The South Asia Network for Community Media (SANCOM) was formed on Saturday, July 12, 2014 following a round table on ‘Towards a South Asia Network for Community Media’. The event was organised by the UNESCO Chair on Community Media with support from UNESCO at the University of Hyderabad, India.
The one day consultation was attended by 25 representatives from Community Radio Forum (India), Community Radio Association (India), the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (Nepal), the Bangladesh Network of NGOs for Radio and Communication (Bangladesh), the Sri Lanka Development Journalists’ Forum (Sri Lanka) and a few community radio stations from India.
The idea for the need of a South Asia Network was first discussed at the Voices for Change and Peace: Taking Stock of Community Radio in South Asia seminar which was held in January, 2014. This seminar tried to comprehend the situation of community radio in South Asia. It also looked at the possible challenges to the sustenance of community broadcasting in the region such as restrictive policy framework, inadequate allocation of spectrum for communities and the lack of a sustainable support system.
The outcome of this seminar was that there needed to be a South Asia wide network on community media that would function, initially, as a virtual space, while fulfilling its objectives. SANCOM would respond to challenges and issues as and when they emerge with smaller interest groups tending to them from time to time.
This initial round table discussion subsequently resulted in a document with the operational definition of community media, the vision and mission of SANCOM, basic objectives, proposed areas of focus and a strategy for achieving the objectives.
On February 13, 2015, the South Asia Network for Community Media (SANCOM) was formally launched at the World Radio Day event in New Delhi, India which was organized jointly by UNESCO and the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre in Asia (CEMCA). Following this, on February 19, 2015, an official SANCOM Facebook Page was also launched in order to share information about the network and country specific information in the social networking arena.