Anita Iyer    20 Feb 09 10:20 IST

A way ahead for community radio stations

MUMBAI: The third annual meet of the Community Radio Forum was organised on 14 February at Radio Bundelkhand, Orchha. Resolutions regarding forming a consortium for approaching advertisers, relocating the secretariat for Community Radio Forum, reserving 4 MHz of frequency for CRs and lifting the current ban on news were suggested during the meet.

The earlier meetings have been held in Delhi in 2007 and in Bangalore in 2008. The Orccha meet was attended by representatives of community radio initiatives in the country, including the Kutch based Radio Ujjas, Radio Kumaunvaani, Uttarkhand based Henvalvani, Radio Dhadkan, Gurgaon based The Restoring Force, radio initiative by IGNOU etc, and hosted by Radio Bundelkhand.

Community Radio Forum is a registered body under the Societies Act officially registered on 26 February 2008. The forum facilitates better interface between the government and communities, funding agencies, and other broadcast media, and also helps communities /organizations to set up and operate their own Community Radio Station.

Some of the key activities of the CRF are in the areas of policy reforms and advocacy, documentation, monitoring and evaluation of CR Initiatives, awareness building conferences, capacity building, technology options, setting up a help desk, fund raising etc.

The annual meet addressed many issues including that the secretariat and the national convener of CRF which was Drishti Media, Arts & Human Rights to be relocated and CRF is in the process of shifting their secretariat. It was also resolved to make CRF a pan India organisation and the core team to include representatives from as many states as possible. For expanding the CRF network across states, membership forms were floated during the meet where the communities could opt for institutional or individual memberships. The annual subscription fees for both the categories includes- Rs 1000 for institutional membership and Rs 300 for individual ones.

The current status of community radio in India includes approximately 141 NGO applicants with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry of which 40 may have received Letters of Intent. The operational ones include 36 campus-stations and three operational NGO-led CR stations - MVSS led station at Satara, Bundelkhand Radio at Orchha and the Deccan Development Society DDS community radio station at Pastapur, Andhra Pradesh.

The third annual meet of the CRF held at Radio Bundelkhand was a great opportunity for communities to meet and discuss potentials and problems/issues, which may be faced by them in setting up

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