Dr. Dhanraj A. Patil explored a participatory communication approach for rural development in India. He did this by studying two grassroots community radio stations in rural India: the Sangam Radio in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh and the Radio Bundelkhand in Orchha district of Madya Pradesh.
Using media ethnography tools, the article aimed to answer if community radios in India are instrumental in encouraging the participation of the voiceless and the marginalized in their own development. Similarly, the article asked what sort of positive development changes emerged out of the actions of the voiceless marginalized sections in the rural settings.
The article highlighted the paradigm shift in the earlier dominant approach of communication, from one that is centered on information dissemination, to one that is participatory. The article also pointed out the significant contributions of the participatory bottom-up approach of community media shown in the case studies.
It recommended a participatory approach to rural development, and advanced that community radios’ core values should remain uncompromised.
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(Photo credit from Pippa Ranger/Department for International Development)