4th AMARC Asia-Pacific Regional Conference and Assembly took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 16-19 November 2018. The Community Radio Network of Indonesia, (Jaringan Radio Komunitas Indonesia, JRKI) and Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, UAJY was co-organiser and ACORAB, Nepal was partner of the Conference.
The 4th AMARC Asia-Pacific regional conference was focus on ‘building resilient communities’ through Community Radio. Plenary sessions, panel discussions and hands-on skill development workshops was held on issues and subjects ranging from gender based violence and violence against minorities , ‘disaster risk reduction’ to ‘migration and human trafficking.
Community radio broadcasters, academics, policy makers, representatives of donor organizations, government representatives, and other stakeholders from countries in the Pacific, East Asia, South East Asia, and South Asia were participated in the conference. Likewise, Community radio experts from Africa, Latin America and Europe also attended the conference. More than 200 community radio broadcasters from 16 countries and media practitioners from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and East Timor attended the conference. More than 92 community radio broadcasters took part from Nepal.
The program was inaugurated by the Honorable. Rudiantara, Minister of Communication and Informatics, Indonesia. The minister shared the role played by community radios during disaster and praised the community radios in helping the disaster risk and minimizing the destruction by informing the community and he declared the necessity of two thousand community radios in the country's like Indonesia. the first day of the program focused on the issue like role of community radios in creating harmonious relation and peace keeping by enabling the right to information to the community. The discussion also focused in gender equity in patriarchy society.
ACORAB organized workshop on "strengthening the network of community radios" and finalized strategies for the next four years for the development of community radio broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region. In that workshop the participants from the network organizations of Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and East Timor shared about the status and working modality of their network. At the same time the discussion was held on possible bilateral and multi-lateral collaboration between the networks of community radios of Asia Pacific.
Different Plenary sessions were held on initial 3 days of the conference. Nepal had represented as panelists in 3 plenary sessions. Ms. Mina Gurung from Nepal was the panelist on "Challenging Patriarchy and Gender Relationships" moderated by Nimmi Chauhan from WIN-AP. Likewise, AL Faridah St. Infirohah, Swara Warga FM, Indoneshia, Mary Carling, Radyo Sagada, Philippines and Chalisa Magpanthong, PhD, Associate Prof. of Comm. Research & Independent Scholar, Thailand were other panelists for the session.
Ms. Gurung, shared the status of gender in community radios of Nepal, where the participation is quite less in comparison to male counterpart. The women, children and marginalized communities have less access to the right to information. ACORAB and the member radio bridges such gaps and are campaigning to root out the prejudice and challenge the majoritarian discourse. Panelists focused on the zero tolerance to violence against women at work place, their communities and has been developing program to address violence against minorities.
Al Faridah St. Infirohah, Swara Warga FM, Indonesia, talked about the rise in violence against gender base has been challenges in Asia- Pacific region. The economic changes has been a tremendous shift in relations between men and women. Patriarchy has been challenged to large extent as women have increased mobility, purchasing power and increasingly recognized as part of the workforce. Community broadcasters from different country was discussed strategies to create programming around themes like, the loss of male authority, globalization of culture, contestation over values and spaces and so on.
The third day was focused on the media act and policy, through the discussion on the practices done across the world. The Philippines representative activist and radio person talked about the government power on radio. Whereas Mr. Subash Khatiwada president of ACROAB talked about the lack of government address and concerned in formation of separate policy for community radios and its promotion in Nepal. Likewise the treasure of ACORAB Mr. Laxman Khadka shared about the role played by community radios during the disaster in Nepal. The other issue such as gender equity and right to third gender has been the great issue to be addressed in the community radio sector.
Asia-Pacific members of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) from 11 nations upheld a collective commitment to end gender based violence .They also agreed “to create spaces on the airwaves for indigenous peoples, refugees, displaced people, the stateless, the trafficked and marginalized voices,” in a statement. The decision by community radio operators to serve as messengers of peace was timely given that religious issues often lie at the heart of conflicts in their communities, according to Sinam M. Sutarno, chairman of the Indonesian Community Radio Network.
The conference elected Mr. Ram Nath Bhat of India as President, Ms. Supinya Klagnarong of Thailand as Deputy President, Mr. Junchi Hibino pf Japan as Treasurer, Mr. Subas Khatiwada (Chair Person of ACORAB) of Nepal as Vice President from South Asia and Ms. Nimi Chauhan of India as vice president from WIN. The conference was kicked off by promulgating the Yogyakarta Declaration.
The conference is very fruitful for Nepal in terms of content and representation. Mr. Subas Khatiwada, Chairperson of ACORAB elected as vice chair of AMARC AP from south Asia. Which is the great achievement for Nepal. Similarly, 3 participants from Nepal took part in the different plenary sessions of the conference and shared their experience in the concerned theme. Likewise, ACORAB organized a workshop on "strengthening the network of community radios" .