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I&B Ministry, Akashvani, UNESCO hold two-day workshop for CRS

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Shillong, Feb 20: UNESCO is making efforts to strengthen audio archiving and promotion of Community Radio Stations (CRS).
UNESCO is also at the forefront of promoting indigenous languages worldwide and has recognised the critical role of Radio Stations in promoting linguistic and cultural diversity.
While speaking at the two-day capacity building workshop for Akashwani and Community Radio Stations (CRS) held here on Tuesday, UNESCO advisor for communication and information for South Asia, Hezekiel Dlamini said the CRS can be a strategic partner in preserving and promoting indigenous languages.
“With the community radios we can have a network enabling us to exchange important contents when the sentence is charged or is deemed to be of historical value, so that they can support the archiving aspect of it. But community radios will take a long time to have the resources to develop and maintain an archive,” he said.
He suggested that institutes like Center for Indian languages and Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts which runs a big archive can help lessen the burden.
According to him, the burden can be less if archives regional/national can take some of this content from the radios without losing the IPR and without losing the intellectual property rights.
“It will also help in future codification of the language to become accessible digitally because these institutions have the resources to codify the content and make it accessible digitally and that is one of the small initiatives that we can take away from here,” he said
Meanwhile, Dlamini said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows simultaneous interpretation and translation and already this is feasible.
Pointing out that many of the languages can be harnessed with AI, but it does not include the most threatened languages of the world, because those languages simply are absent from the internet.
According to him, the threatened languages cannot be searched in Google since these languages are not codified. Dlamini said that there is no code that makes them searchable and accessible on the internet.
“It means these threatened languages cannot benefit from the power of digital technologies that already exist today. And that’s where we really need to pay the most attention – the languages that are not yet present in the digital world,” UNESCO advisor said.
Meanwhile, Akashwani zonal office, Guwahati senior official Asim Kazi said that for the last 75 years, Akashwani in Northeast has been preserving, promoting, safeguarding and revitalising the indigenous languages and cultures besides promoting local dialects and literature.
According to him, Akashvani stations in the northeast have been broadcasting in 89 dialects.
He further informed that there are five CRS in the region including two in Meghalaya, two in Nagaland and one in Mizoram.
Kazi said that Akashvani believes that no broadcast gets success without the involvement of the local people. He suggested that there is a need for a CRS mission to be aggressively started in the Northeast.
“We can start CRS missions in all the states in the Northeast. I am sure we can be the best in the world,” Kazi added.
Earlier, Additional Director, CRS, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Gaurishankar Kesarwani delivered the introductory remark during the inaugural session.
It may be mentioned that the workshop is being organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in collaboration with Akashvani and UNESCO.
The workshop is being attended by 15 Community Radio Stations of North Eastern States and 16 Akashwani Radio Stations.
The aim of the capacity building workshop is to promote indigenous languages through Radio Stations, through arrangement of training for creation of indigenous language programmes.

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