The European Media Literacy Week is a new initiative by the European Commission to underline the societal importance of media literacy and promote media literacy initiatives and projects across the EU. From 18 to 22 March 2019, various events around the topic of media literacy will take place in Brussels and in Member States.

Community Media has always promoted Media Literacy in their local communities, among their listeners and staff and volunteers by offering training not only on journalistic and technical skills but also by providing a space for critical thinking and the means to create media content to citizens. In Community Media, Media Literacy is not a celebratory week but a daily event that is supported by the hard work of community broadcasters despise the lack of financial support by regulatory authorities in the majority of European States.

The role of community media in this area has been recognised not only at grassroots and academic level, but also at institutional level. In 2008, the European Parliament Resolution of 25 September 2008 on Community Media in Europe already pointed out:

6.  Considers that community media contribute to the goal of improving citizens” media literacy through their direct involvement in the creation and distribution of content and encourages school-based community outlets to develop a civic attitude among the young, to increase media literacy, as well as to build up a set of skills that could be further used for community media participation

A year later, the role of Community Media in promoting Media Literacy among citizens was once more highlighted by the Council of Europe in the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the role of community media in promoting social cohesion and intercultural dialogue, adopted on 11 February 2009 .

Recognising the crucial contribution of community media in developing media literacy through the direct involvement of citizens in the process of creation and distribution of media content, as well as through the organisation of training programmes, issues that are particularly important in the digital environment;

So, on this week, let’s make some space to celebrate and renew community media longtime commitment to Media Literacy and critical thinking.

Community radio stations must incorporate the gender perspective in their organisational structures and content, as indicated in paragraph “J” of the Beijing Platform for Action

AMARC Europe joins the dismay and outrage of AMARC Mexico, the Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land and Water of Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala (FPDTA), the comrades and companions of the Community Radio of Almicingo, Mor., and the relatives and loved ones of SAMIR FLORES SOBERANES, outstanding leader of the FPDTA, founder and Director of Community Radio Amiltzinko 100.7 FM, who was murdered on 21 February 2019.

AMARC Mexico Statement following the murder of Samir Flores Soberanes

The FPDTA has declared: “This was a political crime for the defense of human rights that Samir and the FPDTA have launched against the Morelos Comprehensive Project and for the autonomy and self-determination of the peoples. This murder is the result of the omission of the current and previous governments to resolve through the dialogue the conflict that generates the unfeasible Morelos Integral Project and the imposition of the interests of capital over the people’s rights “.

The declaration of the FPDTA is based on a long struggle of repression against the communities and indigenous peoples of the Morelos, Puebla y Tlaxclala States, with the immediate antecedent of the peaceful protest that this organization held on February 10, in which the now fallen peasant leader participated and that was rejected by the President of the Republic as a protest of “radical leftists who for me are but conservatives.”

López Obrador has condemned the murder of Samir Flores, however, if he continues to reject and stigmatize the struggle of the opponents of the “Integral Morelos Project” and does not carry out an authentic consultation that accurately collects the opinion of the affected communities, it will be generating conditions that can lead to more unfortunate and unpredictable consequences.

The President of the Republic must order the investigation that leads to the identification and punishment of the criminals, proceed with a serene and sincere dialogue with the FPDTA, guarantee an authentic consultation on the construction of the Huexca Thermoelectric Plant and protect and guarantee the exercise of the free expression and of human rights defenders.

For the National Board of AMARC Mexico, Héctor Camero. #JusticiaParaSamir Amarc MX UNESCO Jesus R Caves

In a Declaration adopted by the Council of Europe’ s Committee of Ministers encourages states to put in place a regulatory and policy framework that facilitates the operation of quality journalism, while not constraining media outlets’ editorial and operational independence. Recommended measures include a beneficial tax regime, financial support schemes and the possibility of media outlets to operate as not-for-profit organisations and receive donations from philanthropic programmes.

The defense of the sustainability of community media is highlighted in point 12 of the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the financial sustainability of quality journalism in the digital age

States’ support and commitment to providing a pluralist media ecosystem in accordance with their positive obligations under Article 10 of the Convention should take into account all sectors and types of media, bearing in mind their different purposes, functions, affordances and geographical reach. Support mechanisms should include measures for ensuring the guarantee sustainability of this ecosystem… In addition, there is a need to develop and strengthen public policy measures at European, as well as at local levels to ensure that community media, as well as other types of media serving local and rural communities, have financial and legal resources and space to operate on all distribution platforms.

Then further:

“…encourages member States to include in their media regulatory and policy frameworks a variety of measures which may include, but are not limited to the following:
a) A beneficial tax regime for the production and distribution of journalistic content;
b) Financial support schemes for media sectors besides public service media, in particular for regional, local, hyperlocal and not-for-profit community media, with accompanying safeguards for their independent administration and oversight and for equitable and non-discriminatory distribution of such support in line with the principles of transparency and accountability and with the standards of the Council of Europe

On the occasion, the World Radio Day (WRD), the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) joins all its colleagues and partners in the Radio world, reaffirming the crucial role of the community broadcasting sector.

Freedom of communication and expression are always critical in many Regions of the World. While engaging for dialogue, tolerance and peace, community radios are still and too often endangered by the lack of clear legislative frameworks, and equal opportunities in terms of access to the frequency spectrum, broadcasting power and access to information.

Community radios are agent of change. The extreme diversity of this movement and its hyper-local approach, don’t undermine the universal values of social cohesion it pursues. Dialogue, tolerance and peace are the ethos of the community radio sector.

The changing technological environment and the cross-media approach, between traditional radio, on line applications and mobile telephony, can offer unprecedented opportunities for the development of the community radio sector, provided the capacity to fill the gap between those who have and those who have not access to the resources.

In this world of dualities, through various partnerships and projects, AMARC works towards improving the conditions of community radios as a paradigm for a full pluralistic media environment.  Mentoring and training are conducted in several regions to improve the capacities of journalists, new technological solutions are approached and experimented, dialogue and democratic debates over issues, such as migration, climate change or violence against women, are promoted in order to raise awareness among listeners and inspire understanding for new perspectives. AMARC advocates and acts, on the international scene, for the improvement of the security of local and community journalists, and for the communication rights of community broadcasters.

Let’s celebrate community radio together! Join us and the Unesco campaign! Thank you for your participation!

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