BNNRC & Community Radio Movement in Bangladesh
Community Radio movement has started in Bangladesh in 1998. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) along with other like-minded organizations and also representatives of the civil society started movement for CR operation.
2008, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, the Hon’ble Chief Adviser of the Non-Party Caretaker Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, has taken the charge BNNRC organized a Letter Campaign regarding community radio. The objective of the campaign was to open up the community radio as a pilot basis. As the outcome of the campaign Office of the Chief Adviser sent an advice to the Ministry of Information in order to release permission for the pilot basis community radio.
For the first time in the history a high authority meeting is held at the conference room of the Information Ministry regarding community radio on the 23 July in 2007 chaired by the Information Secretary and organized by the Ministry of Information. After a comprehensive discussion regarding community radio as a pilot basis the meeting takes decision to form a ministerial committee of 8 members convened by the Director General of Bangladesh Betar who would make concept paper, regulatory framework and application form in relation to community radio and would submit to the Ministry by one month. According to the discussion the Ministry issues the circular regarding the 8 members-committee on 22nd May in 2007.
After several meetings the Director General of Bangladesh Betar finalized the draft of the concept paper, policy and application regarding community radio. BNNRC and MMC assisted the committee in this regard.
The Ministerial Committee officially presents the concept paper, policy and application regarding community radio in a meeting organized by the Ministry on 29th October in 2007. After a comprehensive discussion on the issue the meeting decides the submitted concept paper, policy and application forms to be sent to the different concerned ministries for comments and perusal. It is also decided in the meeting that another meeting would be held after the comments are received. According to the decision all the papers are already sent to the listed ministries for comments on 25th November in 2007.
An inter-ministerial meeting is held on the last 6th February. Representatives of the concerned ministries were present in the meeting. At last, the government formally announces the Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy 2008 on 12 March 2008. The Ministry of Information of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh invited very rapidly the applications for Community Radio installation, broadcast and operation from the interested organizations.
|Major Role of BNNRC
|Awareness raising||Raising awareness about the effectiveness of Community Radio in improving life and livelihood of the rural communities, poverty alleviation and institutionalization of democracy and good governance Promotional activities on Community Radio potentialities|
|Developing materials||Developing and publishing Community Radio guidelines and materials|
|CR Help desk||Providing technical support to draft Community Radio policy
Promoting initiators in submitting application for CR license in accordance with the policy
|Community Media Academy
|Setting up a Community Media Academy to make the Community Media related data, information, research, guideline, training and technical services available for the stakeholders Community Media related knowledge management and updating through the website|
|Advocacy||Organizing workshops on Community Radio issues
Use of Community Radio for the effective and successful implementation of five years plan and other safety net programs
Use of Community Radio to reduce corruption in the public distribution system
|BNNRC in CR related government body||BNNRC has been included in the Central Monitoring Committee of the Government as a member|
In order to facilitate the application and registration process of the organizations for Community Radio, BNNRC immediately opened a help desk in its secretariat in Dhaka. Receiving huge response from the interested development organizations and research institutions the authority extended the deadline up to 30 April. 450 organizations drew application forms from the Ministry and 178 applications have been submitted from different organizations in this regard.
In the whole process the Government ensured the proper participation and representation from civil society organizations through incorporating representatives in Regulatory Committee, Technical Committee and National Monitoring Committee for the successful operation of the Community Radio.
Under the above-mentioned circumstances, BNNRC set up a Community Radio Academy in Dhaka. This helps Community Radio stakeholders having on-hand training of technical and management skills, coming to know about the function, management, procedure, problem, prospect and sustainability of the Community Radio as a tool of ICT and having all concerned resources and facilities available for their progress and success.
Community Radio So Far in Bangladesh
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has been struggling for the last 12 years to open up the community media (including Community Radio, Community Television and Community film) and giving focus on its vital role as voices of the voiceless people. BNNRC has been addressing the community radio & community TV access issue for over a decade, almost since its emergence in the year 2000.
Now 14 Community Radio Stations are on-air in the country, aiming to ensure empowerment and right to information for the rural community. They are broadcasting altogether 120 hours program per day on information, education, local entertainment and development motivation activities. Around 536 Youth Women & Youth are now working with those Stations throughout the country as rural broadcasters.
The reality of today is that the bondage between the community people and local-level community radio stations are getting strengthened day-by-day. Community Radio has now become their part of life. Community Radio becomes the instrument for the livelihood battle of the rural people. BNNRC established the Community Media News Agency (CMNA), Community Media Academy (CMA) and Monthly Community Media to share development news & building capacity for the Community Media sector in Bangladesh.
We have now started advocacy with the Government of Bangladesh to open up Community Television for Development. We hope that, community television will come into being within a short time in Bangladesh. We hope that, community television will come into being within a short time.