A team of scholars associated with the UNESCO Chair on Community Media at University of Hyderabad, led by Prof. Vinod Pavarala, participated in the just concluded three-day conference on community radio in South Asia, “Enhancing the Role of Community Radio and Promoting Positive Social Change” in Kathmandu, Nepal, organized jointly by the SAARC Information Centre and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) Asia-Pacific from September 6-8, 2013.
The conference was a follow-up to the South Asia consultation on community radio in January this year in New Delhi organized by the UNESCO Chair (UoH) and AMARC. Prof. Pavarala chaired a session that took stock of community radio policies in the SAARC countries and was a member of the drafting group that formulated the conference resolutions; Mr. Vasuki Belavadi, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Faculty Fellow, UNESCO Chair made a presentation on the Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit (CRCIT) developed recently by the Chair team; and, Dr. Kanchan K. Malik, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Faculty Fellow, UNESCO Chair made a presentation on issues related to content regulations and self-censorship in community radio in India. Preeti Raghunath, doctoral student and research assistant at the Chair, attended the conference and will be spending a further two weeks doing her field work in Nepal for her thesis on comparative community radio policies in South Asia.
Among other things, the conference called upon SAARC member countries to recognize community broadcasting as a distinct entity in the media spectrum and facilitate their growth through progressive legislation and provision of public funding.