Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 24:
Community Radio Association, an association of seven functional radios and 25 LoIs (Letters of Intent) holders, was inaugurated at a function here on Saturday.
Inaugurating the Association at the IMAGE conference hall here, Madhusudan Padhi, commissioner cum secretary, I & PR & Civil supplies said community empowerment is the key to development of the nation and community radio will empower the masses in remote areas where mainstream media has not reached.
Padhi also inaugurated the logo of the Association on the occasion.
Ghasiram Panda, Senior Programme Manager, ACTIONAID , the other guest on the occasion, exhorted the government to promote community radio in the state as it has been reaching the population who have been deprived of access by mainstream media. .
While delivering the welcome address, Biswajit Padhi of Radio Swayamshakti appealed to the government to use the medium to reach out to the masses and promote transparency in public life. Presiding over the meeting, Senior Community Media Expert N A Shah Ansari, President of the Association, informed that sustainability of radio being a major issue, government agencies must come forward to improve the content of community media which will fulfil the aspiration of the people. There has not been much enthusiasm in sharing programmes, schemes and plans of the government so far, he lamented.
“Community radio movement is in a very nascent stage as proved by the fact that we have applicants only from 19 districts of Odisha,” said Pradip Dutta, Secretary of the association.
There were no applications from underdeveloped districts like Malkangiri, Nabrangpur, Mayubhanj, Rayagada and even some relatively developed districts like Jharsuguda and Ganjam because sustainability of the R=radio still is a big issue, he added.
Presently, the licensing procedure is not only cumbersome and inordinately long, often spanning from three to five years. Most of these radios are located in remote areas where scope for generating revenue to run them are very few which is why there is a greater need to support them, he argued.
Reacting to the representation presented by the association, MS Padhi agreed that there is a need to develop a policy to allow government advertisements in radio. Presently the state has no policy regarding advertisement in radio with the exception of All India Radio. He assured the association that henceforth the I & PR department will share government news with all community radios across the state to reach more people.
The inauguration was followed by a consultation which discussed among other things content generation, sustainability, networking, Technology, Policy, resilience building. Mrinal Chatarjee, Director of IIMC, Dhenkanal, Senior Journalist Basudev Mahapatara, Sishir Dash and Manoj Kumar Dash also participated in the discussion.