BANGLADESH: Community radio to play key role in rural development

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Speakers discuss the importance of community radio in South Asia at conference

Speakers at a two-day National Consultation on ’Community Radio in Bangladesh’ yesterday said community radio will play a significant role at grassroots level for rural development.

They said it can focus on issues of agriculture, gender inequality, education, trade and commerce, disaster, weather, natural calamities, poverty and social problems.

The speakers said it is very common now in many countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is also very economic to install and easy to operate, they added.

They said community radio is for the people, run by the people and owned by the people.

The consultation was jointly organised by Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC), The Forum for Development, Journalism and Communication Studies (Focus), Mass Line Media Centre (MMC), Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) and Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE) at the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) auditorium in the city supported by Unesco, Unicef and UNDP.

Dr M Enamul Haque, member of Law Commission and former Inspector General of Police, said community radio can play an important role in disaster management.

Writer Selina Hossain said it will be able to play a significant role if it keeps out of politics and religion. She stressed highlighting the gender issues on community radio.

Bishwa Sahitya Kendra Chairman Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed said “We are to keep pressure on the government to allow community radio all over the country as it always believes in go-slow policy.”

Democracy Watch Executive Directoe Taleya Rehman said as radio is very powerful and can reach remote areas, so community radio will play a significant role. The participation of locals will increase its significance, she added.

Chief Executive of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) Prof Hossain Zillur Rahman stressed the role of community empowerment through community radio. He said as it will not replace the mainstream media so policy-makers shouldn’t be worried to allow it.

Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelly, President of Bangladesh Centre for Development Research, presided over the inaugural session. In his speech, he said it can play an important role in rural development.

Advisor to the Unesco Asia-Pacific office Tarza Vartanon, Unesco resident representative Wolfgang Volman and MMC Executive Director Kamrul Islam Manju also spoke.

Two sessions will be held on the community radio on the concluding day today.

Source: The Daily Star (link opens in a new window)