AMARC Argentina members meeting in Bahía Blanca

AMARC Argentina members gathered in the middle of June to share knowledge, practices and realities, and participate in intense debates in around the right to communication and current Argentina.

The meeting ended on Monday, June 17, 2019  in Bahía Blanca, where FM De la Calle is located, a station that is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary and that received its first broadcasting license this year. During three days, having started on Saturday, radios from Cordoba, Mendoza, Buenos Aires, Chubut, Rio Negro, Santa Fe, La Pampa, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and Jujuy, discussed how the acute economic situation to which the policies driven by the government of Macri are reflected in the daily realities of their work: the radios are affected by the same realities of the communities they have emanated: increasing taxation, loss of purchasing power, inflationary levels, housing deficit, general crisis of public education, health and culture systems.

“For this reason and considering the rich diversity expressed by the radios that make up AMARC (Argentina) we ratify our strong commitment to redouble all efforts, within the framework of this economic situation, to guarantee the right to communicate. We are community radio stations that we fight for daily. We do in different airs but with the same breath,” said the AMARC Argentina Press Release.

The AMARC Assembly comes after the national protest staged by community radios throughout the country to highlight the government inaction in the implementation of the agreements with the Community Radios in the country on 2 May 2019. There were protests outside the government delegations in Córdoba, Mendoza y Ciudad de Buenos Aires.

“Ten years after the approval of the Audiovisual Communication Services Law, the Argentine state still does not comply with its own constitutional norms and mandates. Without community media there is no democracy and even the government did not articulate the necessary resources to grant the corresponding licenses to Community media, that is, to the communities of the Argentine territory. Likewise, Community Radios ratified the claim of the due public financing through competitive funds, which are established rights, in order that this right to communication has material possibilities of concrete development.

“On the other hand, for civil society in every corner of Argentina, it is important the functioning of the organizations that were born in order to ensure the common rights of the public, the audiences and the makers of community communication. In this regard, we express our deep concern over the progressive de-funding of the Public Defender’s Office. We demand from the government its immediate budgetary normalization so that it has the necessary resources to fulfill the tasks for which it was created.”

The AMARC assembly also decided to ratify its position regarding the need to deepen our airs and our practices through a gender perspective approach and also consolidated debates about their structural organisation.  “We celebrate the steps taken towards greater regional work, in a country that declares itself plurinational, heterogeneous, multicultural and diverse, but which still finds it difficult to assign the same importance to any place in its territory.”

“This is, moreover, an open invitation to every communal and popular communication project of any place: in AMARC there is room for every expression born of this need to struggle for the right to communicate and each expression in turn is a constituent part of a collective that is the whole in each of its parts.

“In a hostile context from the macro-political point of view that consider that communication is not a right but a business and propose that it should be in the hands of concentrated groups of the economy, we also call for unity of action and all the networks in our sector. We see with deep concern that, on election eve, the debate on the application of the Audiovisual Communication Services Law and, before, the very concept that society has the right to communication and information is not on the agenda of the public statements so far. We believe that it is enough reason why what unites us to all networks, our vision of communication as a fundamental human right, leads us to unite and act together.”