Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Open Market impact!

             Ordeal of Community Radio in Globalization!

      Radio has the reputation of being the oldest and cheapest medium of entertainment in India. Even today, Radio is more credible and familiar to Indian people in comparison to other communication medium like Broadcasting Media, Print Media, Web Media or Social Media. The increasing polularity and legitimacy enjoyed by the various news channel, journals, online forums with great participation coming from the masses in the form of “letter to the editor” or “online comments” on a news item is indicative of the fact that the Indian population, hitherto ensconced in its cocoon is becoming increasingly active. In the same manner, not even a single phone-in programs of Radio seems to have suffered with audience crisis ever. In Metro cities, one can enjoy FM in cab and different places that indicate the popularities of Radio in Metro cities as well. Of course, this is immensely good for the health of Indian democracy.
      Community Radio, which is a newly modified chapter of Radio, is indeed a ray of hope for the common people, who are the victims of globalization and open market economy, in India. For marginalized people, who are divided in different community, Community Radio is the only way to pave the way of democracy and a tool, that can be used for enjoy their right to speech and expression. In many part of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs and citizens to work in partnership to further community development as well as broadcasting aims. Community radio is a type of radio service, that serves a particular community either geographical or communes and are also run by that community. An essential feature of community media is that since it is completely free from the clutches of the market, profit motive in its functioning does not hold water.
Many questions emerge as on 22th of March, 2012, without any warning or alarm, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology hiked the license cost i.e spectrum fee, mendatory for playing a community radio, from 19,700 Rupees per month to 91,000 Rupees per month and implemented it w.e.f April, 2012. This move has provoked widespread protest from functional community radio stations, advocacy bodies like Community Radio Forum, and even the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has gone on record to say that his Ministry’s views were not sought before the dicision was taken. He also expressed concern that many organizations would find it impossible to pay the increased spectrum royalty charges. The Community Radio Forum, registered as a society and trust on 26th of February,’08, has already boycotted one policy consultation held by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, on 9 th and 10 May. Several community radio stations also observed a “Day of Silence” on 9th of may, where the spectrum fee hike was announced, a protest song played, community views were invited, and subsequestly transmission was switched off for the rest of the day.
      It seems that Government doesn’t want to give priviledge of Supreme Court nod to common people, according to which Apex court ruled in its judgement of February, 1995 that “airways are public property”. Its well understood that rampant imbalance in economic figure of India after following open market economy affect the fundament right of common people as well or else “Nai Dunia” would not have been purchased by “Jagran Publication”. Globalisation has poured money in Urban areas in the cost of common public interest in rural and real India. Private players have uncountable powers and public sector is helpless and depressed due to lack of government support. Even fundamental questions are overlooked! The economy of community radio is itself says the brutal story. For example, 5 minutes of advertisement per hours is allowed on community radio as per government guidelines and even sponsored programs are not allowed, except when the program is sponsored by the government at the local and state level. Its clear that a common player can’t fulfil his aim at interest in community, by using community radio.
       In fact, India is a country of diversity. The number of languages spoken in India, as per The Economist are 438 except local language, which is uncountable, so for a better communication sphare Indian need different kind of mechanism, indeed and community radio is one of them. Community radio is defined as “Of the community, for the community and by the community”. Needless to say that they broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local, specific audience but is often overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters. Community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve. They are generally nonprofit and provide a mechanism for enabling individuals, group, and communities to tell their own stories, to share experiences and, in a media-rich world, to become creators and contributors of media. Right now, “Gurgaon Ki Awaj”, “Sarang”, “Banasthali”, “Teri” etc are playing excellent job for building a democratic socity and awaring people, but after hiking price without any strong logic compel us to think that Government of India has perhaps decided to commorcialised “Community Radio” as other part of Media and replacing social motive with Profit making industry! Its really a wake up call for victims of globalization in India, as far as fundamental rights are concern!

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