A case for peer reviews

By Venu Arora

VNVenu Arora is of the opinion that peer review should not be linked to regulation and review of the Community Radio Stations.

I have been advocating for a few years now that the peer review mechanism not be treated or propagated as a review, but as a process for engaging with peers in order to learn and develop the Community Radio Movement.

When Community Radio Stations visit each other to share and learn from each other in a manner that contributes to a strengthening of operational processes as part of the peer review, the process upholds the principle of being ‘of, by and for’ the community. In no way should peer review be thought of as regulatory because if it is, it will reduce any chances there are of open learning and sharing.

Internationally there are well known models for media regulation. In most cases self-regulation or regulation by a representative body or set of representative bodies has been well-accepted, thereby granting independence to media which is critical in any democratic state. Community Radio Stations should evolve a process of self-regulation through their representative bodies. This process holds the Community Radio Stations responsible to the policy guidelines under which they have been allocated spectrum. It also assists them in developing and meeting ethical guidelines and key principles.

Are we to assume that someone from the North has nothing to learn from someone from the South?  Going by my argument above – about how I see peer review as a process, I would say the question has been answered.

In fact in a global community we have something to share and learn with people from extremely diverse backgrounds. The peer process is enabling, in that it makes possible the process of learning by providing opportunities for sharing. Of course I am assuming that the process is undertaken with ‘learning’ at the core of its design and not ‘regulation’ or ‘review’.

Venu Arora works as an Executive Director with NCR based Communication for Development organisation, Ideosync Media Combine