Thursday, February 5, 2015

Community Media for Maldives

It is indeed an encouraging news that the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) in association with Maldives Broadcasting Commission organized a National Consultation on Community Media in Male’ on February 05, 2015. In the entire South Asia, the Maldives is the only country where community media do not exist in any form, perhaps not even as campus radio also. But, I personally believe that Community Media may be the most successful and suitable form of communication in a country like the Maldives.
How community media can play a vital and imperative role in Maldives? I would like to analyse in major three areas- where, why and for whom? If you have a look on the population structure of Maldives, it is amazing with a small number of population scattered in different island and atolls. The Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, situated in the south west of India and Sri Lanka. This country is comprised of 1,192 islands including 192 inhabitant islands and atolls.  As per the census of 2006, the populations in the major atolls are less than 20,000 except the capital atoll- Male’. The population structure of a few major atolls are - Male'-103,693, North Thiladhunmathi (HA)- 13,495, South Thiladhunmathi (HDh)- 16,237, North Miladhunmadulu (Sh)- 11,940, South Miladhunmadulu (N)- 10,015, North Maalhosmadulu (R)- 14,756, South Maalhosmadulu (B)- 9,578, Faadhippolhu (Lh)- 9,190, Male' Atoll (K)- 15,441, North Ari Atoll (AA)- 5,776, South Ari Atoll (ADh)- 8,379, Felidhu Atoll (V)- 1,606, Mulakatholhu (M)- 4,710, North Nilandhe Atoll (F)- 3,765, South Nilandhe Atoll (Dh)- 4,967, Kolhumadulu (Th)- 8,493, Hadhdhunmathi (L)- 11,990, North Huvadhu Atoll (GA)- 8,262, South Huvadhu Atoll (GDh)- 11,013, Fuvahmulah (Gn)-7,636, Addu Atoll (S)- 18,026 etc.
For these small islands scattered in the Indian Ocean, community media, such as community radio can be set up as a potent tool for enabling local communities to represent themselves. It is assumed that the issues are different island to island. So, community radio can give the space to address the issues of relevance for a particular atoll apart from the general.  Again, in many countries community radio plays a crucial role in the time of natural disaster and proves as the most useful tool of risk communication. As we know that on December 26, 2004, the tsunami affected the lives and livelihoods of a significant part of the population of the Maldives and destroyed houses, health posts, schools, harbours, jetties, and personal belongings across the country. In these situations, community radio can be used as the most useful tool for interpersonal communication and the medium between the victims and the atoll councils and public departments. For example, during the Kobe earthquake in Japan, FM YY community radio played a crucial role.  Similarly, in the cyclone called Mahasen, five community radio stations based in the coastal areas of Bangladesh served the community at a stretch broadcasting of more than 80 hours using generators for power.
Who will be the target audience for community radio in the Maldives? The characteristics of community radio explain that it is of a community, for a community, about a community and by a community. Hence, community radios will be for the community members in the atolls. It can be used for the persons who ae engaged in some specific professions. For example, fishing is a major profession for a large number of people in the Maldives. Community radio can be used for providing weather forecast in a regular interval. I believe, the Maldives can be an ideal place for community broadcasting.

Cite this article as-
Dutta, A. (2015, February 5). Community Radio for the Maldives. Community Communications.

Dutta, Ankuran. "Community Radio for Maldives." Community Communications, 5 Feb. 2015, Accessed ..................

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