Community Radio is an effective tool for achieving plurality in the media, particularly by ensuring participation of the marginalised sections of the society in the media and addressing information poverty. Democratising the usage of airwaves, Community Radio provides citizens a platform for exercising their right to freedom of expression and securing easy access to media.
A medium like Community Radio is an important instrument for creation of knowledge communities and also making a government aware of the concerns of its citizens. At the same time, an enabling policy environment that facilitates single window clearance and time bound processing of Community Radio applications, allocation of spectrum, and promotion and digitalisation of radio signals to accommodate more frequencies further encourages organisations to apply for Community Radio licences.
To achieve these goals, the Community Radio Facilitation Centre (CRFC) was set up by Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) in 2011 with support from the Ford Foundation with the purpose of providing guidance to Community Radio licence applicants, evolve guidelines and toolkits, support capacity building of Community Radio stations etc.
OneWorld – an international not-for-profit organisation that promotes Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) – has taken over the management of Community Radio Facilitation Centre beginning September 2013.
CRFC facilitates Community Radio applicants through various stages of licensing, coordinates and liaises with different ministries to expedite clearances, and creates and enhances support systems and mechanisms.
In addition to supporting Community Radio Cell of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, CRFC facilitates close coordination among key ministries for expediting inter-ministerial clearances and is in the process of sensitising various ministries and departments related to social welfare on tapping the potential of Community Radio.