In 2001 and 2002, the Media South Asia project held four thematic workshops on issues of broadcasting and the public interest. These workshops were attended by participants from the five main countries of the region and were co-hosted by organisations with specialised knowledge of the themes.


In May 2001, in association with the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and Maharajah TV, a two-day workshop was held in Colombo on ' Innovation in terrestrial broadcasting'. The workshop heard from Sri Lankan broadcasters about the introduction of competition in the terrestrial sector - both TV and radio -as well as visiting a number of Sri Lankan broadcasters. Broadcasters from other South Asian countries described their own media markets and the efforts of national broadcasters to compete with the challenges of commercial and satellite television. A final session examined the potential role of the independent sector in the new situation.


In February 2002, MSA held a workshop in Delhi in association with the Centre for Advocacy and Research. The workshop examined the responsiveness of the media to South Asian civil society, looking particularly at issues of gender and marginalisation. Delegates from different South Asian countries assessed the performance of their own national media and of the satellite channels and outlined their own activities. CFAR shared their ideas on media monitoring and advocacy and the workshop explored future areas of collaboration, with a view to strengthening civil society responses, nationally and regionally, to the new media.


'Community Radio in South Asia: exploring the way forward' was the theme of a workshop held in Kathmandu in late February 2002 in association with AMARC, the Nepal Federation of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ), and Radio Sagarmatha, the country's first independent radio station. The workshop, attended by radio practitioners, NGOs and policy makers reviewedthe lessons
of progress in Nepal, both at Radio Sagarmatha and at smaller stations elsewhere in the country. It also looked at Sri Lanka's experience of community radio in the government sector and reviewed barriers to progress in the larger countries of South Asia. Discussion groups on policy, sustainability and advocacy contributed to a series of recommendations for the future development of community radio in the region. The workshop was followed by a visit to some radio stations outside the Kathmandu valley.


A workshop held in Manikganj, Bangladesh, in March 2002, in association with Proshika, a leading development NGO, and the Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC), focussed on practical issues of broadcasting and communication strategies for development in South Asia. Speakers and participants addressed ways in which broadcasting and communications can contribute to development, the potential of broadcasting in the communication strategies of NGOs, and the use of NGO expertise in national broadcasting. The workshop addressed issue of gender and development from a South Asian perspective, as well as strategies for targeting the media and the contribution of new communications technologies to rural development.

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