The South Asia Network for Community Media (SANCOM) was formally launched on February 13, 2015 at the World Radio Day event in New Delhi, India, organized jointly by UNESCO and the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre in Asia (CEMCA).
Launching the virtual network of SANCOM, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, the Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, expressed his happiness about the formation of the regional network and emphasized the importance of such groupings to promote media pluralism and diversity in South Asia.
Prof. Vinod Pavarala, UNESCO Chair on Community Media and Member-Convener of SANCOM, explained the broad objectives of the network, at the launch. He explained that SANCOM is a forum that is concerned with advocating for a freer and open policy environment for community media to flourish in the region. SANCOM aims to promote and strengthen media development and create networks where members can easily share their knowledge and resources across international boundaries as alliances are built and peer learning and self- evaluation are encouraged.
The foundation for SANCOM was created on July 12, 2014 at a roundtable on ‘Towards a South Asia Network for Community Media’ at the University of Hyderabad, India. The 25 participants, representing different countries in the region, discussed the need for such a network, and also its objectives, functioning and member eligibility. The roundtable culminated in the formation of a steering committee, comprising sixteen individuals who were responsible to take the initiative forward.
Currently, representatives from eight SAARC countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are involved with the SANCOM initiative.
SANCOM Website: http://www.sancomonline.net