The world is under the seize of a pandemic that is beyond our worst imaginations. As of now, more than 350,000 human lives have been lost, while there has been a devastating impact on millions of livelihoods.
The impact of the pandemic on community radios is distressing. On the one hand, journalists and broadcasters, as front line workers, are personally exposed to risks of the infection. On the other hand, community radio stations are confronting mortal threats on their incomes, making it hard for them to conduct work as usual. Even as the stations strive to stay on air, lack of income, and logistical difficulties is pushing them towards closure.
There are other concerns, too, that expand beyond the present public health crisis. Almost half of the world’s population lives in the Asia-Pacific region. It is estimated that the region is home to nearly 900 million of the world’s poor. In several countries across the region, community radios are the only viable medium of reaching out to the public with vital information to fight the dreadful pandemic. Losing community stations will mean losing the most critical communication link with the largest portion of the most vulnerable population. That would be a dangerous situation for humankind.
As part of the Participatory Communication Plan, ComDev Asia is organizing, together with AMARC Asia Pacific, initiatives and campaigns to promote awareness and disseminate credible information about COVID-19 to the public.