With the new changes, apart from private organisations, educational institutions including universities, institutes of technology, management and residential schools, state agriculture universities, krishi vigyan kendras, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutions, and NGOs can set up community radio stations across the country.
The changes will be based on a study by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the internship, reach and effectiveness of community radio stations in the country that showed stations managed by NGOs had more engagement with the community in comparison to other CRS categories.
As per revision in the guidelines in 2018 on community radio stations, applications of private institutions or organisations should be accompanied with the recommendation of district administration. Setting up of such stations for private institutions in left-wing extremism areas were also supposed to obtain security clearance from local administration.
Soon, the I&B ministry shall hold a meeting with its stakeholders in order to discuss the tweaking of rules.
An official from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting commented: “The meeting will be held with other ministries, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, UNICEF, and federation of community radio stations, among other stakeholders. The letter is being sent out for the participation in the meeting in December where efforts will be made to make the process of registration less stringent for private organisations. Private organisations have appealed to the ministry regarding the process being less friendly for them.”
N Ramakrishnan, founder-director of the Ideosync Media Combine commented: “There seems to be very little interest in consulting the CR sector. Typically throughout the first decade of community radio in the country, especially when the guidelines were being formulated, there was a lot of engagement with activists and theoreticians working in the sector as well as those who were interested in setting up community radio stations. Currently, the engagement that has been happening is functional at best.”