Community Radio stations have an important role to play not only in giving local communities a voice to make themselves heard, but also to deliver timely, accurate and useful information to people affected by emergencies. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that the life-saving function of timely information is taken seriously by the audience of community radio stations and this facilitates open debate as well as creation of life saving knowledge. There is, however, a growing need for the community radio stations to learn from experts as well as one another to arrive at an understanding of their ongoing and future work pertaining to Covid-19 related information and knowledge and filter infodemic to draw genuine communication and also demystify disinformation, misinformation and malinformation.
Building the knowledge and skills of community radio practitioners can make a difference in the way people think and act in view of the continued threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. As community based organisations, community radio stations are first line of communication for communities. Many of the community radio stations have worked with communities for over 10 years disseminating valuable, life-saving information to the communities. The community radio stations have also disseminated Covid-19 related information in recent times.
OneWorld Foundation India (OneWorld) and UNDP are organising two webinars to strengthen the capacity of community radio stations in creating awareness on Covid-19, promoting Covid-appropriate behaviour, and removing vaccine hesitancy in people, and advancing their involvement in inclusive initiatives and communication for development.
Senior Professor of Communication & Unesco Chair on Community Media, University of Hyderabad
Director Professor and Head of Department, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi