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Radiowaves of change - community radio in Covid times

It is a sweltering afternoon and Imran Khan has just started another episode of ‘Corona Se Jang, Radio Mewat Ke Sang’, a live programme, in his thick Mewati accent. “You are listening to Radio Mewat 90.4MGz. With you is your friend Imran Khan. Namaste and aadaab to all of you. Today we have with us psychologist Satish Kaushik. We will talk to him about the mental stress caused by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.”

Imran is a reporter and presenter at Radio Mewat, a community radio station in Mewat, one of over a dozen such stations in and around Delhi that have been airing special Covid-19 community-oriented and community-produced programmes.

In fact, community radios such as Radio Mewat and Alfaz-e-Mewat, which together broadcast to over 300 villages in Mewat, bordering Gurugram, have served as important sources of information and a bridge between the community and the local administration during the coronavirus crisis. This is important in a region where literacy rates are among the worst in the country and owning a television is looked down upon for religious reasons. Last year, Mewat district (now officially called Nuh) was Haryana’s only district to figure in the Niti Aayog’s list of the 111 most backward districts of the country.

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