Dr. Rodrigues and a team from Australian partners were in Bengaluru during the last week of September, to conduct their first international visit as part of this project. Titled ‘Sambhashane: The Bengaluru Dialogues on Citizens & Community Media’, this was a symposium for media stakeholders to connect and collaborate. It was focused on re-conceptualising community media and understanding the changing boundaries of media and art.
Parallel initiatives in India and Australia are being implemented as part of this project. Here citizens and students will receive media production training to report on significant socio-economic issues in their respective communities. It will also bolster participant’s knowledge of relevant local issues by providing access to experts in their chosen topics of reporting.
Australian community broadcasting has set a benchmark with over 5.7 million Australian listeners at over 460 radio stations each week, covering news, information, arts and other specialist’s programs. Indian community media has over 200 licensed stations and several innovative citizen media websites, facilitating youth and women participation in media production activities. By sharing knowledge about skills enhancing strategies and education programs for citizen media practitioners and university students, this project will strengthen the sustainability of community media sector in both countries.
Government regulation and funding have supported the growth of Australian community media. While India and Australia are two disparate democracies, the case studies from Australian community media can help pave way for policy formulation in India.
Some examples of community media successes in India are – Radio Active CR, which is located at Jain University in Bangalore, and a mobile journalism project CGNet Swara in central India. But the challenge for community media in India is, community broadcasters can cover only development news and information. They are not licensed to cover news that is covered by mainstream media.
This major concern for Indian community broadcasters will also be dealt with during this project execution. The project team will submit a report to the Australia India Council, Australia, and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in India with a view to influence government policy setting for community media sector, particularly in India, where the sector needs legislative and funding support from the government.
The project’s aim is to have 6-10 citizens to be part of the project at each community media site, which would give it a manpower between 25-30 journalists. Each of these citizen storytellers will report on stories significant to their communities in the 9-month period between August 2018 and April 2019.
About Deakin University:
Established in 1974, Deakin University successfully combines excellence in teaching, research and effective partnerships with industry and government to deliver high quality courses and undertake research that makes a difference to the domestic and international communities it serves. Deakin’s South Asia operations commenced in 1994 at New Delhi, India, making it one of the first overseas education provider to set operations in this region. Here, Deakin engages with the government, industry and the academia to share its vibrant culture of education and research.