Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has written to Sanae Takaichi, Japan’s Minster of Internal Affairs and Communications, to express their concern regarding the immediate revival of community radio in the country.
BNNRC is the apex body of the community media sector to government, industry, regulatory bodies, media and development partners in Bangladesh.
It aims to improve recognition of the community electronic media sector and its work and involvement with the communities it seeks to serve.
In its letter, BNNRC has cited the recent closing down of Radio FMYY of Kobe - a community radio station that had been playing the pioneering role in promoting disaster risk reduction, but had to stop broadcasting due to prohibitory provisions in the community radio regulation of Japan.
The regulation, following an amendment in 2011, imposes a highly restrictive condition on community radios, according to which a station cannot stop broadcasting even for a short time.
In order to comply, community radios are required to make large investments in backup equipment and infrastructure and remain unsympathetic to difficulties faced by staff members and volunteers. Stations considered to be in violation are dealt with severely.
On March 31, 2016, FMYY returned its broadcasting license due to its inability to cope with this severely restrictive regulation.
Several other radio stations including those serving tsunami prone areas have met with a similar fate.
One of the major roles of community radios in Japan is to respond to natural and human-caused disasters and despite strong demand from community members for community radios, especially during reconstruction and rehabilitation phases of recovery, the prohibitive community radio regulation has posed a serious challenge to the survival of community broadcasting in Japan.
While community-owned radios such as FMYY are forced off-air, there is a growing trend in Japan for local governments to run radio stations through public-private venture companies. Even though such stations are called community radios, they are neither community owned nor can they be expected to defend people’s communication rights.
BNNRC has requested Takaichi for the revival of community radio as a permanent home on free to air broadcast spectrum for as long as it continues to contribute to a vibrant and diverse media landscape in Japan.
Source : asiaradiotoday.com