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Youth inclusion crucial for Community Radio: UNESCO

14 March 2015

Saurav Mukherjee/OneWorld South Asia

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Experts from various organisations highlighted the role of Community Radio in giving voice to young men and women.

New Delhi: Focusing on youth empowerment, UNESCO has called for a bigger role for people under the age of 30 years for Community Radio movement underlining it as the main theme on the occasion of World Radio Day on February 13.

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, lamented the exclusion of young people from the social and democratic decisions. "The young population is largely excluded from the social, economic and democratic decisions that concern them. Such an exclusion perpetuates stereotypes which leads to inequality. By giving young people a voice we can catalyze new energy to rejuvenate and develop societies,” Bokova said.

Education and proper training could help us in creating a more inclusive and prosperous society, she said.

Vasuki Belavadi, Faculty Fellow of UNESCO Chair on Community Media, said that policy prescriptions alone are not enough for empowering youth.

"Mere drafting a policy for employment of youth won't help. We need to create an environment where the youth can raise their issues concerning them," Belavadi said.

Talking about the role of women for an inclusive society, Kanchan K Malik, another Faculty Fellow of UNESCO Chair on Community Media, urged for collaborative and united action. "Women issues are generally sidelined by the mainstream media. Therefore, community media plays a vital role in airing voices from this vulnerable section of society at the local level," she said.

Many Community Radio Stations celebrated the World Radio day in their own unique hues. Radio Namaskar which completed its fifth anniversary celebrated the day by organizing a get together of 20 Community Radio stations from all across Odisha and discussed issues concerning youth.

Radio FTII broadcast a special programme based highlighting issues related to youth. While Pardvaanoli from Tamil Nadu invited youth from 20-25 nearby villages for participating in discussion on contemporary issues.

Not just local community media, but nationally reputed institutes like the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication also held discussions on the emerging role of Community Radio and its significance in the digital media space.

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