Published: 17. Aug. 2020 | Monday

Bangladesh is going to celebrate the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) at 18 Community Radio station level in rural Bangladesh on 28 September 2020. In the meanwhile, all Community Radio Broadcasting is preparing them for celebrating the International Day for Universal Access (IDUAI).
The theme is to highlight the Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Access to Information in Times of Crisis Commemorated around the slogan ”Access to Information–Saving lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope!’, the event will contribute to the exchange of good practices and guidelines on the right to access information. It will highlight the key role of access to information in saving lives and mitigating the impact of crises such as the current pandemic, as well as in shaping sustainable policies.
In Bangladesh, people have learned that access to accurate and timely information can be a matter of life and death. Access to information also makes it possible for citizens to follow responses to the crisis, such as confinement rules, regulations of travel and schooling, virus testing, medical equipment supplies, and economic aid or stimulus packages.
On this occasion, community radio stations will arrange a talk show, magazine program etc. The representative from media, practitioners, civil society members, academia, administration, and the representative from the different levels of the society will have participated through online.
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has been mobilizing all community radios for developing and broadcasting awareness building programs on COVID-19: contamination to protect lives and livelihoods since March 1, 2020 to 31 May 2020.
During March 1, 2020 to 31 May 2020 BNNRC has been working on COVID-19 covering the following issues : Animate CSOs, Government, health service providers and communities for reinforcing collective action in pre and during COVID-19, Response for achieving keeping community people’s daily life normal and livelihood function, and Mobilize further cooperation among government, CSOs, local market and communities’ response
In times of crisis, information saves lives. In the response to Covid-19, we see how vital it is to get accurate and trusted messages to people so that they know what they need to do and where they can get help when they need it. Now 18 Community Radios stations in Bangladesh have been broadcasting 165 hours of Coronavirus prevention education with the active participation of community people. There are 1000 community youth and youth women community radio broadcasters broadcast programs for 6.5 million listeners and viewers.
From 1st June, 2020 BNNRC has developed COVID-19: Adaptation Initiative and Intervention according to Technical Instructions of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on COVID-19 Pandemic to Protect and Control Social and Institutional Contamination that can help to look at the response through an equity lens, focus on people’s enhanced capabilities & follow a coherent multidimensional approach for achieving of the four specific objectives below in line with SDGs 16 :10
Enhance the capabilities of affected communities through an equity lens for adapting/coping/surviving with the new normal situation, Focus on enhanced capabilities of Broadcasters and Stakeholders for exercising new normal and building resilience, Accelerate of ICT applications for benefitting community people in all aspects of life and Effective access to reliable information through ICT and media for countering infodemic and keeping lives & livelihood easy.
Community Radio has created scope for the poor and marginalized community to raise their own voices; it becomes the voice for the voiceless. These neo-media outlets opened scope to establish their rights of Information and communication in the social, political, cultural and environmental arena. As a result of such advocacy programs scope widened for poverty reduction and sustainable development because of the rights to raise the voice of the community and accessibility to knowledge and information. Scopes also opened for the exchange of dialogue between local elected representatives, government bodies and NGO professionals for the sake of establishing good governance. Direct linkage established between the community and the main sectors. Scopes were created for social debate, inclusion, and preservation of cultural diversity by ensuring the inclusion of the marginalized community.
It is really working and having a very positive effect in the rural communities. Now the community people are taking precautionary measures for adaptation and coping with the new normal situation of COVID–19 pandemic in line with Right to Information. People now understand more about adaptation with the COVID–19 pandemic and maintain health protocols strictly such as using masks, washing hands, maintaining social distance and avoiding public gatherings.
Community radio programming is an important tool in flattening the curve, tamping down panic in line with misinformation, disinformation, and extending advice and comfort to the people most affected—wherever they live.

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September 2020
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