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Community Media: A good practice handbook

Community Media: A good practice handbook

Community Media: A good practice handbook

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Book Details:

Pages:77 pages
Size:6.26 MB


Despite the growing recognition of community broadcasting worldwide there remains a need to promote and defend the right of communities to own and to operate their own community media. The policy, legal and regulatory framework, remains the single most persistent obstacle to establishment. There is worldwide experience today of legislating and regulating community media from which can be seen what conditions are needed. But there is still much to be done in many countries to establish policies, laws and regulations that enable and encourage community media to start-up and to flourish. The enabling environment for community media must also be considered in a wider political context. Community media face particular challenges to establish in conditions where democracy and rule of law is weak or where human rights, including freedom of expression, are not respected. Conditions that favour community media are most likely to be achieved in a context of deepening democracy and the adoption of a public interest approach to the development of free, independent and pluralistic media (Buckley et al. 2008). AMARC has elaborated fourteen principles of good practice for democratic legislation on community broadcasting (AMARC-ALC 2008) which provide further guidance for legislators and activists as a model for development.

Policies, laws and regulations that enable community media development generally include three core characteristics: recognition, access and support. The first consists of clear and explicit recognition of community media as a distinct sector. The character of community media may be summarized as follows: it should not be run for profit but for social gain and community benefit; it should be owned by and accountable to the community that it seeks to serve; and it should provide for participation by the community in content creation and management. The second is a legal and regulatory system that provides straightforward and transparent processes for access to the radio spectrum and distribution platforms necessary for community media to operate. The allocation of spectrum and other resources should be responsive to demand from community-based organisations that meet the essential characteristics; there should be no unnecessary obstacles that would exclude or deter communities from providing community media services; and the process should be managed by a body that is independent of political interference. The third is a policy and legal framework that has regard to sustainability and resourcing of community media.



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