Community radio has an important role to play in disseminating correct and vital information especially in the times of disaster. The disaster management secretary Amit Singh Negi said this while speaking at a workshop on community radio for mass awareness and disaster risk reduction organised by the State Disaster Management Authority and the Disaster Mitigation and Management Center with the support of the Ideosync Media Combine here on Monday.
Negi said that disaster risk reduction has become essential in view of the increasing frequency of disasters, intensity and dramatic changes in the results. Referring to community radio, he said that there is a lot of participation and involvement of the people in the programmes being broadcast from these stations, so it is necessary to establish them with the aim of bringing a positive social change in the society. He said that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has simplified itscommunity radio licensing policy, so that local institutions, universities, civil society, voluntary institutions and non-government organisations come forward to establish community radio stations. The State government too will encouragecommunity radio stations, he added.
Highlighting the purpose and theme of the workshop, additional secretary Savin Bansal said that apart from the establishment of newcommunity radio stations in the state, encouraging the activities of already operating community radio stations and helping them become economically independent is the main objective behind the workshop. Stating that various community radio enterprises in the state were successful, he said that through this medium rural farmers and poor sections can communicate their message to thecommunity and the government.
Ramesh Bhatt, media advisor to the chief minister highlighted the multidimensional use of communityradio. He described community radio as the appropriate source of real time information dissemination. Bhatt assured that in view of the state’s geographical conditions, he would also appeal for financial support from the Chief Minister to empower the community radio stations. He further said that those running community radio stations should circulate more information about the government’s schemes and information before and after the disaster among the people of the state in a more effective manner.
Speaking on the occasion, the Disaster Mitigation and Management Center executive director Piyoosh Rautela highlighted the need for traditional knowledge of the state and communityradio for disaster risk reduction. He further said that under the community radio station promotion policy, the state government will grant 30 per cent of the total project cost to the interested institutions and organisations up to a maximum amount of Rs 5,00,000. In the policy, priority is given to radio stations in remote areas and it has been made mandatory to get the established resources insured against disaster. Prior to receiving the grant, the radio stations have to give certificates of the land and buildings for complying with the disaster safety standards. He said that for maintaining the financial independence of radio stations and maintaining their continuity, a fixed portion of the budget allocation for various schemes of the Central and State Government will be kept for them. These radio stations will give priority to the emergency information in their programmes, failing which the recommendation for cancellation of licenses of such radio stations can be made.
Rajendra Negi of the state’s oldest community radio station- Henwal Vani also shared his experiences on the occasion. Representatives of community radio stations from other parts of the state and country also shared their experiences in the workshop.