The need for community radio in the world is more relevant today than it was 10 years ago. Community radio is more close to the local citizens and their content is focused on the issues faced by communities that it seeks to serve. For a very long period of time, the burden of disseminating the information about the people was with the mainstream media as a result of which the communities in the countryside were under-represented. The community radio has given voice to such communities who were otherwise neglected. These views were expressed by Al-Amin Yusuf, Advisor for Communication and Information for South Asia, UNESCO while addressing a function organized to commemorate the ten years of Sangham Radio at Pastapur on October 15, 2018. He also announced that UNESCO will pay for the electricity bill for Sangham Radio for one year. The program was organized by Deccan Development Society (DDS) which saw the participation of various community radio operators, activists, enthusiasts, academics and representatives of multilateral agencies like UNESCO and Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA).
PV Sateesh, Director, DDS said that during the ten years journey of Sangham Radio, they have established better control over their media which helped in achieving peace, harmony and prosperity by promoting eco-friendly practices in agriculture, creating their own markets and empowering women. The station is entirely run by women who are responsible for creating content relevant to the community. Sateesh further said that this group of women has deep knowledge of the traditional agricultural practices and medicinal plants which has helped lifting the community up.
Eminent community media scholar, Prof. Vinod Pavarala, on this occasion, emphasized upon the relevance of the spirit of Pastapur and what Sangham Radio means to India. He said that Pastapur holds a significant place in terms of community radio movement in India as the Pastapur Declaration-2000 served as the foundational document for starting community radio in India. “The community radio movement gave an opportunity to the citizens to use media for their emancipation instead of being controlled by the media”, said Prof. Pavarala.
During the event, women working for Sangham Radio were felicitated for their contribution to successfully running the station. Those felicitated included – General Narasamma, Algole Ratnamma, Chinna Narsamma and others. Among the others present on the occasion were Dr. Shahid Rasool, Director, CEMCA, New Delhi; NA Shah Ansari, President, Communitry Radio Association (CRA); Anirban Sharma, National Programme Officer, UNESCO; N Ramakrishnan and Venu Arora from Ideosync Media; Arti Jaiman, Station Director, Gurgaon Ki Awaaz; Sajan Venniyoor, community radio activist; Pooja Murada of Alfaz-e-Mewat; Niyaz Ahmed of Radio Bulbul; Sanjay Chandenkar of Radio FTII, Pune; Prof. PL Vishveswar Rao of St. Joseph College; Prof. Kanchan K. Malik, Prof. Vasuki Belavadi Faculty Fellows of UNESCO Chair on Community Media, Dr. Janardhan Rao Cheeli of University of Hyderabad, students of different educational institutions, community members and others.
Aniruddha Jena & Ram Awtar Yadav
Department of Communication
University of Hyderabad