AMARC Europe Newsletter

March 2020
Dear AMARC members,
A newsletter from AMARC Europe at this time, in which Covid19 is the all-important topic and the measures against the disease have changed our lives a lot, can of course not be an attempt to keep the agenda.

And yet the kind of state of emergency must not lead us to wait paralyzed until everything seems to be all right again. The community radios are currently struggling with an additional burden for their existence and find their function and task under the challenges again different and maybe new. And we ask ourselves how AMARC Europe can act, have to position itself differently, can provide support and still be able to complete the tasks at hand and achieve the goals set.

Above all else, this is of course about the organization of the general assembly and conference in autumn 2020, which also includes mobilizing our members and also attracting new members who can be accepted at the assembly. And even if we still cannot know how long we will all be concerned with the Corona crisis and how long it will hinder our actions, we will do everything we can to get the General Assembly of AMARC Europe up with as many participants as possible put. This also includes launching a membership campaign this month.

That and reports from our Grassroots Radio project, the diverse responds of the European Community Radio sector to Covid19, our new UNESCO project on digital communications rights and first information on our membership campaign is what the newsletter is about!
Lots of strength and stay healthy
Michael Nicolai
AMARC Europe President
AMARC Europe Activities
Grassroots Radio

Responds on Covid19

As the Coronavirus is spreading across Europe, Grassroots Radio project partners (including AMARC Europe) are devoting their energies to arrange information initiatives to keep local populations informed about data and events connected to the health emergency. Additionally, there are members of the consortium who are also active to monitor governmental decisions regarding the organization of information about the virus.

This is the case of Active Watch, the Romanian human rights organization and member of the GR project that promotes free communication for the public interest. Liana Ganea, member of Active Watch and Reporters Without Borders as well as an active component of the GR project, answered to the microphones of Radio FRO, a free radio broadcasting in Upper Austria.

A significant part of the interview is dedicated to the measures that Romania is implementing in order to contrast fake news. Liana told Radio FRO that the Romanian government decided that local authorities cannot communicate data to journalists anymore. All data about the cases have to be communicate to a central body that is governing the crisis. This is an example of lack of transparency that the government has started to implement.

NGOs are rather buys to react against these policies. The declaration of state of emergency has introduced measures that are affecting freedom of expression, making the work of journalists and NGOs more opaque and difficult. One of the consequences of these decisions is that the government can ask the telecom regulator to delete any website that they think create fake news. According to Liana, this process is rather unclear both because there are not intermediate steps until the shutdown and because the criteria to determine the quality of a content have not been clarified.  According to Liana, state authorities admitted that they lost track of the virus.

The interview has been conducted in English and included between minutes 11.45 and 23:00.

Read more on AMARCEurope.eu
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UNESCO Project:
Digital Communication Rights for Community Media

AMARC Europe is proud to announce the beginning of a new project supported by UNESCO, “ Fostering digital communication rights for community media”.

In continuation with its strategic global perspective, AMARC wishes to fullfil its role promoting participatory democracy and active citizenship through the defence and advancement of community media.

In order to turn this aspiration into action, AMARC is strengthening its involvement in the promotion of the right to communicate in the digital sphere and in particular in relation to digital terrestrial broadcasting, transition and use of digital distribution methods, in line with UNESCO Community Media Sustainability Policy Papers, adopted in 2016.

This project will extend and reactivate the debates raised since few years in the domain of digital communication rights in several, regions covered by AMARC members.

ICTs and mobile telephony are opening up new frontiers for community broadcasters. For example, the mobile telephone, when used on its own provides person-to-person information and communication possibilities. However, when we combine it with a community radio station, it becomes a dynamic “collective” communication tool. In this way, mobile telephones can help to empower marginalized communities to become active participants in community dialogue, each contributing his or her own experiences and ideas.

In the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting (DAB+), and in line with UNESCO community media sustainability policy papers “.. A key issue is ensuring that community broadcasters have access to the same ‘equitable’ portion of the frequency spectrum that they had in the analogue world. However, transmission works in fundamentally different ways in the digital environment, at least with most modern technologies, and this requires more carefully tailored regulatory approaches”.

Three aspects will be considered:

  1. Reserving spectrum
  2. Mitigating costs of the shift from analogue to digital broadcasting
  3. Approaching the wider challenges of convergence

The general objective of this project is to raise the number of countries that have strengthened policies for adequate and tailored audio-visual regulation in the digital broadcasting sphere in favour of community media. At the end of the project, at least 5 countries will have taken steps to strengthen those policies.

Beyond European borders, AMARC Europe has already identified some possible countries where to concentrate the efforts. In the Asian Region, Bangladesh and its BNNRC will partner the initiative, as well as URAC in Senegal and the Community Media Network in Jordan. More countries will be involved in Central and Latin America.

Read more on AMARCEurope.eu
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AMARC Europe Membership

Campaign 2020
AMARC Europe is the membership organization serving the community radio movement across Europe. The political representation of this broadcasting sector is the driving principle of our initiatives and actions. A stronger network means more impact. With your AMARC membership fees you join over 300 community radio stations and federations in over 20 European countries and over 3.000 AMARC members worldwide with the aim to strengthen the community media sector in Europe and worldwide.

In November 2020 AMARC Europe will hold its General Assembly in Ireland – detailed information coming soon. In the course of the General Assembly also all applications for new members will be discussed and approved. So, this is now the opportunity to become a full member with AMARC Europe.

We are also calling on our current members to update their membership details and fees and get in touch if there are any questions via members@amarceurope.eu.  

