Nigeria Community Radio Coalition

Nigeria Community Radio Coalition

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT

  1. Nigeria has huge development challenges – in health, education, agriculture & food security, etc. Performance indicators are low and frightening.
  2. Mainstream media did not provide access and voice for grassroots populations, who constitute the overwhelming majority.
  3. The Nigerian environment – particularly because of long years of military rule – was adverse to freedom of expression and media, and particularly media forms that service grassroots communities.
  4. Then, certain changes occurred in the international and national environments, which include:
  5. The making of some international legal instruments such as the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa (year …), the African Charter on Broadcasting (year 2001).
  6. The return to civil and constitutional government in Nigeria (year 1999)
  7. The opening up of the political space helped to activate civil society initiatives on various human rights and freedom issues. The demand for the development of community radio was one of these.

CR DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

  1. After several years of consultation, two international civil society organizations – Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA), World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) with the Institute for Media and Society (IMS) as local partner launched an advocacy Initiative, “Building Community Radio in Nigeria” in year 2003.
  2. A steering committee instituted by the 3 organizations articulated an Action Plan and implementation followed
  3. Awareness seminars were conducted in various regions of the country: Ibadan (South West), Bauchi (North East), Enugu (South East) and Kaduna (South West).
  4. The seminars brought together representatives of grassroots communities, civil society groups, academia, media, policy/legislative/regulatory bodies, international development agencies, among others.
  5. The seminars generated ideas for engaging the CR development in the country and placed policy/legislative/regulatory reform issues on the table of government agencies and other stakeholders.
  6. A national conference (thanks to the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA) was held in April 2005, bringing together the participating groups in the regional seminars and newly identified groups.
  7. The conference validated the statements of the regional seminars, produced a new Action Plan and formed an umbrella body, the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition.
  8. More international development & civil society groups brought in commitment to the CR process. Examples were the World Bank and the Association for Progressive Communication. High level representatives of the WB and APC visited Nigeria to interact with CR advocates and policy makers.
  9. Engaging the media as an important constituency:
  10. An editors’ roundtable was organized in late 2005
  11. Six journalists from print and broadcast media were sponsored on study visits to five West African countries which had developed CR systems. They returned to Nigeria and educated the populace through their publications.
  12. A series of publications were released to strengthen the advocacy.
  13. A second visit by the World Bank in early 2006: to interact with specific rural communities wishing to establish CR stations in different regions of the country.
  14. Mid – 2006: an AMARC regional conference twinned with a Nigeria CR Policy Dialogue supported by the World Bank and the National Fadama Development Project, took place in Abuja.
  15. Dialogue issued important statements directed at Nigerian government and other stakeholders
  16. Key government representatives (the Minister of Information and the Chair, Senate Committee on Information) made statements of commitment to the CR development process.
  17. Dec 2006: workshop on Techniques of Monitoring Pluralism – objective was to build capacity of people who would monitor the pluralism in radio broadcasting on an on-going basis.
  18. Early 2007: Research Conducted & Report released titled “Engaging Development: Environment & Content of Radio Broadcasting in Nigeria”.
  19. Early 2007: Evaluation conducted on the entire CR advocacy since 2003.
  20. Mid – 2007: Training for personnel of campus stations i.e. radio stations in academic communities – at Unilag FM, the first campus radio.
  21. Mid 2007: A model curriculum for CR training designed and published in book form.
  22. Nov 2007: workshop for licenced and awaiting-licence campus radio stations in Lokoja, titled, “Community Development Principles & Strategies”
  23. Dec 2007: workshop for campus radio stations in Akure, titled, “Strategic Planning”.
  24. Feb 2008: workshop for campus radio station in Ilorin titled “Audience Research”.
  25. Feb 2008: Evaluation and Planning Seminar in Abuja – a national programme, it considered the report of the Evaluation exercise done in 2007, and produced a new Action Plan for the advocacy.
  26. April 2008: Workshop for campus radio stations in Asaba, Niger Delta region, titled” Financial Management, Proposal Writing & Project Reporting”
  27. April 2008: Nigeria CR representatives on 10-day Study Tour to Ghana – to see the reality of CR and learn its management and operations.

ACHIEVEMENTS

The Nigerian enabling environment has moved positively in favour of community radio in the past four and a half years. Among the immediately visible indices are:

  1. A major expansion in the participation base of stakeholders. From a steering committee of eleven members in 2003, there are today at least 200 organizations and individuals in the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition. They range from grassroot groups to NGOs, other civic groups, media, academia, government agencies, and international development groups, among others. All are networked through physical and virtual (electronic) platforms and engaging in continuing dialogue on Community Radio development in Nigeria. Today, the coalition has its members and ambassadors in numerous sectors and geographical locations countrywide.
  2. A strong awareness of the benefits of community radio in numerous communities, leading to an upsurge in the resolve to own/establish Community Radio and demands for licences.
  3. Appreciation of the advocacy and awareness raising and positive engagement by international development agencies.
  4. The review by the regulatory agency, NBC, of its regulatory instrument, the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, providing wider accommodation for the licensing of Community Radio.
  5. The institution of three policy processes by the government : 1) the review of the National Mass Communication Policy; 2) the making of a Community Radio policy framework; 3)the making of a Frequency Spectrum Management Policy
  6. support by members of the legislature at national and state levels for law reform in favour of Community Radio
  7. The continuing projection of Community Radio as a top priority for media development in Nigeria, for example, the attention given to this at the African Broadcasting Summit (AFRICAST), hosted in Nigeria every other year.
  8. The approval of licences for eight academic communities.

CHALLENGES

  1. Different levels of understanding and commitment to CR issues in govt agencies, e.g. there is more understanding and commitment at the level of the regulation than at policy level.
  2. Rate of turnover in govt: frequent replacement of government officials in policy making positions e.g. there have been 5 Information Ministers in since return to civil rule in 1999, and 3 since the launch of the CR advocacy in November 2003.
  3. Slowness of government machinery: e.g. final documents from the three policy processes which were made in 2004 and 2006 have still not been released to the public by govt.
  4. Inconsistency in govt machinery: e.g. govt said in mid-2006 that it wanted a policy in place before licencing CR stations. But while it has not released the CR policy, it approved licences for 8 stations in educational institutions (campus radio is classified under CR in the broadcasting regulatory code).
  5. Lack of understanding of the CR by some members of the public, especially commercial interests, who have applied to NBC for CR licence.
  6. Lack of funding to drive the advocacy optimally.
map/africa/nigeria/ncrc.txt · Last modified: 2011/07/09 20:38 (external edit)