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Experts in Nepal stress on radio's role in awareness
Publication Date : 14-02-2013
Given Nepal’s difficult topography, poor access to electricity and the lack of education among the majority of the country’s population, radio broadcasting has played an important role in disseminating information, creating awareness and educating people across the country, according to experts.
Despite the significant role in providing diverse, inclusive diversified content, particularly to the rural population, emerging challenges like power crises, poor investment and unfriendly government programmes have affected the overall development of the radio sector in the country.
Speaking on the occasion of World Radio Day on Wednesday, Min Bahadur Shahi, chairperson of the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB), said that as radio broadcasting is reaching wider audiences, existing policies and programmes, including the National Broadcasting Act, need proper reforms. World Radio Day, established by UNESCO in 2011, marks the day when United Nations Radio was created in 1946. “There is a need for an independent semi-autonomous body to look after the radio broadcasting sector, carry out monitoring and create a favourable investment environment,” said Shahi. “In the meantime, there is also a need to ensure a secure working and living environment for journalists working in radio.”
Since the establishment of the country’s first radio station, the government-owned Radio Nepal, in 1951, over 360 radio stations, including 240 community radio broadcasts, are currently active, covering 74 of the country’s 75 districts at present. Sagarmatha Radio, established in 1997, was the first independent community radio in the entire South Asian region.
“Nepal has a very vibrant radio landscape and radio remains the medium that reaches the widest audience. Radio helps people engage in discussions on topics that affect them. It can save lives during both natural and human-made disasters; and it provides journalists with a platform to report facts and tell their stories,” said Axel Plathe, UNESCO representative to Nepal. In its statement, UNESCO stated that community radios are highly efficient as they provide a space to all parts of society, especially vulnerable groups, to voice their concerns.