Media Centre for Asia
Community Television in
Asia: Potentiality and Need
Dr Ankuran Dutta
CEMCA, New Delhi
Understanding basics of Community
• Community Ownership
• Not for profit
• Community Participation
Defining Community Television (CTV)
Community Television is a service of video
transmission through terrestrial, satellite
or on the web run by a particular
community with a non profit motive for
providing and sharing information,
education and entertainment aiming at
overall development of a community.
Why Community Television (CTV)?
Community TV can provide a public platform to
the marginalized sections of the society which
is otherwise neglected by the mainstream
The local people want their culture, tradition,
social, political or economic problems to be
reflected in front of their own and other people
or local governance that can provide them
Growth and Development of CTV
It was first originated in Canada and US
and soon covered countries like United
Kingdom, Australia, Venezuela etc.
In a survey, Cathrine Edwards,
Spokesperson of Canadian Association of
Community Television Users and Stations
says that 28 countries have CTV policies
and practices around the globe.
Experiment of CTV in Asia
Community television had also started in
India. The technological and social
innovation was piloted in three villages in
West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh and
the local programmes reached about 69
villages across the district through the cable
network. Ankuram community TV was an
initiative of Byrraju Foundation. But the
project has been stopped.
In Nepal, Ratna TV may be considered as
a community television initiative in the
Tansen of lower Himalaya. It was started
in the late 90’s. There are nine CTV
experiments are now operational.
BNNRC started dialoging for Community
Television in Bangladesh
Television penetration and Need for
Community TV has a great potentiality in
the South Asian region.
If we can take an example of television
penetration in India,
• Licenses to about 850 TV channels.
• More than 70,000 cable operators (not
MSOs) are providing cable service in India
• A large number of them also run local cable
tv from their own.
The number of TV households in India is
expected to increase from 154 million to 191
million aided by strong growth in sale of
television sets. The number of C&S
households in India increased by 11 million in
2012 to reach 130 million. Approximately 14
million television sets were sold in India only
Issues for consideration
• Policy imperative for setting up of CTV;
• Availability of low cost technologies for
fostering development and use of CTV;
• Experiences in other countries, where it
has been put to service; and
• Awareness creation for CTV
Technology of telecasting
• Quality of the picture
• Availability of the technology
• Financial involvement
• Consumer habit etc.
Issues for technology of CTV
• Cost effective
• Unpretentious technology
• Easy maintenance and technical
• Power consumption
• Basic civil infrastructure
• Selection of suitable locations considering
Justifications for CTV
• Lessons learnt from the CTV practices in
both, developed countries and under
developed countries of Africa.
• If the policy allows thousands of cable
operators to run local channels, then
there is no point to not allowing
broadcast community programmes for
• Television is the most effective medium for
societal development and as an instrument to
improve the livelihoods with positive behavior.
• If, we are thinking for the remote areas, who
cannot access mainstream media, then we can
justify that about 80 million rural households
(India) have television sets at home.
• Television programme production and
transmission are not much expensive for
educational institutions and financially stable
• As the community radio cannot provide
service to the deaf and dumb population of
the country and they should not be deprived
from development broadcasting.
• It may help to create an environment for skill
based community members either in
programming or in technical field.
• It will create a platform for the community
members to share their ideas, to expose
talent, to preserve local culture and music,
‘face’ to the ‘faceless’ people.
• For the small ethnic and social groups, it will
help to promote their identity, which is
indeed a great problem for establishing their
identity infront of the dominant social groups
of different region. The issue of identity crisis
may be addressed with this initiative, which
will help to resolving conflicts in the
Strategies for an environment
• Review and baseline study of policy
environment for CTV, available technology
• Forum for discussion on CTV to promote
awareness on policy and technologies;
• Engage with communities to prepare them
to use CTV.
• A Community television can succeed if
community people participate enthusiastically
as change agents.
• The community members have to engage
themselves as volunteers and work together for
production of programmes.
• For sustainability, local advertisements have to
• The local people have to participate in every
step of television programming like writing
scripts, pre-production, execution,
volunteering, post production etc.