UNESCO Online Master Classes for Community Radio Stations in Bangladesh
In this context, the UNESCO Dhaka Office, with funding support from the UNESCO Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Media Pluralism and with the help of international and national expert trainers and tutors, conducted two sets of capacity-building Online Master Classes for Community Radio Stations in Bangladesh between 2 and 22 December 2021.
A total of 44 participants from 13 community radio stations across Bangladesh participated in the two sets of capacity-building Online Master Classes:
1. Online Master Classes on Community Radio Journalism: With facilitation support from expert trainer Ms. Zerrin Afza, the engaging and very participatory five-day Master Classes on COVID-19 Broadcasting focused on building the capacity of community radio stations in areas relevant to Community Radio Programme Production and Community Radio Programme Content. During the first part of the training participants learned about the journalistic processes of reporting, subjective radio programme presentation, attractive and effective radio programmes, as well as mobile journalism. During the second part students focused and learnt about radio programme content development, during which invited experts, including Mr. Afsan Chowdhury, Mr. Md. Tazul Islam, and Mr. Saad Bin Shafiq shared their experiences and strategies to counter cyber bullying, gender-based and domestic violence, as well as to discuss issues around COVID-19 radio broadcasting.
Following the completion of the Master Classes the expert trainer is conducting mentoring sessions with participants over the course of January 2022 to reinforce gained knowledge and to answer specific questions.
2. Online Master Classes on Technical and Editorial Radio Broadcasting: With facilitation support from the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and a team of tutors, the engaging and very participatory five-day Master Classes on Technical and Editorial Broadcasting built the capacity of participants from 12 participating community radio stations from across Bangladesh in technical and editorial parts of community radio broadcasting, including the basic operation of hardware and software of radio production, as well as creative editorial and post-production techniques that are useful for community radio operation.
The Master Classes were coordinated by Mr. Suman Basnet, Regional Director of AMARC Asia-Pacific as well as thematically led by Dr. Ram Bhat, President of AMARC Asia-Pacific together with a team of 4 experienced audio professionals who acted as tutors. The Master Classes which were carried out over the course of two weeks, helped participating staff and volunteers from community radio stations to learn the basics of radio technology as well as to improve their content quality by applying editorial skills and creative techniques of radio production.
Following the Master Classes, trainers and tutors are conducting mentoring sessions with participants over the course of January and February 2022 to reinforce gained knowledge and to answer specific questions.
The UNESCO Online Master Classes for Community Radio Stations in Bangladesh were a great success. Participating community radio stations reported to have improved their technical, editorial, as well as their journalistic capacities to serve diverse audiences with relevant, reliable, and accurate information following the Online Master Classes – and are looking forward to further training opportunities in the future.
For 2022, the UNESCO Dhaka Office is planning to launch a series of self-paced training materials based on conducted master classes. These self-paced online training materials, which will be made available for community radio and other media stakeholders in Bangladesh and beyond, will provide technical support to the community media sector in the post-COVID era.