The UNESCO Chair on Community Media at the University of Hyderabad has been renewed for a further four-year term by UNESCO Paris. Informing the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile of the decision, the Higher Education Division and the Section on Media Development of UNESCO conveyed its positive evaluation and appreciation of the Chair’s work in producing relevant knowledge in the field and helping build capacities of communities.

Set up in 2011, the UNESCO Chair on Community Media, led by the senior communication professor at the University, Vinod Pavarala, is the only one of its kind dedicated to furthering the cause of community-led-and managed media through research, policy advocacy, capacity building, and knowledge dissemination. The Chair has contributed to community media development not only in the South Asian region, but also in East and West Africa as well as in parts of Europe. Supported by three other faculty fellows, Kanchan K. Malik, Vasuki Belavadi, and Janardhan Rao Cheeli, and by a number of doctoral students, the Chair is recognized globally as a significant centre of research and training in community media.

Reacting to the news of the renewal, Prof. Pavarala revealed that the Chair has its work cut out for the new term, with plans for setting up an online community media archive, a comprehensive directory of community media in South Asia, and a training programme for University teachers nationally on teaching and researching community media. The research visibility of the Chair will be further enhanced, he said, by the publication this year by a reputable publisher of a comprehensive volume on community radio in South Asia edited by Prof. Kanchan K. Malik and himself.

Congratulating the team, the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile said that the work of the Chair is an example of the University’s resolve to combine socially relevant research with building the capacities of grassroots communities. “The UNESCO Chair has enhanced our international visibility through a dedicated effort that consolidated the University’s position,” he added.