Mind the lines
Community radio’s embrace extends to handling complaints of sexual harassment and giving voice to members of the marginalised communities. Still, there are drawbacks of being non-mainstream, for these stations are not permitted to broadcast everyday news, and are banned from criticising the establishment.
Besides operational shortcomings, there is the dilemma of getting women employees to commit full-time. “I am struggling to get local women who can stay for long,” says Alfaz-e-Mewat’s Puja, adding, “In some procedures, the government process is slow — it took more than three years to get a licence.”
Despite these challenges, the success of Radio Mewat, Alfaz-e-Mewat and Gurgaon Ki Awaaz has demonstrated the value of community radio. And it’s not all about information and education. Radio Mewat, for example, is happy to play Haryanvi raginis and folk songs between each slot. Because radio works best when it’s both mentor and entertainer.