GUWAHATI, April 9 - The community radio is a much needed component for dissemination of information among the masses during times of disaster. In the prevailing medical emergency situation in the State, community radio stations are also playing the role of a voice of the voiceless by trying their best to disseminate information despite facing a lot of challenges.
�A society needs the community radio especially during such crises. So, we are trying our best to disseminate information about the situation as much as possible. Though it is our main duty, yet many of our staff have not been able to visit the office due to the lockdown. The office has been running with only two employees since the first day of the lockdown and we are coordinating with our volunteers through the social media,� Bhaskar Jyoti Bhuyan, station head of Radio Brahmaputra, told The Assam Tribune.
Radio Brahmaputra is a Dibrugarh-based community radio station, which, at present, is airing a special programme on COVID-19 in four languages � Assamese, Sadri, Hajong and Mising.
It has around 300 volunteers in different villages of the State, who are sharing the mp3 version of every programme through WhatsApp among the public in their respective villages.
�We are also airing a special live programme where people talk about various issues they have been facing during the lockdown and we are trying to convey the message to the authority concerned. We have also aired a special interactive programme with doctors,� Bhuyan said.
The same situation also prevails at the studio of Guwahati-based community radio Jnan Taranga. At present, the station has been running with only one employee as the authority has restricted others from coming to the office as a measure of maintaining social distancing.
�We�re trying to make people aware on the importance of social distancing, isolation, quarantine, etc., through various programmes. As every individual is facing a lot of problems due to the lockdown, we�re also designing programmes on how to make the most of the lockdown hours through various activities,� said Manoj Kumar Deka, senior announcer and programme producer of Jnan Taranga. He is working alone at the studio from the first day of the lockdown. Every day, he comes to office at 8 am and leaves at 6 pm. He stated that he would have to work in this way till April 14.
�Our radio station mainly covers a population comprising a number of wage labourers and financially weak families. So, we have a lot of responsibilities towards our listeners during such a situation,� he added.
Due to the lockdown, another Guwahati-based community radio station Radio Luit has remained closed since March 25. However, from Wednesday, the radio station started airing programmes through its Facebook page.
�Most of our announcers are students, so all of them left for home after the government announced the lockdown. But, we have huge responsibilities towards society in such a crisis period and as an alternative medium we chose the social media. Now, our announcers will work from home by using their laptops. The programmes are designed to make the public aware about the dreaded disease,� Bhaskar Acharya, programme executive of Radio Luit, said.
Recently, Radio Luit, in collaboration with the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, also prepared some awareness videos on the coronavirus disease and some of them are available in the sign language as well.