A round table that, in March, 2006 urged the Bangladeshi government to grant community radio (cr) licenses is celebrating the first fruit of its success. In the village of Sitakund, a cable radio will broadcast for 90 minutes a day and will foreground local culture.
The discussions will focus on a variety of environmental concerns, including agriculture, natural calamities, weather, and on social problems, such as poverty, gender inequality, education and employment.
One highlight is to be the voice of Jaffrudin, who lost a leg to polio, singing songs from Chittagong district. Jaffrudin thinks the radio will help his community to learn about disabled people and their rights.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voices of Interactive Choice and Empowerment, who spoke at the round table, sees cr as an important tool in the promotion of marginalized voices in a world where globalisation increasingly lends the public ear to the powerful few. Bazlur Rahman of the Bangladesh Coastal ngos Network for Radio and Communication hopes that the radio of Sitakund will ensure that the voices of "even the most deprived among the poor" are heard.
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