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Plan to start community radio in Assam

Guwahati, Nov. 11: The Assam government today signed an MoU with Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University (KKHSOU) to set up community radio stations throughout the state.

The department of information and public relations will be the funding agency for the project while the open university will be the implementing agency.

The university launched its own community radio in 2011 followed by Gauhati University the same year.

Community radio stations are a third model of radio broadcasting beyond commercial and public broadcasting. They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local or specific audience that may often be overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters.

They are operated, owned, and driven by the communities they serve.

Community radios are not-for profit and instead they provide mechanism for facilitating individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and in a media-rich world to become active creators and contributors of media.

Speaking at the MoU-signing ceremony, the minister of state (independent charge) for information and public relations, Basanta Das, said the community radio stations would go a long way in addressing the issues faced by the various communities.

He said the programmes broadcast by the community radios would be based on issues concerning different communities in the state.

“We will also focus on educational and training programmes for the unemployed youth in different localities. We will also promote the folk culture of local communities,” Das said.

The director of information and public relations, Ranjit Gogoi, while speaking on the occasion, said the proposal for the project was reflected in the budget speech of chief minister Tarun Gogoi for the year 2011-2012.

“The state government has approved the proposal for implementing the community radio stations in a phased manner. Five districts will be covered in the first phase, in which Lakhimpur and Tezpur will be covered in the current financial year. We have received Rs 50 lakh so far for setting up these two community radio stations,” Gogoi said.

The community radio stations will be set up in Dhubri, Darrang, Jorhat, Bongaigaon and Karimganj district in the next financial year.

KKHSOU vice-chancellor Srinath Baruah said the project was an important endeavour taken up by the government to address community-specific problems.

“We are going to implement this project with the motto ‘Voice for the Voiceless’, Baruah said.