National Leadership and Capacity Building Program for Community Radio Practitioners – TARANG

Drishti announces the 2nd round of the national level leadership and capacity building program for Community Radio Practitioners – TARANG.

The program aims to build leadership skills amongst Community Radio practitioners from CRSes who are yet to be operational. The program with training, internship and handholding inputs aims to build competency of upcoming radio stations in designing programs, managing HR and planning for financial sustainability.

The course spreads out over nine months, also offers a much needed fellowship amount apart from covering training and internship costs, so that it encourages upcoming stations in their CR initiative.

However, there is a limited number of seats (only 5) and would be selected on the basis of a set of criteria. For details about the application process refer to the brochure by clicking here.

Hurry! Last date for submitting applications: 10th of June, 2016!

Community Radio Stations in Coastal Bangladesh in addressing Cyclone ROANU in Disaster Risk Reduction


Eight community radio (CR) stations in the coastal region of Bangladesh broadcast a combined total of 348 hours of programs for 3 continuous days from May 19 to May 21, 2016 as they addressed Cyclone Roanu in the region.

The community radio stations broadcast on a 24-hours basis in order to keep communities alert during and after Cyclone Ronau hit the coastal belt of the country. In order to broadcast around the clock, their previous air-time was increased in line with the “Standing Orders on Disaster (SOD) of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.” These eight community radio stations, all of which are situated in the coastal region, played a big role in saving people’s lives and assets.

Following the cyclone warning signals the stations started broadcasting from 19 May afternoon and continued non-stop till midnight of 21 May. Out of the total 348 hours, 187 hours were information specific to the cyclone itself, the disaster unfolding, the after-effects of the cyclone and what should be done for the community.

The stations collected updated information from the Meteorological Department, the disaster cells and local control room set up by the District and Upazila administrative authority and maintaining full-time liaison with theses groups. As there was no electricity in the area, due to power failure/load shedding, the stations, which were the only source of information, depended fully on the generators and kept the broadcasting services uninterrupted. In addition, the community radio stations also kept contact and collected updated information from the Red Cresent volunteers and the scouts who were working hard with the disaster-prone communities.

Along with broadcasting messages and PSAs received from the local government authority, they also broadcast their own programs which they have learned and produced through training and their experiences from previous disasters. With broadcasting of weather news bulletin after every 10-15 minutes, they also broadcast magazine programs, dramas, features, interviews and talk shows of the responsible persons involved in disaster management in the area. As an offline support group, the members of the radio listeners clubs also took part in the process of fulfilling the objective of the station. They conducted house-to-house visits of the listeners and disseminated information about the latest situation of the cyclone, their contact points during an emergency and what types of services were available for them during rescue or rehabilitation of the communities. At the same time, they also supplied information to the radio stations and kept them updated about the community situation.

The eight radio stations are Community Radio Nalta 99.2 ( Kaligonj, Satkhira), Community Radio Sundarban 98.8 ((Koyra, Khulna), Community Lokobetar 99.2  (Barguna Sadar), Community Rural Radio Krishi Radio 98.8 (Amtoli, Barguna), Community Radio Naf 99.2 (Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar), Community Radio Sagargiri 99.2 (Sitakunda, Chittagong), Community Radio Meghna 99.00  (Charfasion, Bhola) and Community  Radio Sagardwip 99.2 (Hatiya, Noakhali).

A total of 116 community broadcasters (37 females and 79 males), volunteers and members from 175 listeners clubs worked throughout the whole period by operating on a shifting basis in order to continue broadcaasting.

It can be mentioned that Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC), with support from Free Press Unlimited, supported the radio stations during the times of Cyclones Mahasen and Komen and, thus, also kept constant contact and assisted in coordination with these stations and provided information and guidance throughout the entire process in relation to  Cyclone Roanu.

Source: BNNRC

First National Community Video Summit held in Sri Lanka


“We need a media for excluded, unheard and under-represented,” Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilake at First National Community Video Summit 2016

Press Release, 25 April, 2016

Colombo: Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum

Within the globalized context, mainstream media has its own struggle and difficulties in catering all the segments in a country. As a result of this global reality, we have excluded communities, voiceless, unheard and underrepresented in Sri Lanka as well. Therefore, Sri Lanka needs a strong community video journalism as an alternative form of media to cater those excluded segments –  said Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka.

