On the auspicious occasion of 18th establishment Day Celebration, Association of Community Radio Broadcasters’ (ACORAB) Nepal organized Community Radio: Policy Dialogue on March 23, 2019. As Nepal is the first country to operate community radio in South Asia, there are more than 350 community radio stations across the country. Community radio, which is voice of voiceless, marginalized and rural society, lacks its own separate policy. Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Member of Parliaments, Community Radios experts and activities and media person took participation.
Hon. Minister Gokul Baskata, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology promised to discuss with the radio experts and activists while forming policy of community radios. Though the government has drafted the draft Media policy, it seems to reform some point of view and adding when finalizing it. The government is always positive in regarding renewal policy, royalty and advertisement but still not sure about the conformation to meet all the aspects raised in this program here. However, the situation is not due to demand, medication and attention are also going on.
In the program, president of rule and human rights committee of parliament Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel, former minister and member of parliament Minendra Rijal, member of parliament Yagraj Sunuwar, Indu Kumari Sharma, Umasankar Argariya and Rambahadur Bista, Member of National Planning Commission Min Bahadur Shahi, leader of Nepal Communist Party Surya Thapa and Journalist Suresh Acharya put their opinion. They said that, Community radio had played a role in establishing peace after the armed conflict, and then to restore democracy and federalism. They further expressed, the government should not delay in making the necessary policy for community radio. The sharing of the information from Singh Durbar to Jumla, Darchula, or Taplejung people within one minute is possible only of Community Radios. Therefore we should give them credit for preserving right to information and create favorable environment for community radios by promulgating separate community friendly policy.
Likewise, Raghu Mainali, founder president of Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB) Nepal shared that in the last 20 years, ministers of every government are giving assurances to bring separate policy for community radio but nobody has done it in action.
Similarly, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, Chiranjibi Khanal, Chairperson of FECOFUN Ms. Bharati Pathak, General Secretary of Human Rights Alliance Dr. Padam Prasad Khatiwada, General Secretary of Irrigation Users Association Mr. Shambhu Dulal, Chairperson of Family Forest Association Mr. Jograj Giri, Advocate Rabindra Bhattarai and Dr. RC Lamichhane also put their remarks. They stated about the need of policy to make the radio more effective. Bhattarai said, that inspiring and fulfilling community radio should be done in first hand whereas the coordination for favorable is another important part.
Mr. Subas Khatiwada, President of ACORAB and Mr.Arjun Giri, senior vice-president of ACORAB also expressed their view. They said that, radio stations are still operated and regulated according to the Operation Act 2049, therefore the amendment of separate policy of community radio is needed. He further stated that other countries has started following Nepal's practices but The Government of Nepal is not concern and ignored and the role & importance of community radios and necessity of separate policy. After the country went into federalism, three-fold government was formed. The Center has also opposed the provision of frequency and operation approval by state and local government to run the radio.