Confronting disasters with community radio in Bangladesh

on Monday, 15 February 2016 11:53. Posted in News from the region

cyclonekomenIn celebration of World Radio Day 2016: Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster, FAO carried out an interview with Bazlur Rahman, Chief Executive Office of Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC).

Emergency radio in India happens at last

on Monday, 01 February 2016 20:41. Posted in News from the region

CuddaloreRadioA phone call from John Nelson, Managing Trustee of Sarnalayam Trust, in Cuddalore is what it took to get the ball rolling to set up the first emergency FM station in India. Cuddalore district was among the severely affected areas by the floods that hit Tamil Nadu on November 8, 2015. Reportedly, 80 people died, two villages were completely cut off from the road, and as many as six out of 13 blocks in the district were severely affected. The most difficult task in disaster mitigation is to cope with the aftermath of disaster and loss. And Cuddalore was no different.

Nelson felt a radio station would be timely to cater to immediate needs – for warning signals, connecting families, emergency announcements, direct people to relief material and vice versa. Moreover, a radio station in Cuddalore was much needed, given that media coverage of the floods focused mainly on Chennai and other neighbouring areas.

Nelson alerted Ram Bhat of Maraa and Acting President AMARC (World Association of Community Radio Broacasters) Asia-Pacific, and suggested the need for an emergency station. Members of the Community Radio Forum (CRF) quickly acted upon this request and approached the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Wireless Protocol Committee to issue an emergency license for flood affected Cuddalore. Almost as a domino effect, things fell in place, and the license was issued on December 7, 2015. The public sector enterprise, BECIL (Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd.) made arrangements for a transmitter; technicians and CRF volunteers left for Cuddalore the same night.

The radio was set up with the bare minimum requirements. BECIL technicians worked all day on December 8 to install the transmitter. Two poles mounted on top of one another transformed into a tower, antenna and remaining parts were assembled in complete darkness atop the District collectors’ office. The station went on air midnight of December 8.

History was made (Please see editorial by Ashish Sen on earlier efforts to set up emergency radio in the country.) This was an important move towards achieving hands on experience on disaster communication. Significantly, the bureaucratic procedures involved in acquiring a license were minimal in this case. The focus was on effectively addressing the urgency of the matter and high priority was accorded to ensure that local communities had access to information in their local language.CuddaloreMap

Volunteers from Auroville Radio, Kalanjiam Radio and independent broadcasters reached out and helped set up the station with basic equipment and produced a jingle and announcements. It was inaugurated by the District Collector on December 9. In every sense, the station marked a new beginning. While it is still early days, field reports confirm that the local community have started to call the radio station requesting for information and also sharing their grievances. According to Ram Bhat, “The District Collector comes as and when he is free to visit the radio station. He has asked the radio station to restrict itself to announcements related to government information. The radio station personnel are noting down all the grievances on a register and passing it on to the DC, but this content is not being aired as of now. There is [also] a shortage of volunteers, equipment and funding for the emergency radio. The district administration while supportive in principle has not offered any financial or in-kind support apart from the building, power supply and basic furniture.”

Meanwhile, as things are still afloat, people are finding ways to stay connected. A place of belonging is being built on air. Tune into 107.8 FM in Cuddalore.

Source: © Ekta Mittal, Maraa, UNESCO Chair on Community Media

On February 13, Bangladesh will observe the 5th World Radio Day: Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster

on Monday, 01 February 2016 20:22. Posted in News from the region

WRDlogoEnred for web5th World Radio Day 2016 is going to be observed in local and national level in Bangladesh on 13 February 2016. In the mean while, all radio station like Public Service Broadcasting, Private Broadcasting and Community Broadcasting are preparing for celebrating the day for the 5th time in Bangladesh.The theme for this fifth edition is Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster.

In this occasion, Public Service Broadcasting, Private Broadcasting and Community Broadcasting initiators will arrange a Colorful Rally, Seminar, Cultural Program and Antic Radio Set Exhibition at local and national level. Representative from media, practitioners, civil society members, administration and delegates from different level of the society will be invited in the event. Besides, 12 Bangladesh Betar (Radio) regional stations, 14 Private FM radio stations and 16 Community Radio stations in outside Dhaka will organize colourful rally and seminar on the occasion.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has started advocacy process on observing the World Radio Day in Bangladesh on 13 February in collaboration with Public Service Broadcasting, Commercial broadcasting & Community Broadcasting at local and national level. As a result World Radio Day Observation National Committee was formed to observe the day locally & nationally by Ministry of Information, People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Source: Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)

On February 13, AMARC celebrates the vital role of community radio on the occasion of World Radio Day

on Friday, 29 January 2016 17:23. Posted in Events

WRDlogoENblue for webFebruary 13 is World Radio Day (WRD), a celebration of community radio as a medium of primary importance. This Day aims to promote gender equality on the air, access to information, the development of independent media, the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.

For this fifth edition, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and all the partners in the public, commercial and community media, invite you to celebrate and emphasize the importance of radio around the theme "Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster".

This is an opportunity to enhance and promote community radio as a privileged tool for communication and access to information for people in emergency and disaster situations.

To feed the discussions during this day, five key themes were identified:
  1. Radio saves lives
  2. Freedom of expression and journalists' safety should be disaster-proof
  3. Radio has social impact and provides access to information. People's right to information should be protected.
  4. Radio frequencies should be protected in times of emergency.
  5. Radio empowers vulnerable people.
This day of celebration is also an opportunity to remember why we love community radio, to highlight the unique power of this medium to bring people together and toshare this with the entire world.

With this in mind, AMARC invites you to share:

  • information regarding the events you are planning for this day
  • audio programs related to the key themes mentioned above
Please send your information or programs via We Transfer at: In your message, please include your name, the radio that broadcasts your production, your country, the title of your production, a brief description of the topic discussed, the logo of your radio and attach, if possible, pictures to illustrate your production. This information will be used to promote your productions on websites and social networks.

AMARC will give international visibility to all events and productions. Some programmes could be selected for the special broadcast of UNESCO.

Throughout the day on February 13, use the hashtags #WRD_AMARC, #WorldRadioDay and #RadioSavesLives to identify your posts on social networks. You can also follow the activities on Twitter and Facebook.

On February 13, let's celebrate community radio together! Join us! Thank you for your participation!