Broadcasters/India Country Report

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Country Specific in depth Reports


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Indian broadcasters, both government and commercial, do not seem to be asking help from overseas media organisations at the moment.

Indian Government Statement

Early warning system no substitute to alert and energetic media, says PM

Kolkata 11 January: There is no substitute to an alert and energetic media in warning early about natural disasters even in the presence of scientific warning systems, according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Whatever warning system there be, there is no substitute to an alert and energetic media, the Prime Minister said, while inaugurating the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Press Club, Kolkata, this evening.

He said it was thanks to the media that donations received by the Centre in a fortnight for the tsunami-affected, was more than what was received in a month for the affected people of the Gujarat earthquake. There is no credit for the government in this.

The Prime Minister also lauded the media for keeping up pressure on the local and central governments to act in the service of society".

"Free and energetic" media in India served not only as an early warning system for disasters but also in times of a social crisis, he said adding "it helps the government remain alert to the needs of ordinary people". Pointing out that 'better years' were ahead for the country, the Prime Minister said the media had a crucial role in guiding the process through suggestions and criticisms We look forward to a better interaction between the government and the media.

Jose Jacob from Indian National Institute of Amateur Radio

writes January 15th 2005

News from the Echolink Tsunami Relief Net indicates that a limited amount of health and welfare traffic is now flowing via amateur routes, although there is still a lack of information from some locations. News of the amateur operation in the Andaman Islands demonstrates the value of amateur radio operators providing emergency communications.

Electricity and landlines are yet to be restored in Little Andaman, where there is heavy damage. Amateur radio volunteers have been providing a helping hand to the Andaman and Nicobar administration and assisting governmental and non-governmental agencies by coordinating the rescue and relief operations locally, and passing third-party welfare messages. From the original small DXpedition team of five Indian amateurs on the Andaman Islands at the time of the earthquake, there are now between 25 and 30 amateurs there. They have been operating from various parts of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, including a relief camp housing 2500 tsunami victims.

Amateurs involved on the islands include VU2JOS, VU2LIC and a team of eight volunteers from Gujarat headed by VU2CPV, who is also a police official. Many of the amateurs are using VHF hand portables for local coordination. Whenever they have messages for the mainland, these are relayed through their HF base stations located in different parts of the Andamans, generally on the shortwave frequency of 7095kHz. There is also emergency traffic on 14190 and 21245kHz. Please keep these - and any other frequencies heard to be carrying emergency or health and welfare traffic - clear. Thanks to RSGB Radio Communications Voluntary Services coordinator Paul Gaskell, G4MWO, for this report, which was compiled with information supplied by VU2MUE and G4HPE.

According to The Daily DX, compiled by Bernie McClenny, W3UR, all Indian amateurs were authorised to operate from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from 29 December in order to "assist the Civil Authorities in handling the messages pertaining to the disaster". Prior to December, there had been a 17-year ban on amateur radio operations from the Andamans and Nicobars.

A detailed report on the involvement of radio amateurs in the tsunami disaster relief operation can be found on the Radio Society of Great Britain website at [1] (

Jose writes on Jan 10th 2005:

From mid December 2004, I was in the Andamans and returned only yesterday to Hyderabad. Although I went there initially for logistic support for an amateur radio event conducted by our National Institute of Amateur Radio, I ended up by providing emergency communications for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. I could not get in touch via email from there, as it was not easily available.

All our 6 members who were in the capital Port Blair escaped unhurt. Soon after the catastrophe, I had the opportunity to operate Ham Radio from Port Blair and a couple of days later from Rama Krishna Pur and Hut Bay in Little Andamans Island, which were badly affected. I was mainly handling health and welfare messages, as there were no telephones. We used generators and batteries which were charged by solar power.

Several days before the earth quake / tsunami we had given a lecture and demo of Ham Radio for the officials of All India Radio and Doordarshan. AIR Port Blair suspended most of it programs and were giving live phone in programs where listeners could send messages to their relatives / friends. This was broadcast on MW, SW and on the newly installed 10 kW FM transmitter on 100.9 MHz.

Some photos of my visit to AIR Port Blair can be seen at

All India Radio

Has a special website at The AIR web site also gives lot of info in the following site:

The site has mainly for health and welfare information. Shortly after the disaster, AIR Chennai put out a worldwide call for shortwave receivers. However, Y.K. Sharma Spectrum Manager at All India Radio updated the situation on January 12 2005.

Concerning short-wave receivers for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Initially when these islands were hit by Tsunami disaster, AIR, Chennai had made some announcements regarding requirement of short-wave receivers for communication there. However, subsequently, we have internally arranged for procurement and supply of adequate number of battery free radio receivers. These have been dispatched for distribution in A&N islands Therefore, there is no need for any outside assistance in this regard at the moment.

However, we would like to thank the ABU and other member organizations for showing their sincere concern for the affected people of our country at this hour of crisis.

Community Radio


NEW DELHI: At a time when television networks were still disrupted in the aftermath of the tsunami, the All India Radio played a vital role as communication lifeline for the traumatised people of the Andamans.

The AIR read out 13,000 messages of missing people on the far-off islands helping their relations to get in touch. The role radio played seems to have made the government take a fresh look at the importance of community radio in coastal areas.

Soon after the AIR part in battling disruptions came in for appreciation, the authorities took the first tentative step towards setting up a community radio station in the Andamans. \ I & B secretary Navin Chawla got in touch with Dr Sridhar of Anna University in Chennai, who had set up the country's first community radio service on the campus, and requested him to visit the Andamans to assess the possibility of such a radio service there. \ "Community radio can be an important component in disaster management," Chawla said.

Child Relief & You (CRY) Telethon for Tsunami

CRY (, Child Relief and You, is an Indian NGO that works for the benefit of underprivileged Indian children. It does this by acting as the link between donors like you, and 171 grassroots-level initiatives that are working for the welfare of various groups of marginalized children.

A CRY Telethon, a 7-hour live entertainment extravaganza filled with music, fun and favourite Indian stars is be broadcast on Jan 26, 2005, on Sony TV in India. The theme of the show is "The child in all of us". Each celebrity will be invited to perform an act related to the magical experience that we call "childhood" ... an experience that, unfortunately, far too many Indian children have never known.

Starting 1 p.m. IST, the CRY Telethon will be the first of its kind in India. All donors will be acknowledged during the programme. Contributions will be enabled through SMS, credit card or the Internet. We hope to raise Rs. 2.5 crores (25 million), and a part of the proceeds will go towards our tsunami relief efforts in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

FEBA India

FEBA India is making special programmes in the Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam languages. Meanwhile Indian colleagues are in discussion with the national radio station about putting on some special programmes to the tsunami affected areas. They are also planning to make cassettes in partnership with Gospel Recordings, and hoping to distribute cassette machines as well as tapes.