Background and Rationale: Bangladesh has gone a long way towards creating an enabling environment for launching Community Radio. The Government has opened frequency for FM stations and satellite channels. It has also drafted the Bangladesh Broadcasting Act in 2003 with the aim of addressing social and economic issues.
It is a vital moment when Community Radio is going to make an important place in the communication field in the country. The present non-political Care Taker Government formulated Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy – 2008 on 12 March this year and gave an advertisement on 18 March in the newspaper asking applications from interested initiators to install Community Radio in the country. 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. As a result, BNNRC received huge response from the interested development organizations for technical support in this regard. Receiving huge response from the interested development organizations and research institutions the authority extended the deadline up to 30 April. 400 organizations drew application forms from the Ministry of Information 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 feels deep urge to set up a Community Radio Academy in Dhaka. This will help 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. So that NGOs/CBOs and communities can prepare themselves for the ensuing challenges in operating Community Radio effectively by accommodating the use of limited resources to reach mass people including rural and disadvantage people. Moreover this academy will help academia, researchers, government officials, media activists, community leaders and policy makers to understand and work closely for the promotion and positive role of community radio for the advancement of Bangladesh in various development sectors.
Purpose of Community Radio Academy:
BNNRC has already set up Community Radio Academy as one of its social enterprise to promote Community Radio installation, broadcasting and operation around the country:
- To Promote the Effective use of Community Radio for Development; Take all measures for essential improvement of community radio broadcasting;
- To organize seminars, workshops and other motivational program associated with community broadcasting; establish contact with other similar national and international organizations for promoting mutual benefit and understanding;
- To Advise the Government and Policy makers on any matter relating to community radio and development; assist in the setting up of community radio with technical and professional expertise and as well as in securing funds;
- To strengthen networking among community radio stations, community radio promoters and independent community radio producers, and to facilitate exchange of radio programmes among them; assist communities in establishing community radio in different geographical areas keeping in mind the linguistic, cultural, ethnic and social diversity;
- To strengthen capabilities of established community radio stations with professional and technical assistance; organise periodic trainings for community radio producers and technicians; identify appropriate places, from technical and resources points of view, for encouraging establishment of radio stations;
- To produce manuals and reference materials in community radio, undertake community radio audience research/studies; active in lobbying and advocacy in order to mould public opinion in favor of making Community Radio Trust Fund that are conducive to the growth and expansion of community radio;
- To establish and promote contacts with like-minded international organizations for world solidarity in favor of promotion of community radio broadcasting.
BNNRC will establish Community Radio Academy (CRA) in its national secretariat in Dhaka. All the activities will be implemented under three departments namely Research and Development Department, Capacity Building Department and Technical Cooperation Department of the academy. The academy will take necessary steps for arranging the following training courses, workshops and research works effectively
Research and Development: Research and development activities on challenges and prospects of Community Radio operation in Bangladesh including baseline survey, policy advocacy, evaluation and monitoring, feedback, listeners’ survey, publishing newsletter, publishing Community Radio handbook, library and archive, Community Radio based web portal and case studies on success and failure of Community Radio will be accomplished.
Capacity Building: 8 basic and 8 advanced training courses will be arranged for about 240 Community Radio staff working across the country. 12 advocacy workshops, each in every month, will be arranged in center point in regional level with policy makers and stakeholders. An annual Community Radio conference of the stakeholders of all community radio stations located at different regions in Bangladesh will be arranged in Dhaka. Moreover, experience sharing, exposure trip, radio producing contents of program, news and talk show, capacity building training on program production, editing and presentation, support to budgeting and planning, broadcast management and schedule scripting will be arranged.
Technical support for studio set up, maintenance and broadcasting, schedule exchange, exchange visit, help desk, trouble-shooting, national and international communication. Publishing four Reports
From this Community Radio Academy, Community Radio stakeholders will have on-hand training of technical and management skills, come to know about the function, management, procedure, problem, prospect and sustainability of the Community Radio as a tool of ICT and have all concerned resources and facilities available for their progress and success. Thus NGOs/CBOs and communities can prepare themselves for the ensuing challenges in operating Community Radio effectively by accommodating the use of limited resources to reach mass people including rural and disadvantage people. Moreover, from this academy academia, researchers, government officials, media activists, community leaders and policy makers will understand and be encouraged to work closely for the promotion and positive role of community radio for the advancement of Bangladesh in various development sectors. Thus from the beginning of the Community Radio set-up in Bangladesh, the key stakeholders will gain full preparation of potential challenges and difficulties to be faced in operating radio station and broadcasting radio program.
Through exchange visits, representatives of certain areas and communities will have practical experience of working environment, interest issues, culture, socio-economic status, challenges and difficulties of other communities in respect to running Community Radio. Moreover, the printed reports and newsletters of the project activities, the papers presented in the workshops, opinion of resource persons and participants and articles on exchange visit experience will be very helpful for sustainable and effective guiding force of the Community Radio stations. These publications will be helpful for long-term preservation and sharing with more policy makers and people working in this field for the greater positive impact.
Through the Community Radio web portal, each CR station will have easy access and facility of uploading their productions and downloading the productions of other stations for sharing and exchanging contents, materials, music, schedule and planning reciprocal and integrated cooperation and development.
Responsibility and Accountability
BNNRC will take the responsibility of setting up the academy. The Chief Executive Officer of BNNRC is the focal person for all kinds of correspondence. The activities of this academy will be duly monitored and documented in the project completion report (PCR), which will be submitted to the donor within one month of project completion. The financial reporting will also be accomplished quite soon after the implementation of the project.