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Rural Broadcasting and Good Governance Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by AHM Bazlur Rahman, Bangladesh Mar 8, 2004
Citizen Journalism   Opinions
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Rural Broadcasting and Good Governance Good Governance is the most conversant among the development issues that are being discussed in Bangladesh now. Not only the in government departments, but all the non-government lobbies are also preparing to face out the challenges of development in the 21st century. Broadcasting, free flowing and exchanging of information is very important in establishing Good Governance because in a closed and hidden environment no transparency, accountability and or participation is possible. Village Broadcasting can play a great role to ensure Good Governance.

Existing Broadcasting Systems and People in Rural Areas

In the existing broadcasting system there are some Government patronized institutions like Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Radio Bangladesh. On the other hand, Channel I, ATN Bangla, NTV Radio Metrowave, VOA and BBC FM that are run by non-government bodies. If we assess the broadcast programs we may realize how these programs satisfy the demands or desires of the rural people. The level of choice and the level of feedback are very important factor in relation to the access of rural people in information. Unfortunately the media monitoring system in our country is very poor. There is no statistical information about the participation of rural people in the media. The rural people are ultimately looked past by the sector of production, decision-making and planning level in the name of participation. It is to say that, a decentralized broadcasting management is necessary to ensure the participation of the entire rural population in the central broadcasting. Because so nearer to the rural people the broadcasting media would be established so much access and participation would be ensured. For an example, the Government of Sri Lanka has established successfully an entire rural participation and access in Kothmale and Mohavelly. People are making both programs and decisions in full-fledged there. The central broadcasting authority hardly interferes with them except only the central news broadcasting. The villagers are receiving necessary information about agricultural management, current technologies, insect control management in agriculture, and diseases and market prices through the radio.

Due to the Central Broadcasting System the content of the current programs do not satisfy the daily needs of the villagers in our country. We should adopt the Village Broadcasting System as soon as possible by assessing what impacts of the programs are there on the villagers for whom these are produced in the finance of World Bank, ABD of other else.

Now we may discuss on how Print Media influences the Village livelihood. The strength of the print media in our country is that they are now able to publish news in free and independent environment. But the weakness is that the literacy of the population is only 40.3% now, as a result the remaining 60 percent of the population are not able to participate in this form of media. As the result, it fails to make an appeal to the extensive illiterate people of villages. Also, the price for newspapers is increasing; therefore it is difficult for the villagers to buy it. Besides, while the owners of the newspapers are not in the same class and due to the economic interest they are not ready to fix the price within the effort of the rural population, though it is possible. What impact the central broadcasting system and the print media may have is a matter of research, but it is clear that these media outputs are not capable of playing an effective role.

Villagers can not read newspapers due to illiteracy and besides, literate villagers can not read newspapers due to the high price, therefore, village broadcasting especially Radio and TV can influence the illiterate people effectively. But due to the centralized broadcasting system people are deprived of that opportunity. Community Radio and or Television can strengthen village broadcasting and it indicates the open and free flowing of information in the free and independent society that is very important for establishing Good Governance. The Central Broadcasting System is Government or individual ownership centered and the impact and control of these deprives people especially the illiterates from the information about the ill deeds of the government and the national or international profit seekers.

Village Broadcasting is new in our country. Generally it runs with the people's interests in mind as it is run by people that come from various professions and classes. Here are some recommendations for the Village Broadcasting system:

1. To establish Broadcasting Centers at the rural level by the Government initiative. It would be Village Radio or Village Television so that people around 30-50 miles may enjoy the broadcast programs.

2. To create the opportunity to promote Community Radio and Television at the rural level by non-Government initiative.

3. To compose village broadcasting guidelines but it would not be profit making. Community broadcasting would be facilitated on the basis of neither profit making nor loosing concern.

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Writer Profile
AHM Bazlur Rahman

AHM Bazlur Rahman-S21BR is Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC). BNNRC is in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. BNNRC is a national networking body working for building a democratic society based on the principles of free flow of information, equitable & affordable access to Information, Communication Technology (ICT) for remote & marginalized population

He graduated from University of Dhaka and Post graduated from Asian University of Bangladesh in the field of Social Science (MSS) in Government & Politics.

He has worked extensively in Bangladesh and South Asia on variety of action research projects in Development Communication, mostly focused on ICT for Development(ICT4D), e-Parliament, Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR) Community Broadcasting, Good Governance, Micro-Macro Level advocacy, Institution Building, Social Mobilization, Democracy Education, Transformation Process of INGO to local NGO, Resource Mobilization, Communication for Development(C4D), Communicating in Public Sphere, Communicating Knowledge, Civil Rights in Communication, Cultural Rights in Communication Knowledge Management for Development (KM4D).

He has published several articles on Community Radio and co-author of Handbook on Community Radio for Good Governance and Development, Airwaves and Policy Advocacy plan for Community Radio in Bangladesh.

He currently member of Strategy Council of United Nations- Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN-GAID) UN HQ, Bangladesh Working Group on UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS) headed by Bangladesh Government, also acts as an Examiner in Marine Radio and Amateur Radio National Examination Committee of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), Community Radio Monitoring Committee, Ministry of Information, People’s Republic of Bangladesh and
Research Fellow, Center for e-Parliament Research. Contact: ceo@bnnrc.net www.bnnrc.net


Samira Chowdhury | Mar 19th, 2004
It is right that our villagers can't read newspaper so they can hear from you. Great work. Wish you best of luck.

Robert Devenyi | Apr 1st, 2004
What a great story and iamge

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