(GIST OF YOJANA) Role of Community Radio in Disaster Management and Climate-change Communication [JANUARY-2020]

(GIST OF YOJANA) Role of Community Radio in Disaster Management and Climate-change

Communication [JANUARY-2020]

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 Agriculture Institutions.
  • 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 assets.
  • 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 rehabilitation operations.

During Disaster:

  • 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 miscommunication.
  • 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.

Post Disaster:

  • 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 rehabilitation efforts.
  • 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 approach.

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 communication.
  • 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.

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