In Bangladesh 19 community radios have been broadcasting since 2012 in different hard-to-reach and coastal zone in different parts of the country for creating mass awareness on emergency lifesaving issues, access to information and raising the rural people’s unheard voice. The 19 Community Radio covers about 8 Million people of 28 districts, 125 Upazillas and 732 Unions. Community radios are being operated by the community with the engagement of youth, women, adolescent, person with disability, indigenous people, Dalit, vulnerable and marginalized community people, local government & administration, journalist, activists, community leader, religious leaders to reflect the local culture, language, history, heritage, diversity, strength of the community, explore possibilities, challenges and way forward to achieve SDGs and 8th 5-year plan of the govt. of Bangladesh.
BCRA is a coordinating platform of Community Radios’ initiators’ in Bangladesh. BCRA is working to bring all community Radios together to strengthen the community radio sector through lobbying, policy advocacy, resource mobilization, capacity building, coordination, networking, and technical support. Sharing and partnership with government, donor, expert groups, and community radio initiators. The CRs average airing time is a total 209 hours; about 1200 staff, volunteers, and community journalist are working with community radio. Out of 1200, 60% are women.
Role of Community Radios in Disaster and climate change management: Community Radios became the prime vehicle for information sharing for communities during disaster emergency response. Community radio also plays an important role in disaster risk reduction, especially in pre- during and post disaster preparedness and mitigation. Covid-19 responses: Community Radios in Bangladesh played an important role during the Covid-19 pandemic. CRs developed and broadcasted the Covid-19 prevention measures and vaccination promotion to prevent spreading the Covid-19 in hard to reach areas. Role of Community Radios in other emergency social issues: Community Radios are the voice and mirror of community where the emergency social issues like early marriage, GBV, Drug addiction, human trafficking, fake news, human rights, Traditional and indigenous perspectives, strength and possibility are being aired to mitigate the social issues and create social harmony and peace with the engagement of respected communities. Role of Community Radios in local economic and social development: Community Radios in Bangladesh is the voice of the community which reflects the unheard voice of the marginalized and left behind community. It creates employment opportunities which contributes in social economy & development and also empowering women, youth, men, adolescents and differently abled people. Community Radios in Bangladesh promotes local resources, tourism, agriculture, fisheries, and creates opportunities of entrepreneurship and local business development and ensures local govt. accountability & community opinion. Empowering Indigenous people through Community Radio: Indigenous people are the integral part of the community radio in Bangladesh. Community radios promote the diversity, culture, heritage, language and history with the engagement of Indigenous community. It also promotes the rights of the Indigenous people.
Challenges: In Bangladesh, Community Radios are still facing different challenges like long term sustainable fund crisis, technical and equip mental support etc.