Radio Sarabela 98.8, Rangpur, Bangladesh

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh was founded on March 26, 1971. Today, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with approximately 162 million people over 143,995 square kilometres. Twenty-eight percent of the population live in the urban areas while 72% reside in the rural and peri-rural areas. Approximately 98% of the population is ethnic Bengalis while the remaining 2% are classified as having heritage from Burma and Bihar. The major language is Bengali, with English being common in the urban areas. Geography wise, Bangladesh has rich and fertile soils due to the presence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna Rivers supplying nutrients they carry from the Himalayas Mountain Range. Overall, Bangladesh is seen as a developing country with most of its’ population employed in the agriculture section.

The country’s media sector comprises state-run, privately owned, and community-based media.

Community radio emerged in 2010 following the approval of the ‘Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy” on March 12, 2008 (updated as at 2017). However, the demand for community radio can be traced back to the late 1990s with activists, civil society and NGOs leading the charge resulting in the establishment of the Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communications (BNNRC) being established in 2000 to lead the advocacy programmes.  As at 2019, a total of 17 CR stations are operating at the local level to fill existing information gaps and to provide a forum for grassroots people.

The BNNRC is currently working towards the establishment of community television. Apart from this, there is not much information available about other community media organisations in the public.

Key organisations within Nepal that support community media initiatives include BNNRC, BCRA, NIMCo, PIB, and CAMPE.


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