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Right to Communication
In this campaign, VOICE is fighting against the global corporatization of media and the concurrent process of capital and power accumulation. The healthy field of dozens of media companies from years ago has now dwindled to a handful of influential media giants interested only in business and profit. In working for the right to communication, VOICE is critically analyzing these issues and giving a voice in the media to those who have none.
VOICE is actively pushing for government approval of community radio legislation, which currently does not exist in Bangladesh. Community radio is radio for the people and by the people, allowing them to talk about the issues that matter to their community, and is especially important where no other forms of media are available. As a voting member of AMARC, we are also trying to represent these issues at the global community level.
VOICE is also involved in the fight for freedom of expression in the press, as well as the campaign on Communication Rights in the Information Society, helping to formulate just policies on communication rights. VOICE translated the Internet Rights Charter into Bengali, in view of popularizing these issues.
Access to information is a right, not a privilege, and VOICE is also active in this struggle to minimize the ‘information gap’ through our affiliation with UNITU, WSIS and internet governance associations. VOICE helps to build the community through disseminating information to the activists, communities and also to the members of the civil and political society with projects such as the Information Resource Center.
Campaign on the Right to Information
The Coalition on the Citizens' Right to Information aims at establishing access to knowledge and information rights of people. It was formed with a number of organizations who are active in the field while VOICE as a founding executive member plays a very key and important role constituting the campaign and actions over the issue.
The coalition has already accomplished various activities including publishing leaflets, organizing mass gatherings and rallies, human chains, meetings etc., to promote the movements on the right to information. News of these activities has been published in the newspapers and also broadcast on television channels.
Campaign on ICTs
One of the core areas is media, communication rights and ICTs. It works to popularize alternative media communication system and thus strives for influencing policy advocacy issues on community media with special emphasis on community radio i.e. rural broadcasting, and analyzing the corporate media and globalization with a view to promote public participation and empowerment in decision making process, planning and management level. It mainly emphasizes establishing community radio to facilitate access to information of the poor and disadvantaged people so that they can use and share community issues by themselves. It facilitates to create an enabling environment to bridge the gap of information and communication technology between the rich and poor, between boys and girls, between urban and rural and between men and women. It strives toward for media democracy and promoting free flow of information especially to the untouched. It also analyses how the ‘globalization process’ affects the life and livelihood of the community people and gives importance to the role of community radio to face those challenges.
VOICE plays a very significant role in transferring knowledge and information to the community as it believes that to get information and communication facilities as right to people. It also works to strengthen the policy environment in favour of media communication and maintains relations to the NGOs working in the relevant field.
Campaign on community radio
VOICE is committed to popularize the community radio as an alternative medium of communication that ensure right to information and freedom of expression. Range of activities include:
• Organizing workshops on the necessity of ICT & Community Radio with Local Press
• Sensitizing print media by publishing booklet, articles and features
• Networking with NGOs and media houses to promote awareness on CR
• Facilitating study circles for sensitizing youth groups (feature writers, journalists, students
groups) on Community Radio
• Formulating the Dhaka Declaration on Community Radio
• Building public discourse over community radio issue
• Advocating for strengthening policy environment for Community Radio
• Drawing attention to the officials of Science & ICT Ministry in WSIS
• Organizing national consultation meeting