Sixteen Community Radios stations in Bangladesh have been broadcasting Coronavirus prevention education in line with the National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID – 19, published by Directorate General of Health Services, Health Service Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Community Radio stations are also taking special care during designing, developing and broadcasting prevention education program on COVID -19 by considering the policy brief of ARTICLE 19 title is Viral Lies: Misinformation and the Coronavirus. https://www.article19.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus-final.pdf
Media outlets and journalists should proactively report on disinformation, propaganda and discrimination by state or non-state actors in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. Accurate reporting by reputable journalistic sources is one of the most powerful tools to
Media outlets and journalists should support effective systems of self-regulation, including both national press complaints bodies and ombudsmen or public editors at individual news outlets. Such bodies or officials should help to ensure the right of correction or reply to address inaccurate or discriminatory reporting in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Media outlets and journalists should adhere to the highest ethical standards, including equality principles, when reporting on COVID-19. They should report about COVID-19 accurately and without bias, avoiding stereotyping, and without unnecessarily referring to race or nationality or ethnic origin.
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has been monitoring and observation the situation 24×7 hours centrally and providing support and advice to the community radios as and when required. One broadcaster in each radio stations is working as the focal person to coordinate COVID -19 prevention programs. Sixteen community radio stations focal are working closely with the local district, upazila and union Coronavirus Prevention Committees and government offices for reinforcing information to develop the radio programs.
Presently, Bangladeshi Community Radio stations are broadcasting 25 hours awareness raising program per day on prevention of pandemic Coronavirus education for the rural people for animating CSOs, Government, health service providers and communities for reinforcing collective action, keeping community people’s daily life normal and livelihood function & mobilize further cooperation among government, CSOs, local market and communities’ response
The formats of the COVID – 19 programs are- news, Public Service Announcement (PSA), radio spots, radio talks, magazine, drama, jingles, interviews of local administrations and health officials and expert opinions etc. And the contents are- What is Corona, how to contaminate, symptoms of the patients, advice for the patients, precautionary steps for preventing contamination, what is quarantine, home quarantine, service providers, and service providing agencies and service delivery points, the role of community people and hotline service information of government. Simultaneously, community radios are broadcasting PSA on government orders.
The contents are developing by following the guideline of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research (IEDCR) Government of Bangladesh, UNICEF and WHO COVID-19: Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Some radios have distributed leaflets in the educational institutions and public places.
Key observations are in the community radio broadcasting areas; the panic among the community people has been reducing gradually and people are taking precautionary measures to prevent contamination of Coronavirus. The audiences are making phone calls and sending SMS during the live broadcasting to share their queries. Besides, the COVID – 19 focal are communicating with the local Corona Prevention Committees for reinforcing information and instructions. Thus a good coordination has been established between government and private organizations, and community radio stations. This awareness campaign will be continued unto the normal situation is bring back.
Community Radios Broadcasting 25 Hours Program on COVID-19 Prevention Education Community Radio stations are Community Radio Padma 99.2 FM Rajshahi, Community Radio Nalta 99.2 FM Kaligonj, Satkhira, Community radio LokoBetar 99.2 FM Barguna Sadar, Community Radio Pollikontho 99.2 FM Moulvibazar Sadar, Community Radio SagorGiri, 99.2 FM Sitakunda, Chottogram, Community Radio Mahananda 98.8 FM Chapainawabganj Sadar, Community Radio Mukti 99.2 FM Bogra Sadar, Community Radio Chilmari 99.2 FM, Chilmary, Kurigram, Community Radio Jhenuk 99.2 FM Jhenaidah Sadar, Community Rural Krishi Radio 99.8 FM Amtoly, Barguna, Community Radio Naf 99.2 FM Tekhnaf, Cox’s Bazer, Community Radio Bikrampur 99.2 FM Munshigonj, Community Radio Meghna 99.0 FM, Charfashion, Bhola, Community Radio SagorDwip 99.2 FM Hatiya Island, Noakhali, Community Radio Sarabela 98.8 FM Gaibandha and Community Radio Boral 99.0FM,