Tuning in to community radio (2005)

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In this issue of id21 insights, articles focus on the role of community radio:
  • Voices for change - Tuning in to community radio: The impact of new information and communication technologies on development is a subject of extensive international debate, particularly at the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society. While much of the debate focuses on the Internet, many planners and practitioners have begun to realise that it is to traditional media, such as radio, that poor people are most likely to turn for access to information and voice.
  • Step by step: towards legislation and practice in India: More than a decade after the Indian Supreme Court judged that 'airwaves are public property', national laws still prohibit genuine community radio broadcasting. Residential universities and educational institutions, however, can apply for broadcasting licenses. Although the government refers to these as community radio stations and they transmit beyond their campuses, they are in fact campus radio. While this indicates change at policy levels, the crucial question for India now is: how soon will community radio follow?
  • Legalising community radio in Mexico: The struggle for community radio's legal recognition in Mexico began in 2002, when several unlicensed community radio stations came under threat. The book Con Permiso describes and analyses the process through which community radio in Mexico obtained legal recognition, despite opposition from the owners of the most powerful commercial media in the country, Televisa and TV Azteca.
  • Colombian radio thrives in armed conflict: Tiny radio stations and other media initiatives managed by citizens’ groups are operating successfully in regions where leftist guerrilla organisations, right-wing paramilitary groups, drug traffickers and the Colombian army have a strong presence. The University of Oklahoma in the USA, Magdalena Medio Community Radio Stations Association (AREDMAG), Universidad Javeriana and Universidad del Norte in Colombia have examined citizens’ media in areas of armed conflict. Initiatives are achieving significant results and transforming communities living in difficult circumstances.
  • Sustainability is not just about money: Sustainability is too often associated solely with funding. Community media projects are considered 'sustainable' - and therefore 'successful' - when they manage to finance their operations. Little attention has been given to other crucial aspects of sustainability: institutional and social. Money is important, but the main pillar that sustains community media is its community's participation.
  • Community Multimedia Centres provide development services: Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) combine community radio and telecentre services to form a comprehensive information and communication platform serving local development needs. Launched in 2001 by UNESCO, today there are over 50 centres in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and scale-up projects are underway in Mali, Mozambique and Senegal.
  • New voices in Indonesia - Challenges and opportunities: The Indonesian government acknowledged the existence of community radio stations with the ratification of the Broadcasting Law in 2002. There are still constraints to their smooth functioning, however, in particular unclear regulation and low-skilled community radio activists. They also remain in an inferior position to commercial broadcasters, for whom community radio stations are potential competitors. Yet, community radio in Indonesia has helped improve democratic processes and promote local culture.
  • Radio assesses community change in Mozambique: An expanding network of community radios is strengthening civil society and supporting community development and social change in Mozambique. The increase from one community radio station in 1994 to nearly fifty in 2005 means that more than a third of the population now lives within reach of a station. Regular, sustainable, impact assessments are essential if these stations are to be effective.
  • Lessons for localising development: Do community radio stations cover development issues? Is there a real link between the participation and social mobilisation effects associated with community radio and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?
Language: English
Imprint: id21 insights, November 2005 Issue #58: http://www.id21.org/insights/insights58/index.html 2005
Series: Newsletter,
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