Imphal, 21st  September,2017 (DIPR): Just as the first community radio in Manipur (Diamond Radio:91.2 MHz) started operating from nearby Khongjom Police Station of Thoubal District from the 4th of this year, the first Community Radio Awareness Workshop was organised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India in collaboration with SMART(Steering Modern Applications For Real Transformation) at Classic Grande Hotel, Chingmeirong today. Diamond Radio was set up with the sole objective to serve the people as a change agent of the economic -cultural barriers within the community.

Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla and Shri P.D. Sharma, Deputy Director of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India graced the 3- day long workshop as distinguished Guests.

Appreciating the role played by SMART for the welfare of the country since its establishment in 1997 , the Governor said that community radio serves as powerful tool for community empowerment and social development , especially in regions that are hard to reach,have low levels of development and far low on all social parameters. “In such a scenario, it works as a low cost medium , employing a simple technology to provide a voice to the voiceless,” she also said.

She narrated that she was first familiarized with the concept of community radio in Australia and Canada which are huge land areas and where physical communication is a big problem. She assured the participants that she will write to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mrs. Smriti Irani to promote community radio in a big way in Manipur.

“Lets see if we can have a community radio at Raj Bhavan so that the public can share their grievances, happiness and experiences with me,” she further continued.

In her welcome address, Archana Kapoor, Founder, SMART said, “ The presence of Governor Dr. Heptulla is an endorsement of her commitment to empower marginalized and vulnerable women. This is the first Community Radio Awareness Workshop being organized in Manipur though the Government of India has held over 75 workshops across the country. The purpose of community radio is to provide access, control and ownership of a media platform that helps them to share, talk and discuss their issues of importance which are largely ignored by mainstream media.”

Paying much thrust on the role of community radio for community development & bonding, preservation of local culture, and local identity, she explained that the main idea behind the 3-day workshop is to sensitize the participants to the processes and potential of the community radio. It will also simplify the process of application and technology used, she said.

Concerning the North East Region, Shri P.D. Sharma said, the total Letter Of Intent(LOI) issued is 35, GOPA signed is 8, the total CR stations that became operational is 4 while new applications in process is 7.Stating that the Ministry has recently introduced grants for content creation by CRSs, he hoped that the participants of the workshop would apply for a CR license very soon.

Pinky Chandran of Radio Active-90.4 MHz , Bengaluru, said that community radio stations are increasingly becoming core linked civic institutions by reflecting and engaging with different communities. Stimulating cultural diversity and creating new relations. Community radio is a recognition of the diversity in our country and is a clear reflection of the heterogeneity of communities and the multiplicity of dialects.

Amit Dwivedi, Assistant Project Manager, PMU, GoI, Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Khuswinder Singh Bhatia, Manager, Broadcast Engineers Consultants India Ltd(BECIL) gave a detailed presentation on the key areas relating to CR Policy Guidelines, eligibility criteria and the elements of Demystifying the process-application, Lol, SACFA & GoPA as resource persons

Fifty participants from all the different districts of the State took part in the workshop. A pamphlet on Diamond Radio:91.2 MHz containing its mission, theme, CRMC members and innovations in format & a booklet containing the important aspects of setting up a CRS were distributed to each of the participants.

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