The First Community radio of Bangladesh-Lokobetar FM 99.2

Daily Star, First community radio on air First community radio on air Abdullah Mamun (writer) The country's first community radio named Lokobetar has begun test transmission in the district town of Barguna to build public opinion on development issues like democracy, good governance, human rights, anti-corruption, health and women empowerment. Mass-Line Media Centre (MMC), a development organisation, with financial and technical support from Unesco, set up the radio station, which has been on trial since May 27 and is expected to go for full-fledged transmission by mid-June. MMC officials will operate the radio while local community will star in the programmes. Tarek Mahmud, acting head of Lokobetar, said the radio equipment costs stand at about Tk 10 lakh. The radio now broadcasts programmes for an hour daily, which would be increased gradually, said MMC officials. Musical programmes are being transmitted with some social messages on issues such as public health, education, women oppression, child marriage, and dowry. Weather and agriculture news are also on the list. In 1998 MMC applied to the information ministry asking for licence for community radio. The government provided 14 licences in April last year. About 17 kilometers circle of Barguna town will get the FM 99.2 radio frequency of Lokobetar while 12 lakh people have been targeted. The programme can be listened on radio set or mobile handset. Although the radio has been on test run, the operator has yet to set up a 100-feet high antenna structure. Rather, the antenna has been set up on the rooftop of a house. "So the targeted group will not receive the signal at the moment. The studio is also yet to be built," said Mahmud. Nyma Nargis, project officer (communication and information) of Unesco, said, "We believe community radio will play a successful role in creating mass awareness on issues such as democracy, good governance, human rights, anti-corruption movement, health, environment, women empowerment, gender, youth and child rights, and non-formal education." She said communities would be better prepared to accept the radio station and interested to engage in the activities related to community radio programming. Unesco Dhaka office initially provided two community radio stations. The Centre for Communication and Development (CCD), a Rajshahi-based media organisation, will operate the other radio station that would come into transmission soon. The government has a plan to establish a community radio on agriculture information services in Barguna.   Source :

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