On air to air many views

There is a great deal of talk these days about the Supreme Court allowing a PIL against the ban on news over private radio including community radio (CR). No one can deny the importance of CRs: they can be used as a vital information tool for disaster risk mitigation, reaching information to people who live in far-flung areas and also discuss issues that commercial radios won’t touch. Sadly, even after a decade of it becoming a legal entity, most people know nothing or little about CR, which is basically owned and run by community-based groups or NGOs and, in an ideal world, by the (ordinary) people themselves.

The core principle behind CR is to operate it as a medium that gives voice to the voiceless and the disempowered. CR fulfils the needs of self-expression for groups who have negligible access to the mass media. World-wide, CR is seen as a means to defend people’s rights, promote diverse cultures, and as a significant peace-building instrument.When the first set of policy guidelines for CR were announced in India in 2003 following passionate lobbying by civil society groups, the limited spectrum for this non-profit sector was made available only to recognised educational institutions to run their stations.

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