We remind you that all the community radios, radio federations or production groups can apply for the full membership. Single persons, researchers or any other radio activist can only apply for the “associated member” status. Please check our website to get more information at this regard.

In line with our statutes, radio stations should be “up to date” with the payment of membership fees in order to have the (active and passive) right to vote during the General Assembly. This means that if the membership fees were not payed in the previous years, we kindly ask you at this stage to update your subscription including the previous unpaid membership fee.
Why to become AMARC member? 10 Good reasons to do it.
  1. AMARC Europe is promoting networking, lobbying and advocacy activities for the European community radio sector with European Union, Council of Europe, UN institutions and the civil society and NGO sector
  2. AMARC Europe promotes and gives visibility to Good and Best-Practice examples within and beyond the community media sector
  3. AMARC Europe provides political support for community media e.g. regulation processes, consultations on community media et al
  4. AMARC Europe opens up for free its office, meeting rooms and infrastructure in Brussels for members e.g. for meetings or events
  5. AMARC Europe provides continue communication and information exchange on the community radio environment in Europe and beyond
  6. AMARC Europe is a multi-channel dissemination platform for information, needs and demands of its members and the community media movement
  7. AMARC Europe is regularly organizing events & meetings on relevant topics for the community media sector
  8. AMARC Europe provides diverse opportunities for common projects and activities with European and Non-European partners – participation in a worldwide movement
  9. AMARC Europe offers possibilities for volunteers e.g. EVS 
  10. Purchase the .radio domain for 25€ per year instead of 300€
Together We Are Stronger!
Read more on AMARCEurope.eu
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News from the

Community Media Sector:

Special Focus on European Community Media’s Covid19 Responds
Community Radios in Berlin

Have a New Home
Opening of the FRBB Studio in the House of Statistics,
Berlin-Alexanderplatz on 31.3.2020 from 15:00-22:00

Berlin is not one city, but many.
Radio is not made by itself, but by many.
And the Free Radios Berlin Brandenburg do not have one studio,
but – many.

So, in spite of all odds, on Tuesday, March 31st,2020 the now 15th studio of the provider community Freies Radio Berlin Brandenburg. The 15th is the quite most central studio – in the House of Statistics on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.

Numerous and countless radio producers* broadcast from 15 to 22 o’clock a special programme, on the present, past and future of Free Radios in Berlin and Brandenburg.

With contributions from Colaboradio, Datscharadio, frrapó,  Ohrfunk, Ohrsicht, onda, Pi Radio, Radio aporee, Radio Słubfurt, Radio Woltersdorf and Studio Ansage. a special programme, on the present, past and future of free Radio stations in Berlin and Brandenburg.

Anybody else forgotten? Sure, because…
the Free Radios Berlin Brandenburg are open to access
– just as free radios are.

Stay tuned – In Berlin at 88.4 MHz and in Potsdam at 90.7.
Read more on FR-BB.org
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Radio Helsinki (Austria)

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

The daily Corona Update
Starting Monday, 16.3, Radio Helsinki in Graz/Austria is providing daily information on the Covid19 situation in Austria. They are responding to current information from the federal government and fight against fake news (e.g. from social media), authoritarian tendencies and also panic.

Radio Helsinki states: “It is our concern to counteract the effects of drastic restrictions on freedom of movement and possible isolation.”

Listen to the programs in German here
Read more on Radio Helsinki
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Bangladeshi Community Radios

25 Hours Program on COVID-19

Prevention Education  
Sixteen Community Radios stations in Bangladesh have been broadcasting Coronavirus prevention education in line with the National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID – 19.
Community Radio stations are also taking special care during designing, developing and broadcasting  prevention education program on COVID -19 by considering the policy brief of ARTICLE 19 title is Viral Lies: Misinformation and the Coronavirus. 
Media outlets and journalists should proactively report on disinformation, propaganda and discrimination by state or non-state actors in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. Accurate reporting by reputable journalistic sources is one of the most powerful tools to 
Media outlets and journalists should support effective systems of self-regulation, including both national press complaints bodies and ombudsmen or public editors at individual news outlets. Such bodies or officials should help to ensure the right of correction or reply to address inaccurate or discriminatory reporting in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. 
Media outlets and journalists should adhere to the highest ethical standards, including equality principles, when reporting on COVID-19. They should report about COVID-19 accurately and without bias, avoiding stereotyping, and without unnecessarily referring to race or nationality or ethnic origin.
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has been monitoring and observation the situation 24×7 hours centrally and providing support and advice to the community radios as and when required. One broadcaster in each radio stations is working as the focal person to coordinate COVID -19 prevention programs. Sixteen community radio stations focal are working closely with the local district, upazila and union Coronavirus Prevention Committees and government offices for reinforcing information to develop the radio programs.
Read more on BNNRC.net
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CM & Covid19 Online Repository

Community Media Share Their

Covid19 Actions
For community media and the community around them to share and inspire in solidarity, CMFE has created a Google doc forum, where you can upload documentation on how you work with and around the Coronavirus crisis.

You can upload 
·       Multilingual materials
·       Links
·       Factsheets and studies
·       CM broadcasts/productions
·       Case stories of how Community Media make a difference
Link to the Online Repository
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Team AMARC Europe Newsletter
Coordination: Alexander Vojvoda

Articles: Francesco Diasio, Xenia Helms, Birgitte Jallov, Michael Nicolai, Mariacristina Sciannamblo, Alexander Vojvoda

AMARC Europe is looking forward to your comments, critics, complaints, feedback and suggestions for the AMARC newsletter. Please send your comments to alexander.vojvoda@amarceurope.eu
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