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হোম > Community Radio in Bangladesh The People are Ready
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কমপিউটার জগৎ
Community Radio in Bangladesh The People are Ready


Gazaria, a small village near Munshiganj surrounded by water and prone to flooding, is plagued by the ills so prevalent in Bangladeshi rural areas including poor health care, lack of employment, poor educational facilities and domestic violence. But this community of 150,000 has one big thing in its favor – after more than a year of waiting, it may finally get its own community radio station.

The community is clearly ready. On a recent trip to Gazaria, I met with community members from 13 to 60 years old to hear their thoughts on community radio. Did they know what it was? When asked, heads nodded and all hands shot up in the air. Did they think it was important? Some said they didn’t listen much to radio now because the programs are boring. Some said they preferred television to radio. But, if they had their own station, all said they would listen to it if the programs were about local issues that affect them.

To illustrate, the teenagers said they were ready to produce their own programs on topics such as drug abuse, early marriage, dropping out of school, and domestic violence. They also noted they wanted their own radio club. Older listeners said they would like to hear local weather information, agricultural and health programs, and market reports. They also said they would gladly contribute everything from eggs to fish to vegetables to prayers to support the station.

In another session, a 13-year old girl held a microphone for the first time and interviewed her neighbor pretending to be the Prime Minister visiting Gazaria. The young reporter asked what her plan for the future of the country might be. “I’m going to let community radio work for the good of the community,” replied the “Prime Minister” without missing a beat.

Participants were members of community forum groups organized by the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA), a local NGO known in the area for its low cost health care services, micro-finance programs and other community activities. AMDA applied for a community radio license after the Ministry of Information announced the new policy to launch community radio stations in Bangladesh in March 2008. It is one of only 27 organizations out of about 200 applicants to have made it to the final phase of the approval process.

According to executive director Sarder Abdur Razzak, AMDA has been busy educating the community about the potential radio station with “community awareness raising” sessions targeted toward students, and incorporating the message into existing activities such as its community forum groups for mothers, fishermen, and young people. The organization has even launched a “name the radio station” letter campaign to get community input on what to call the new station. Around 86 letters have been circulated to local NGOs, local authorities, and individuals.

The effort appears to be paying off. The volunteer list is growing, votes are coming in for the station’s name, and if the enthusiasm of the participants in the forums is any indication, the station will have no shortage of young reporters and lots of talent to keep the station on the air for years to come.

The Ministry of Information has not yet confirmed a date as to when it will start to issue the first round of licenses but says it will be “very soon.”

That day can’t come soon enough for the people of Gazaria.

CJ WEB

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