Baseline Survey on Community Radio in Bangladesh

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) is advocating promotion of community radio with the government in relations with other organizations since its inception. The objective of BNNRC’s Community Radio intervention is to address critical social issues at community level, such as poverty and social exclusion, empowerment of marginalized rural groups and catalyze democratic process in decision making and ongoing development efforts.

Community Radio is going to play a pivotal role in decision making at both local and national level in the development process of Bangladesh. Ministry of Information has adopted Community Radio Installation, Broadcasting and Operation Policy in 2008. Having this unique pro-people policy first time in Bangladesh and 2nd of its kind in South Asia, Bangladesh has already been widely appreciated by local, national and international bodies fighting for right to information of the common masses. .

It is worthy to mention here that opening the arena of right to information for the rural people of Bangladesh through establishing community radio stations under a progressive broadcasting policy, was declared in the Bangladesh Awami League election manifesto 2008 (Article No.19.1 of the Charter for Change).

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) is going to conduct a national baseline survey on Community Radio in the country. This survey is implementing by renound research farm of the country, Bangladesh Institute of Social Research(BISR).

180 applications had been submitted from different organizations for the permission of establishing community radio stations in their respective areas. Out of these,116 organizations have been identified for 2nd stage scrutiny i. e. police verification. The process of police verification is going on.

But, no survey or study was conducted in Bangladesh to identify the community choice, needs and demands about the language, contents, broadcasting hour or types of programs to be broadcasted by the communiti radio stations. In this situation, the aspirants and initiators of the community radio stations are remain in dark about these most important issues directly related to community radio operation.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) is conducting this survey of the community information needs, preparedness, acceptance and community choice through representational response, questionnaire, focus group discussion and interview in ten strategicaly important areas. All six administrative divisions are included for this survey.

The draft survey report will be published and disseminated among the key stakeholders of community radio as well as print and electronic media through a national seminar in Dhaka by June 2009. The findings of survey and suggestions adopted on them in the seminar will also be presented in the international conference of AMARC-Asia Pacific scheduled to be held in Bangalore, India in October 2009.

This national baseline survey process has approved by NGO Ahffairs Bureau consultation with Ministry of Information and congenial support from Free Voice.