The influence is much. ICT has penetrated every aspect of human life. The South Asian concept of Community Radios (CR) dedicated for specific purposes are being one of the best examples of ICT4D to cover societal developments recently. Not just radio programs based on rural developments, agriculture issues or rural poverty but the whole means of mass communication – Radio dedicated to specific communities like for farmers (Agriculture), for educators and students. The lessons learnt from community radio of South Asia for the development of their reasons, and the sustainability of themselves has been effective so far.
Community radio (CR) is a participatory medium and a subset of radio broadcasting. It is an inexpensive and popular way for disseminating content (information, news, entertainment, etc.) CR is designed to increase availability of localized information, media access and empowerment, and even market based growth and societal resource distribution for the community. ~ Hussain, F.
Faheem Hussain and Rahul Tongia writes in a conference paper “Community Radio for Development in South Asia: A Sustainability Study” conclude that financial data modeling and sustainability analysis of their study strengthen the positions of CR as an effective applied tool for development activities in the South Asian region. The potential to share information and bring in sustainability is impressive.
That practices of CR are free from biasness and political reach, in most of the cases, while the information reach of the local community is of top tier priority of the radios. In most of the cases farmers working in fields get updated about the information they need in real time, similarly they can get all updated prices and can bargain for their margin. While students can learn directly from the radio programs which otherwise would not be easier to go to school walking hours across hills.
As of now, Community Radio broadcasting and its resource management has been practiced effectively in countries like Australia, East Timor, Nepal, China, Sri Lanka, India. Very interestingly, almost about 45% of the total CR workforce in Nepal (Krishi FM – agriculture oriented-community radio) is local volunteers, while the figures trend to 60% in Australian CRs. While different countries have their own regulations for Community Radios, the role of CR for the development of the society is what they intend and get success on.
If you are interested in reading works of Faheem Hussain and Rahul Tongia, visit this IEEE page. The graph of CapEx and OpEx for the community radios present in the article is taken from the same paper.
Picture courtesy, EkendraOnLine.com