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Interview-A democratic channel of expression : AHM Bazlur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer, Bangladesh

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What is the historical background of BNNRC?
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) is a national networking body working for building a democratic society based on the principles of free flow of information, equitable and affordable access to Information, Communication Technology (ICT) for remote and marginalised population.

BNNRC is a changed name of Bangladesh Coastal NGO Network for Radio and Communication (BCNNRC). This change in name has been formalised on 5 April, 2003 considering the fact of all members urged to have national converge. It is a network of nine coastal non-government organisations (NGOs) with lead initiatives from COAST (Coastal Association for Social Transformation) Trust formerly ACTIONAID-Bangladesh Bhola project.

BNNRC is registered with the Ministry of Law, Parliamentary and Justice Affairs, as a trust and NGO Affairs Bureau, Office of the Prime Minister, Government of Bangladesh.

What are the objectives of the  BNNRC initiatives?
To create mass awareness on ICT use and its correlation to poverty alleviation and   institutionalisation of democracy, to create a ICT resource base and young student catalyst, especially in coastal area who will consider ICT as a basic human right to promote critical civil society in providing alternative policy options in view of ICT not as mere privilege to provide support, training and technical assistance for piloting or action research on promotion of amateur radio, community radio, citizen band radio, low cost appropriate technology in power generation, radio communication among the  fishermen and launch in riverine communication, and Internet and computer practice among the disadvantage community and in outreach areas and to establish and maintenance of disaster radio network for coastal area and a rapid disaster communication deployment force.

BNNRC now strives for following core interventions to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) WSIS Action plan and PRSP through its project on Promoting Appropriate Technologies and Policies to Uphold the Value of ICT as basic Human Right: awareness on correlations of ICT, poverty alleviation and  institutionalisation of  democracy and Right to Information(RTI), establishment of ICT resource centre and promotion of radio listeners club as primary ICT catalyst in remote rural areas, advocacy and campaign for bridge the digital divide/information  divide/knowledge divide through community radio, piloting of ICT4D projects at rural areas to show case examples for greater multiplication through rural knowledge centre, establishment of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) for disaster risk reduction.

How much area has been covered so far by Radio Network in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, the public service radio operator (Bangladesh Betar) is the sole organisation, actively present in air spectrum. Programmes broadcasted by this national broadcaster can be received virtually from every part of the country.  Currently, under BNNRC

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