(GIST OF YOJANA) Role of Community
Radio in Disaster Management and Climate-change
Role of Community Radio in Disaster
Management and Climate-change Communication
- Community Radio in India Community Radio provides an opportunity to the
community to speak about issues concerning their lives.
- In December 2002, the Government released a policy that allowed well
established educational institutions to set up Community Radio Stations. In
order to promote development and social change, the Government in November
2006 implemented new Community Radio Guidelines permitting non-profit
organizations to own and operate community radio stations. With the new
policy in place, it opened doors for community radio as a platform for
development, social change, and voice of the community in concern.
- At present, 276 functional Community Radio Stations are operating in
India. Out of these 276 stations, 129 are run by educational institutions,
132 by community-based organisations, and 15 by Krishi Vigyan Kendra/State
- At present there are 78 coastal districts in the country. However, all
coastal districts do not have operational community radio stations. There
are 51 operational community radio stations in 26 districts. Community
radios are also prominently being used in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Philippines
for rural development. They are equally popular in Canada, America,
Australia, and South Africa.
Community Radio is useful in:
- Speaking to communities in local languages using terms and phrases that
are easily and locally understood;
- Providing two-way interactive social learning through listening clubs,
call-in shows, and other forms of exchange;
- Communicating local knowledge, needs, and demands beyond the community
to inform policy, research, and other communities;
- Providing the only media available to communities that have little or no
access to other methods of conveying information and knowledge;
- Bringing together people from frequently disconnected stakeholder groups
such as livelihoods, community leaders, organisations and governance.
Community Radio and Disaster Management:
- The presence of community radio in every phase of a disaster- disaster
mitigation, preparation, early warning, response, recovery and
revitalisation, is essential for the exchange and sharing of information and
dialogue among residents as well as the enhancement of the community's
capability and of self-governance ability.
- Stories about climate and environmental change appear in the form of
documentaries, interactive talk shows, drama and music, etc. helping
communities to learn more about these impacts and share their experiences of
responding to them.
- Most initiatives linking community radio and climate change are
currently focusing on delivering information and messages to listeners about
short- and medium term forecasts for farmers, alerts for extreme weather
events, and messaging to discourage practices which degrades environmental
- While these remain important messages for communicating local climate
change adaptation, community radio has the potential to do much more by
strengthening community voices and providing an accessible space for
knowledge sharing between communities. Thus, the sense of empowerment that
people and communities can feel by engaging in this way can help to build
local, institutional, and organizational capacity.
- Community radio can play a crucial role in disaster management via
assisting the community in three stages:
- In the pre-disaster stage, community radio stations can provide guidance
regarding its preparedness. Information regarding gathering locations and
safety shelters can be disseminated.
- Programmes regarding sanitation measures and first aid practices can be
broadcast. Also, safety drills can be organised, educating people about
emergency plans and responses. Another important task is broadcasting
warning signals in case there is a calamity foreseen or likely to occur.
- Community radio holds such potential since it can reach areas and people
that cannot be reached by other forms of communication. It breaks the
barriers of literacy and economic status in bringing people together in
times of disaster.
- While television networks break down almost instantly in face of natural
disasters, radio carries with it the potential for continued functioning in
such times. It can foster community's awareness on the current situation in
other places hit by disaster; announce forecasts, and warnings issued by the
meteorological department and provide updates on the status of relief and
- At the time of a disaster, most forms of communication are disrupted
barring radio signals. Community radio can help the community link with the
relief agencies and Government control room. Two prime advantages of
community radio are that they focus on the affected communities and the
content is delivered in the local language. This can help in disseminating
rescue operation information by location-specific stations. Also, since the
information is in the local language/dialect it helps avoid any
- Information and announcements regarding vulnerable areas which require
immediate evacuation can be broadcasted and the community members can be
guided to safety shelters where they can access aid and rescue facilities.
Locals can call in and provide first hand information regarding the on
goings in the affected areas.
- This is a very crucial phase as during rehabilitation the community
requires maximum support. Having a medium of communication in their own
language or dialect can help in strengthening the morale of the community.
Post-trauma counseling and updates on relief and aid can be a part of the
content being broadcasted.
- Guidelines regarding disposal of wastage, restoration of safe water
supply and basic sanitation can be provided. Community radio provides an
indigenous solution to a problem that is being faced at a large scale in the
country these days. It can be an important component of rescue, relief, and
- The need is to build the capacity of operating personnel of community
radio and equip them to handle and disseminate disaster-related information
in an optimal manner. In this manner, the local community itself can be
enabled through infrastructure and training to make use of community radio
Training Community Radio Staff in Disaster Management:
- For effective utilisation of community radio in disaster management, it
is essential that the staff members should be trained in a specific and
well-defined manner on disaster prevention, mitigation, and management
- Several Government departments/Ministries at central and state level
working on climate change and disaster management can join hands together to
use this platform.
- Rural areas are constantly faced with natural calamities given the
environmental change. During forest fires in summer, landslides in monsoon,
etc. these communities constantly struggle and their isolated situation
doesn't help the cause.
- Community radio has the power to organise and provide information and
connect these communities to the much needed aid and relief. Also since the
content is in the local dialect It can help curb miscommunication and
misinformation in times of panic. Several initiatives and innovations are
happening in the community radio front but they can serve their purpose best
if integrated together.