The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) initiated a self assessment process for community radio (CR) stations in India at a three-day workshop on ‘Peer Review’ for CR practitioners organised by MIB in association with the Community Radio Association (CRA) in New Delhi from February 17-19, 2014.

The peer review process has been put in place to help stations self-assess their performance and progress with the help of their peers. The workshop focussed on the need for community radio (CR) stations to assess their own growth and follow this process with similar reviews by peers. It also spelt out how stations could carry out the self-assessment processes with some of the homegrown toolkits available for the purpose.

Speaking on the occasion, Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, MIB explained that with the CR sector having completed 10 years in India, the time was now ripe to look back and see what had been achieved and the steps the CR stations had taken towards achieving their goals. She said that the Ministry was keen to ensure that the assessment would be by peers and not by officials. This was for the purpose of continuous improvement of the sector and not for any punitive action.

The three toolkits from India recommended at the workshop were the Self Assessment
Toolkit developed by the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia, the Community Radio Self Assessment Guide introduced by Ideosync Media Combine and the Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit (CR-CIT)developed by the
UNESCO Chair on Community Media, University of Hyderabad.

MIB has appointed Dr. Rukmini Vemaraju to coordinate the peer review. In her presentation, Dr. Vemaraju gave details about the objectives of the process and spelt out the methodology to be adopted by the participating stations.

Dr. Kanchan K. Malik, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad spoke about the structure and philosophy of the Community Radio Continuous
Improvement Toolkit (CR-CIT) that the UNESCO Chair on Community media has developed with support from CEMCA. She explained that a key strength of CRCIT
is that it seeks to move away from the externally driven ‘measure’ and ‘prove’ impact
imperative to collective reflection with a view to ‘understand’, strengthen and continually
‘improve’ the CR initiatives.

Ms Jayalakshmi Chittoor presented her views and shared the Self Assessment Toolkit. Developed as a set of questions under the various operational aspects of a CR station, the
toolkit is meant to enable, “regular self assessment exercises that give the CRS an opportunity to plan training and other capacity building tracks in their upcoming years work plans”.

Being the first such Peer Review workshop to take place in the Community Radio sector, the three-day event at New Delhi also initiated a process of visiting stations to identify
the areas of improvement for the visiting CR station and the  CR station being visited.

According to Mr Naguveer Prakash from Kalanjiam Samuga Vanoli, “the whole process will help one understand their station’s progress so far, and the complimentary visit between stations will help to achieve higher targets.”



Compiled from EDAA and UNESCO Chair blogs