Tuesday, 13 December 2011

[creative-radio] Community MHz: Assessing Community Radio Performance in Nepal - New book


Dear All,
on behalf Community Radio Support Center's Coordinator, Raghu Mainali, I
would like to inform you about the publication of the book
Community MHz: Assessing Community Radio Performance in Nepal. A Pilot
Assessment of 15 Stations*
published by Community Radio Support Center (CRSC)/ Nepal Forum of
Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) with the support of UNESCO, Kathmandu.
*This book, and previous publications, can all be downloaded from CRSC's
page at

For further informnation, please contact directly CRSC at: crsc@nefej.org.np

Best Regards,



Executive Summary
1. Independent FM radio is fairly recent in Nepal. The first few radios
were established in
the mid-1990s. Most of them were licensed and established after 2006. Until
late August 2011, the government had issued 393 licenses. The licensees
include nongovernment
organizations (NGOs), cooperatives, local government bodies,
commercial entities and the state-run broadcaster. Nepal still lacks a
comprehensive law
on broadcasting, despite specific guarantees for broadcasting in the Interim
Constitution 2007.

2. This document reports on the pilot assessment of 15 community radio
stations -- or of
radios that claim to be community radios -- based on the Community Radio
Assessment System (CR-PAS) developed by the Community Radio Support
Centre (CRSC)/ Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ). The CR-PAS
seeks to assess community radio stations in seven performance areas:
participation and
ownership, governance, programs, resource structure and management,
station management,
financial management and networking. It uses a set of 60 indicators and is
intended to be a practical tool that the stations could eventually adopt
for continuous

3. Following a brief overview of radio in Nepal, this report provides an
overview of the
CR-PAS and the assessment process. Thereafter, it reports on the
findings and analysis
both of all the radios that were assessed and also of individual
stations, leading to
conclusions and recommendations.

4. The CR-PAS provides a basis for rating stations -- based on their
performance scores,
from A to E. A being model radios and others between those endeavoring
to become
community radios to those that are close to becoming model radios. None
of the
assessed stations scored enough points to come under category A. Eight
of the assessed
stations came under category E, three under D, two under C, and two
under category B.
Though some of the stations under category E had obtained the minimum points
required by the CR-PAS, they did not meet the minimum requirements in
one or more
of the seven composites or performance areas. Further, one station that
obtained the
highest aggregate score did not obtain the minimum points required under
one set of

5. Among the findings, there were stations that did not produce their
own newscasts,
those that had political and/or business interests in their boards, and
also those that did
not have separate bank accounts. There also were stations that had
produced much of
their own content, had independent representatives in their executive
boards and had
begun establishing financial systems and procedures. Only three stations
had scores that
was above the minimum required by the CR-PAS as well as the prescribed
minimum for all seven composites. There are also variations in the
performance of the
stations across indicators. Overall, the findings provide a snapshot of
the state of community
radio, including both the positive aspects as well as those areas that
need to be

6. Generally, the stations that scored well on the CR-PAS had good
programming and
good governance systems. Radio program was a weak point for some
stations, for
other it was resource mobilization and financial management. Though
there were weaknesses
in terms of participation and ownership, it was attributable to lack of
law and
policy to some extent, and not necessarily something entirely under the
control of the

7. Even though the CR-PAS was not intended to be a rating system, the
pilot assessment
suggests that it can be developed into one that could be of use to
regulators and also for
stakeholders supporting the independent radio movement in Nepal.
Further, an assessment
tool like the CR-PAS has to be a living document, one that can accommodate
improvements as radio stations also improve. Its major strength is its
acceptance by community radios. Therefore the study recommends
continuously revisiting
the CR-PAS and refining and simplifying its indicators to prepare tools
that can be
used to assess the performance of community radios as well as other
broadcasters --
after fine-tuning the indicators for measuring specific issues say in
commercial radio or
television. This assessment has provided some feedback for revising and
updating the

8. The findings suggest that stations that have been in operation for a
longer period or
have narrowly defined audience groups they want to serve cannot
necessarily perform
better unless they address to other performance areas. Further, despite
everything that
has been said about local radio in Nepal, there was a major gap in the
efforts of community

9. The assessment report has 14 specific recommendations relating to law
and policy,
those addressed to donors, individual stations and CRSC/NEFEJ.

Salvatore Scifo
Vice-President, Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE)
E:info@cmfe.eu W:http://www.cmfe.eu
CMFE is a network of policy experts, organizations and federations, which aim to support the role of Community Media in Europe.
Registered in Belgium as an International NGO, business n.0822992342

Supported by the EU under the 'Europe for Citizens Programma 2011'

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