Ghosh, Jhumur
June 2010
Global Media Journal: Indian Edition;Jun2010, p1
Academic Journal
The participation of grassroots in the political process entails the proactive role of media. The mainstream mass media with its market-driven content and diverse audience is inadequate for grassroots empowerment. The participatory community media allows the grassroots to be involved in the management and in the content production process. The Community Radio policy of India has been designed to increase grassroots involvement in the economic and social development process. But intentionally political empowerment of the grassroots has been excluded from its influence. This paper explores the potential of community radio as a participatory media in the panchayat areas of West Bengal and its effectiveness in attaining political empowerment for the panchayat members. The West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1977 made provision for grassroots participation in the formation of local governments and involvement in its decisions. But political empowerment has eluded the grassroots because of the influence of external factors. The presence of a community media channel like the community radio would have mobilized grassroots participation in the political process. This paper investigates the role and prospect of community radio from the perspective of political empowerment of the communities. The mass media's linear approach, rare interaction and insignificant feedback were not ideal for grassroots empowerment. There was a need for an alternative participatory media. The community radio is the appropriate answer to the requirement. This paper explores the efficacy of the community radio to fulfill the requirement.


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