Community Media/MARAA/Community Radio/Participation/Four Corners
Participants were divided in to four groups, and a ball was passed around while music was played. When the music stops, the group which had the ball, was given a statement which they had to defend. The other three groups had to oppose the argument. The four statements/myths were:
- Participants is only limited to programming
- Participation should be paid for in all instances
- So far only 10% community participation has taken place in RB
- The role of reporter is only to make programs with community and edit
Case Study of Radio Bundelkhand
All four statements stirred heated and long debates and forced the participants to think harder about role and nature of participation from the community in their radio station. At the end of each instance, participants were asked to collectively arrive at an opinion whether that particular statement was true, false, or required modification.
Participation is limited to programming – The responses to this statement led to discussions on other areas of participation, for example in management, feedback, listener groups, etc. While one group argued that it would be dangerous to let community participate in other areas, the team finally decided that community can in fact participate in other areas like marketing, feedback, listening, producing and management. The final opinion was that RB can achieve complete community participation in the future if they focus much more on these aspects.
Participation should be paid for in all instances – The response to this statement was that there will be a demand from the community for limited payment since they depended on farming, daily wage work etc for their living, and it is only fair to pay community when they give time out for the radio. However, the debate was that if the radio focuses on issues which are relevant and critical to community, then they will not expect to be paid. Finally, the verdict was that community participation should be encouraged without a doubt, but no one should undergo a loss while doing so, and at least conveyance and other actual expenses could be reimbursed.
So far only 10% community participation has taken place in RB – The supporting team argued that it is indeed true because they have focused only on nearby villages, only reporters have been covering stories and community involvement is weak in other areas of the radio. The other teams argued that it has been only eight months since inception, and for a start, most radio programmes have community voice. Further there still needs to be more awareness about the radio itself, and this limits participation. Thus the team concluded that the next phase will definitely focus on increasing participation now that community is increasingly becoming aware of RB.
The role of reporter is merely to make programmes and edit – The supporting team completely agreed with this statement because this is what they have been doing so far in reality. They have also cited lack of time for anything else. Since this expectation from RB has increased, given programmes are recorded in the community; RB has to accommodate and follow up with some of the concerns and issues reflected in programs. This means that reporters now to have follow up with events, linkages with appropriate institutions, collect and provide relevant information, and most importantly, now become a link between the radio station and the people. So the scope of the reporter’s job needs to widen and diversify.