ACORAB marks World Radio Day 2024 by charting a future course of community radios in Nepal

On February 13, 2024, the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal (ACORAB) celebrated the 13th World Radio Day, aligning with this year's theme of celebrating information, education, and entertainment. which deeply resonates with the essence of community radio in Nepal.

For the World Radio Day 2024 celebration, Mr. Arjun Giri, President of ACORAB, welcomed the participants of the event emphasizing the crucial role of community radio in fostering communication and empowerment. , while Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, the Honourable Finance Minister, graced the event as the chief guest, underscoring the importance of community radio in national discourse.  Additionally, Michael Croft, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative in Nepal, delivered a video message underscoring the global significance of World Radio Day and its impact on local communities. The event also featured insights and experiences shared by Bipul Pokhrel, President of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, Dr. Nahkul K.C., Vice Chairman of the Lumbini Planning Commission, Subas Khatiwada, Vice-President of AMARC Asia Pacific, and Laxman Humagain, President of Advertisement Board.Two enlightening panel discussions were held, delving into crucial topics.

 Embracing Changes in Media Landscape: Led by Rajan Parajuli (Country Director, PMC Nepal), discussions focused on structural reforms, business models, and navigating the digital age. The panel discussion addressed the evolving role of radio in the digital age, questioning whether the narrative of "radio is dead" is accurate. Sumana Shrestha, a Member of Parliament, emphasized radio's effectiveness during crises like the earthquake in Jajarkot and highlighted its resilience amid economic downturns. She stressed the global relevance of the issue and raised concerns about content management and employment within the radio sector.

Dr. Bishwas Gauchan underscored the importance of integrating radio into Nepal's journey towards prosperity, advocating for its role in communicating structural improvements and connecting with diverse communities. He proposed initiatives like the Diaspora Decade to leverage radio for storytelling and entrepreneurship. Ashutosh emphasised community support and local government involvement in sustaining radio's relevance, urging investment in content creation and storytelling. The discussion concluded with acknowledgment of the challenges facing the radio sector, highlighting the need for collective action to address them.

The second panel session titled "Reflecting Gaps in Community Radio Practices" was moderated by Bandana Danuwar (Vice-President, ACORAB). This session addressed issues such as gender equality and social inclusion, content creation, resource mobilization, and governance. 

The panel discussion focused on the transformative power and challenges facing community radio in Nepal. Sona Khatik highlighted the empowering role of radio in giving voice to marginalized communities like Madhesi Dalits and stressed the need for innovative content. Jitendra Raut called for a shift from conventional structures towards dynamic programming, emphasizing the importance of adapting to changing audience preferences. Bhumiraj Chapagain emphasized the importance of tailoring programs to diverse community demographics and interests, urging a community-centric approach. Raghu Mainali underscored the need for governance and government recognition of community radio, advocating for inclusive and impactful content creation. Bhumiraj Chapagain emphasised the enduring strength of radio as a medium and the need for content that meets listeners' needs. The discussion concluded with reflections on the evolving media landscape and the imperative for community radio to remain relevant and responsive to community interests and needs. 

The event concluded on a high note, with participants enriched by stimulating discussions and promising avenues for the future of community radio in Nepal. As ACORAB looks ahead, the commitment to amplifying voices, fostering dialogue, and driving positive change through community radio remains steadfast.