Recognising the growing impact of the Community Radio phenomenon as a powerful medium of community engagement and empowerment, UNESCO has set up the first ever Chair on Community Media at theDepartment of Communication, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad, India. Established for an initial period of four years in 2011, the Chair will serve as a knowledge and resource centre delving into the various facets of Community Media.
The specific aims and objectives of the UNESCO Chair on Community Media are to:
- Research and document good community media practices in the country, and provide inputs based on research feedback to stakeholders on issues such as community participation, community mobilization practices, financial and social sustainability, appropriate content, participatory monitoring and evaluation;
- Establish an open access repository of media content online, which would provide key information related to licensing, policy, production of content and technology options to community-based organizations around the country;
- Build capacities of community members to operate media;
- provide ongoing training on community mobilization, content development, programming, and management of community media outlets in India; and,
- Engage with policy-makers and practitioners to sustain a democratic and citizen-friendly community media landscape in India
The prestigious Chair comes in recognition of the extensive work carried out by a team led by Prof Vinod Pavarala, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication on Community Radio over the last decade. He serves as the first chairholder.
The UNESCO Chair on Community Media will serve as a knowledge and resource centre on everything related to Community Media. The Chair seeks to further the teaching of Community Media across a cross-section of perspectives and themes, ranging from communication for social change, for community building, empowering women and the marginalised, study of policy-making in different parts of the world, using community media in conflict and post-conflict zones for rehabilitation and peace-building.
The Chair seeks to actively conduct cutting-edge, collaborative research in partnership with leading national and international bodies on various aspects of Community Media. The activities of the Chair will revolve around taking forward this research to take up advocacy and make sound policy recommendations, to facilitate and strengthen the phenomenon of Community Radio.
The Chair also seeks to leverage the facilities, infrastructure, and human resources available at the Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad, including its campus community radio station, Bol Hyderabad to offer its services for capacity-sharing in areas such as radio production and management and participatory video.
Although established recently, the Chair has been garnering lot of interest among scholars, academics, community groups and policy-makers who have been visiting and sharing their work with faculty and students.
Prof. Vinod Pavarala
University of Hyderabad