Kathmandu, Jan 6: Minister for Information and Communications Surendra Kumar Karki has said the government is ever committed to the development and promotion of community journalism.
Inaugurating the 13th AGM and sixth convention of the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB) Nepal here today, Minister Karki spoke of the need of further broadening the activities of community radio and making it more focused on the community.
"Community radio can play a pivotal role for change in society. Community radio has always a supportive role in bringing positive changes in the society," he said, pledging the government support to promote community radio stations. He called on community journalists to give coverage to the people's voices and leave no stone unturned to keep the reputation and prestige of community radio intact.
"The government is preparing to bring a special aid package for journalists and such package will be primarily for those journalists covering the voices of the poor, helpless and backward communities," as stated by Minister Karki who also serves as the Spokesperson for the government.
He appealed to mass media to shift their focus from political and urban-centred approach to rural issues.
Similarly, speaking on the occasion, CPN-UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai praised the role of community radio in the transformation of Nepali society and pushing the country towards the door to economic prosperity.
Nepali Congress central member and lawmaker Min Bahadur Bishwakarma insisted on a positive media role in the efforts for enforcing the constitution, achieving political stability and taking the country towards the path of economic progress.
CPN (Maoist Center) Secretariat member Maheshwor Dahal called on political parties to rise above the partisan and individual interests and take the country ahead on the basis of political consensus.
President of the Federation of Nepali Journalists Dr Mahendra Bista requested the political parties to be focused on finding a way for country's economic, social and cultural development.
Three hundred people associated to community radios from across the country are taking part in the general meeting and general convention being held around the slogan 'Community Radio for Social Transformation'. The general convention will elect ACORAB new leadership.
According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, 702 radio operation licenses have been issued so far. Among them, around 400 are community radios and nearly 300 are in operation.
The government has accorded policy recognition also to the community radio through the National Mass Communications Policy-2073.
ACORAB President Mohan Chapagain called on the community radio broadcasters to be more responsible now that the government has already given policy recognition to them.
Radio broadcasting started in Nepal with the establishment of Radio Nepal in 2007 BS. Radio Sagarmatha acquired the operation license in 2054 BS as the first community radio in of South Asia.
The Mass Media Policy states that necessary laws would be formulated to make arrangements for providing the frequencies allotted for community broadcasting and commercial broadcasting among the frequencies distributed by the Mass Media Policy in a transparent manner on the basis of open competition and for maintaining the term of the radio frequency allotted to the FM radios 18 years. RSS