Karachi: Role of community radio in swift rescue, relief highlighted
Speakers of a roundtable dialogue on 'Role of community media in rescue,
relief and rehabilitation in areas affected by floods' on Friday stated
that devastating situations due to natural calamities like earthquakes and
floods could quickly be responded to with effective use of communication
through community radio stations.
The dialogue was organized by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), World
Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, BHN Association, and with the
support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) at a local hotel.
Highlighting the pivotal role of community based broadcasting in
developing countries, the speakers urged the Pakistan Electronic Media
Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to allow establishing non-profit based
community radio stations, especially in the rural areas of the country.
Presently, PEMRA only issues licenses to broadcasting services for
commercial purposes, while launching any community radio station is
prohibited according to PEMRA laws. It was agreed by the advisor to the
Sindh Chief Minister MPA, Khawaja Izhar Hassan, and Provincial Advisor
Sharmila Farooqui that the matter of issuing licenses to community radio
would be raised in the coming session of the Sindh Assembly.
It was observed that community based broadcasting could bring constructive
transformation in society, as blocking the information is too dangerous
for the well being of the society. There is a dire need to develop
political consensus for amending PEMRA laws so that emergency and
community based broadcasting could be allowed to facilitate the people of
Sharmila Farooqi said the importance of community based radio could not be
ignored. She said that the government would have to consider various
aspects of giving permission to community radio. "We have to view the
various aspects, including cultural and ethnic diversities, as the people
of Pakistan generally lack high tolerance to bear some of these
Referring to illegal radio transmissions in Swat and tribal areas, she
said that by allowing community based radio stations we could fight such a
menace. She emphasized that the issue should be discussed at the highest
political level. She said proper guidelines in this regard are essential.
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