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Participatory development with a people-centric vision can make an effective promotion of community radios in Bangladesh. Aiming to achieve this objective --- a daylong Annual Planning and Review Meeting of Community Radio in Bangladesh was held on 30th April, 2013 at 10 am in IDB Auditorium, Dhaka.
The event was organized by Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) under the support of Free Press Unlimited.
Mr. Dulal Chandra Biswas, Director General, Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) of Ministry of Information was the key speaker along with some other community radio initiators in the country.
Mr. Biswas presented a draft Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit(CRCIT), developed by UNESCO Chair on Community Media – India, supported by Commonwealth Educational Media Center for Asia (CEMCA)/ Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and shared some thought of possible vision of community radio in Bangladesh.
He requested all to work in an integrated way by involving various categories of community radio stakeholders for nourishing this new sector as well as for ensuring the freedom of grassroots. ‘This initiative must be contained with pro-people oriented philosophy so that the vision can ensure community radio as a sustainable community media sector in the country, only then community radio could be a rural republic’, he added.
In different sessions the program highlighted on various demand based aspects of community radio, such as - the way to initiate Community Media News Agency (CMNA), publication of community media newsletter; planned BNNRC support for the community radio stations in 2013, discussion on possible partnership between Dhaka FM and other community radio stations and upcoming training on CR sustainability etc.
The sessions were presided and moderated alternatively by Community Radio initiators from different parts of the country. The inaugural session was moderated by Syed Tarikul Islam, Community Radio Naf 99.2 and Chaired by Mr. Shahidul Islam, Community Radio Nalta 99.2 Mr. AHM Bazlur Rahman, CEO of BNNRC made welcome speech. He has welcomed the participants and explained the objectives of the daylong Annual Planning and Review Meeting.
The second session was moderated by Ms. Parvin Nahar, Station Manager, Community Radio Jhenuk 99.2 and Chaired by Mr. Mehedi Hasan, Station Manager, Community Radio Pollikontho 99.2. The participants identified the progress, challenges, learning and possible interventions of radio sector. Some of the challenges they have identified are: Lack of continuous electricity, skilled and trained volunteers, appropriate business policy, Brain drainage of experienced staff, no back up transmitter, Dependence on centre-based technical support, natural and social disaster etc.
The following session discussed on how to initiate Community Media News Agency and the publication of monthly community media news letter. Mr. Amin Al Rashid was the speaker where Mr. Tareq Mahamood, LokoBetar 99.2 moderated the session and Syed Tarikul Islam Community Radio Naf 99.2 presided over the session.
The next session surrounded on the theme-how BNNRC will support the community radio stations in 2013. Mr.AHM Bazlur Rahman, CEO BNNRC was the key speaker, where Mr. Azizur Rahman, Community Radio Pallikantha 99.2 presided over and Ms.Sabrina Sharmin, Community Radio Chilmari 99.2 moderated the session.
In the last session of the day, participants discussed on possible partnership between Dhaka FM and other community radio stations, observation of World Press Freedom day(3rd May), and upcoming training on sustainability. During discussion Mr. M A Hakim, Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Anisuzzaman, General Manager of Dhaka FM mentioned some idea on future cooperation and possibility for area of work.
A total of 30 representatives from the Community Radios of different parts of the country have participated in the program. Throughout the day they projected to dig out the possible interventions for promoting community radios through reviewed progress and challenges of the last year. This participatory program was carried through discussion, group-work and presentation, question-answer session etc. The participants protested the recent incident of assault on Nalta community radio station 99.2 manager Mr. Abu Sufian Sajal. The meeting was started by observing 1 minute silence in memory of the recent death of ready made garments(RMG) workers at Savar.