He noted the above, delivering a speech at the first National Community Video Summit, held on 24th of April at Sri Lanka Foundation, under the theme ‘Capturing Local Voices and Strengthening Democracy for Development’.

The summit was organized by Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF) in conclusion of its three successful community video training programs implemented in partnership with Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA), Prathiba Media Network-Matara, and American Cultural Corner – Kandy.

The summit brought together more than 200 independent video journalists including experts from mainstream media, development agencies, civil society organizations and academia to discuss the potentiality of Community Video as an alternative media to keep citizens informed, shape their perspectives, facilitate people participation in democratization, and help the citizens to play an active role in fostering wider justice and accountability.

The summit explored the fact that the independent video journalism has enormous potential, in the current socio, economical and political environment for the excluded segments to have a voice on issues affecting their societies.

Nicole A. Chulick, Counselor, Press, Cultural and Educational Affairs, Embassy of United States for Sri Lanka and Maldives and H.E.Shelly Whiting, High Commissioner of Canada in Sri Lanka also took part in the event.

Speaking further Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilake noted that Community video journalism as a substitute form of people’s media is produced by the community and for the community. It is used globally to promote conflict resolution, free expression, social and behavioral change, local knowledge, critical thinking, democratization and rural development.

He also noted that community video has the potential in bringing local stories on right-based concerns such as rights of women, children and migrants. It also helps the community members to reach out to policy makers.

It allows people to participate in media production. In community video journalism, people are the writers, editors, and producers. In a traditional media context, the audience is treated as customers, and consumers. But within community video journalism the audience is treated as stakeholders and active contributors. This kind of journalism increases the media literacy of the civil society as well – he added.

 Nicole A. Chulick, Counselor, Press, Cultural and Educational Affairs for Sri Lanka and Maldives indicated that summit sounds a milestone in the field of video journalism promoting people voice in Sri Lanka. Community video journalism has enormous potential to strengthen the democratic institution in Sri Lanka.

The inaugural session was held under the theme ‘Voicing for the Unheard and Under-represented – Positioning Community Video’.  This was chaired by Minelle Fernandez, Reporter, Al Jezeera. Jayantha Karunarathne, Head of Camera, Recoding and Lighting Division, ITN, Udaya Shan Idamegedera, News Manager, Siyatha FM & TV, T.M.G. Chandrasekara, Director – Research and Training, SLRC,  Chaminda Karunarathne, Head of News, Swarnavahini, Sandaruwan Thilakarathne, Producer & Script Writer, Hiru TV and Shehan Baranage, Director – News and Current Affairs, TV Derana were the speakers of this session.

Necessity of independent video journalists being trained, need for community engagement in making media for the community, media ethics in community video journalism, capturing and disseminating right-based concerns through Community Video journalism, potential of community video in encouraging public participation, accountability and governance, and promoting political participation of people through community video were different topics discussed in the session.

The panelist expressed the need of community video journalism to have recognized by the government through policy. In chairing a session on Community Video – Making it a Media for People, Dr. Paradeep Weerasinghe noted ‘Community Media, particularly Community Video journalism needs a welcoming environment in Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lankan government is committed to create such an environment. Speaking further he added that mainstream media must not be seen as the only avenue to disseminate the video’s produced by community video journalists. However, it is important for the mainstream media to have a lot allocated for community voices.

Chaminda Karunarathne, Director News, Swarnavahini noted that Community Video journalists should be informed of understanding the role of a journalist in a context where the community he or she lives in crisis. He also emphasized issues around women, youth, children, and migrants can also be addressed using community video.

Dr. Raguram from the University of Jaffna raised a perspective that giving or taking employment opportunities should not be taken as a final destination of community video journalism. Community video journalism is something that should survive in the community as an integral part of it. It should come up in a time of need.

Speaking of this summit Prof. W. A. D. P. Wanigasundera, Chairperson of SDJF noted that the commercialization, globalization and politicization are threats for many mainstream media. And this is a global reality and not an issue specific to Sri Lanka alone. Within such a context we also need a media that could represent all segments of the community regardless of their diversity, and not treat people as just recipients, particularly women and children as not just victims.

Such a media should also be able to vividly capture the positives of the community and culture, build a united identity respecting diversity, and make people’s voice louder.

As a part of the summit Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum launched Sri Lanka’s first community video news website

During the post lunch session, SDJF announced the National Community Video Award winners.  10 National Community Video Awards were presented for those independent Video Journalists who took part in the National competition concluded last month.

Source: SDJF