| 26 Sep 2022
Legislation for sustainable community radio needed

NEW DELHI: In December 2002, the Government of India approved a policy for grant of licenses for setting up community radio stations to well established institutions.

On 16 November 2006, the government notified a new community radio policy which permits NGOs and other civil society organizations to own and operate community radio stations as well.

While the government of India permitted the setting up of community radio stations, it chocked the growth of the radio stations with its guidelines on funding  This was the point in debate on the first day of discussions at IGNOU's two day conference on Community Radio in New Delhi on Monday.

Speaking on the question of sustainability, Ayodhya Lal Kalyan's Niketan Kripa Shankar Sriwastav said, If we want community radio to sustain in India, then awareness about it is required to be built, because community radio cannot sustain without the support of the community....

Banares Hindu University professor Bala Lakhendra stressed on establishing a DAVP-like legislation for community radio. He added, According to the government of India's guidelines, transmission of sponsored programmes are not permitted. Also in every one hour, community radio stations can only broadcast five minutes of advertisements. Therefore, it is needed to establish mechanisms like Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) to create a successful business model for community radio....

AIR director – IT Ashish Bhatnagar also emphasised the establishment of a council that can create a business model for community radio services in India 

Presently, there are 45 community radio stations, rather campus radio stations, across the country and 1300 applications currently pending with the government for license clearance. An estimated 4000 community radio stations can come up in the country.

However, till a sustainable business model is charted out, the future of community radio is likely to remain on shaky ground, the panelists concurred.