Community Radio Project
Information is power and conversely lack of information is often lack of power. Whether it is information regarding the various schemes/programmes that are available for their benefit or about their land records or about the special legal provisions for their protection, there is a whole range of issues where information denied translates into denial of rights and entitlements. Given this context a Community Radio Station holds great promise in working towards creating a level playing field for indigenous communities to participate in and determine the course of development in the NBR. There are a large number of successful CRS functioning in the country including Radio Bundelkhand, Kalanjiam Radio, Sangham Radio etc.
The goal of the proposed project is to empower the people, particularly the tribal communities, in the NBR with a platform to voice their views and to improve the social, environmental and economic status of the indigenous communities of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve by enabling them to find their own voice via the medium of Community Radio.
The outputs of the project are envisaged to be,
- · A well functioning Community Radio Station that is managed by members of the indigenous communities
- · A set of trained indigenous people (barefoot journalists) who will play a key/central role in the success of the CRS.
- · Two to three case studies of successful impact of the CRS in the lives of the communities
- · A rich collection of audio and video programmes, photo and written documentation on various aspects that forms the basis of programmes for the
Running a Community Radio Station (CRS) based in Kotagiri that would be fully managed by indigenous people at all levels from content creation to production to broadcasting to day to day running of the CRS. Keystone Foundation has already applied for a CRS license late last year and is likely to get the Letter of Intent soon. Keystone is also in touch with BECIL, Bangalore for technical support in initiating the CRS. There are already a set of tribal youth who are barefoot journalists for the Seemai Sudhi newspaper. Their capacity would be built so that they can produce content for the community radio, produce video clips, disseminate information from the hubs, collect data for updating the databases at the hubs and center, access online sources of information themselves. In short, they would be examples within their communities. The content that would be aired would be focused on filling up information gaps in key areas to address the issues facing the communities. Thus it would directly contribute to improving the capacity of the communities to address the issues themselves. The radio programmes would attempt to utilise resources from within the community (such as village elders, organic farmers, healers etc.) so that the relevance to and acceptance by the people is maximum. Youth would be a special group who would be involved in the production of programmes. This would help them mobilise around issues of common concern and improve their connections to their community.
The CRS has a limited range (15 km maximum) around Kotagiri. Therefore to reach out to communities that are outside this range, narrowcasting of the CRS programmes is needed. In areas out of reach of the CRS, the programmes would be narrowcasted through a volunteer network that would locally play the programmes in their neightbourhood.
The listeners would be provided relevant and up to date information on various aspects of day-to-day need such as government forms, schemes/projects information, names and contact numbers of key government officials and other important institutions, basic legal support, link to e-services of the government etc. This would involve an exercise of collecting secondary information from various sources and translating them into the local language where necessary.