Inclusion of all sections of the society and diversity of listeners characterize the Community Radio (CR) as a sector, given that it is based on the principles of access and ability to represent one’s voice. Engaging the attention of media practitioners on this aspect of CR, a working paper titled “Inclusivity, Equity and Diversity” was presented at the National Consultation on ‘National Consultation on Strengthening Community Radio in India’ in New Delhi on April 11.

The working paper was presented by Pinky Chandran of Radio Active and was put together by Ashish Sen, Pinky Chandran, Kanchan K. Malik, Arti Jaiman and Radha Shukla. The paper attempts to identify the challenges of inclusion vis-à-vis the marginalized population and diversity in the ownership pattern of CRs and also in their daily programming. Assessing the community radio policy guidelines of 2006, which emphasize that at least 50% of the content production and programming be carried out with participation of community members, the paper tries to come up with ideas to improve the ownership of the marginalized sections in the operations of the CRs.

The paper affirms that community radio is not just for those having no voice, but also for those with alternative viewpoints. Expounding participation as a layered concept, the paper states a need to identify, acknowledge and air the unheard voices ranging from sex workers and, rag pickers, tribals to people with disability and other minority communities. This is essential for their enhanced representation and inclusion in the CR sector. The paper points out that societal segment like LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual) or Dalits are often represented unilaterally by the main-stream media and there is negligence of diverse standpoints that these communities hold. Hence, CR must act as a platform for such alternative voices to share their side of story, views and culture. The paper also mentions that various self-evaluation tools namely the Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit (CR-CIT) and the Community Radio Self-Assessment Guide have been great mechanisms to assess the levels of inclusiveness within CRs and these also help in setting standards for participation.

However, the necessity to promote inclusion must also be understood by the policy makers to come up with guidelines that facilitate participation of the marginalized. The paper emphasized on the need for CRS to assimilate the changing dynamics of cultural diversity in terms of lifestyle, social equation with peers, and establish new networks and connections which are favorable to these revisions. Identifying the need to promote awareness on gender equity and inclusion, the paper advocates of incorporating AMARC gender guidelines in the capacity building efforts aimed at volunteers and managerial staff at CRS. The policy makers can try to emulate the Community Radio legislation in countries such as Australia, Canada and South Africa which accentuate on the inclusion and significant participation opportunities for the marginalized.

Read the entire working paper on Inclusivity, Equity and Diversity.


Highlights of panel discussion on ‘Inclusivity, Equity and Diversity’:

Ashish Sen (AMARC Asia-Pacific Regional Board) led the session on ‘Inclusivity, Equity and Diversity’ based on the working paper presented by Pinky Chandran (Radio Active). The panelists Arti Jaiman (Gurgaon ki Awaaz), Aarti Bisht (Henvalvani) and Pooja Murada (Alfaaz-e-Mewat), discussed ways in which their stations could evaluate inclusion, especially of voices from marginalized communities like the Dalits, minorities and people of alternative sexualities.


For quotes from this panel discussion click on the Facebook icon in the post below:



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