radio is the antidote to that small circle of pundits featured on all the networks, who know so little about so much, explaining the world to us and getting it so wrong. On community radio, you can hear your neighbors, you can hear people from your
community: the silenced majority, silenced by the corporate media.

In 1983 the principal global media were owned by 50 corporations, most of them US-based. By 2002 this had fallen to just nine corporations. Today the figure is about five.

In the 2003 edition of his landmark book, India’s Newspaper Revolution, it was observed that the overwhelming dominance of two newspapers (per language) had become evident in seven of India’s 13 major languages.

Fight the big corporate media, start your own community radio station:

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