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In December 2002, the government of India released a policy that allowed well established educational institutions to set up community radios. In order promote development and social change, the government of India 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.
Disaster management in itself is a continuous and on-going process. It happens all year round and not only when disasters strike. Community radio is an all year round, everyday medium, making it one of the perfect tools for community engagement and participation based disaster management. Where community truly represents the many isolated communities which do not have reach to modern day media.
Community radio specializes in providing local information for the local people. In situations of Natural Calamities, often radio networks are the only surviving means of connection. Community Radio is a tool which is location specific and often in the local language / dialect making it the ideal tool for communication is such a situation. There are some instances in Japan and abroad in which community radio became the prime vehicle for information sharing for communities during disaster emergency relief as well as post disaster recovery. Community radio also plays an important role in disaster risk reduction, especially in pre-disaster preparedness and mitigation through awareness raising that targets different community groups. However, in order for community radio to take its effective role, participation, involvement and ownership of the local community is extremely important.
The role of community radio is tremendous in the natural calamities. A public radio station with a reach of 15-20 km becomes highly powerful with the integration of mobile telephony in real time. During the Uttrakhand flash flood disaster, 2013 the three community radio viz; Kumaon Vani(Mukteshwar), Henvalvani(Chamba Vally) and Mandakini ki Awaz (Rudraprayag) have been broadcasting live programme that inform and sensitize communities and tried to reach all flood affected families.
Thus, based on above issues and challenges being faced by communities during disasters and how community radio could be an effective tool of mitigating the impacts of disasters at local level. Zone4solutions proposes to organize discussion amongst representatives from varied sectors like media and Disaster Management. Objectives of the programme: