More leaders for a decentralised CRFC

A four-day internship workshop for Community Radio practitioners and applicants concluded today. Organised by the Community Radio Facilitation Centre, the workshop was aimed at extending the reach of the CRFC team outside New Delhi.

It has long been felt that the CRFC needs to expand its footprint beyond New Delhi so that organisations and new applicants wishing to set up their own Community Radio Station get help from peers within accessible distance, within their region and sharing their language.

Eleven participants from different regions of the country (applicants wishing to set up Community Radio Stations or managers from Community Radio Stations that are already in operation) were walked through the various applications that form the process of applying for and running a Community Radio Station.

The workshop focussed on the Community Radio license procedure and the complexities faced by the applicants while applying for applications online at the different stages of the license procedure. This Internship Workshop will be followed by a series of three such similar workshops in the next couple of years.

The internship was inaugurated by Ms Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Ms Sahu emphasised that the CRFC and those it was lending its training to should be facilitators and not usurp the role of the applicants. “The applicant should know all the details of the applications,” she said, adding that, “The CRFC should not be expected to know every detail of the issues involved in a particular applicant’s case.”

Ms Ravina Aggarwal, Program Officer, Ford Foundation gave a head start to the workshop by speaking about the vision behind the formation of the Community Radio Facilitation Centre. “The idea is to build leadership among the broadcasting communities themselves, to be able to be very understanding of the policy requirements, so that you (participants at the internship workshop) can directly have that role to play,” she said.

Saying that the partnership with NGO, government and philanthropy has been a very successful one, she argued for not keeping the knowledge about the licensing process confined to a centralised CRFC body. “Our effort regarding this internship, has been in taking the knowledge of licencing beyond one organisation, decentralising it, to involve more people,” she said, explaining, “This is the reason for the internship programme.”

The internship workshop was facilitated by officials from the various ministries and departments connected with the Community Radio licensing process.

K S Rejimon, Director from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting dwelled on the role of the many actors in the licensing process, explaining the role of the Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee in tracking the pendency of Community Radio applications.

Others facilitating the workshop included Community Radio luminaries like Dr. R. Sreedher, Ms Rukmini Vemraju and Ms Jayalakshmi Chittoor. Besides, officials from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the Ministry of Communications & IT and the Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) were present to solve the queries and questions raised by the participants pertaining to the Community Radio license procedure.

Participants at the workshop were made aware of the many lacunae the Screening Committee frequently encountered. Dr R Sreedher cited instances where applicants were not aware of the objectives their organisations had professed in their applications for setting up Community Radio Station. Another issue he mentioned as raising eyebrows was if the applicants had the stomach to carry through the application process or the funds to run one.

By the end of the workshop the interns were well versed with the Community Radio license procedure and the nitty-gritties it involved.

As, Ramya K, from Radio Active said, “We feel confident to be able to facilitate potential applicants in our regions if we are approached.”

Mr Joginder Malik from an agricultural university-run CCS Community Radio Station actually wanted the CRFC to mention about the presence of the new team in the field when potential applicants made a call on the CRFC’s toll-free phone.

1798966_643813099005296_110784202_oMr Inderjeet Grewal, Deputy Director, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting moderating a group discussion on Understanding Facilitation and the process. Also seen in the picture alongside are groups facilitated by Ms Jayalakshmi Chittoor and Ms Rukmini Vemraju.