Seville, November 11, 2014. The Community Media Network (ReMC) calls on the Andalusian regional government to incorporate the 95 citizen proposals developed under the Andalusian Education Forum Communication and Citizenship in the drafting of the Law on Audiovisual Communication for Andalusia . During its Extraordinary Annual Meeting, the ReMC expressed its supports for these proposals, and they were included in the Declaration of Osuna, which focus on establishing a framework for community development nonprofit media while shielding against any possible attempts of unlicensed commercial radios and  televisions to try to get a community media licence.

Moreover, the ReMCs is calling for the legislation to implement the constitutional and statutory right to ensure:

  • citizens fully participate in the production processes of the Public Radio and Television Channels and local media (right of access),
  • representation in the boards of regulatory authorities and media literacy
  • and communications training at all educational levels (from high school to adult education and vocational training for employment), among others.

The Declaration of Osuna stresses that the Forum of Planning and Promotion of the Audiovisual Sector (MOISA) for the development of the foundations of the bill has listened to citizen demands, “but it remains to be seeing if these are addressed by the Andalusian Government and Parliament”.

Change in Andalusia to change nationwide

The Audiovisual Bill will be publicised before the end of the year and it will be used to develop the basic state regulations. “The Forum made a great effort to ensure that the proposals don’t conflict with existing laws or regulations. But in the unlikely event that the State Government or any entity believes so, this would only expose the need to change state law and, in that case, the regional government would have to request so, as it is also outlined in the Declaration of Osuna” said the general coordinator of the ReMC, Maria Navarro, representative of the organisation that chose Seville for an extraordinary meeting of the ReMC “due to the opportunities that have opened in Andalusia.”

Navarro notes that the state audiovisual legislation is contrary to international recommendations of the UN and the European Parliament. “Andalucía can lead a change of the broadcasting model that will then be replicated by the other autonomous communities and the state regulatory framework.”

Therefore, the Declaration of Osuna also requests the Spanish state Government and Parliament to review the General Law on Audiovisual Communication. All governments, organisations, groups and individuals are invited to sign the Declaration and to enhance processes of citizen participation that will lead to the redefinition of the audiovisual sector as an “space for the exercise of rights.”

Furthermore, ReMC has urged political parties with and without institutional presence in the state or Andalusian parliaments to adopt this declaration of Osuna, which takes its name from the city near Seville where a dozen community media organisations prepared the draft document in September this year .

The Andalusian Forum for Communication and Citizenship Education was launched in 2010 and brings together over 40 media organizations, neighbourhood associations and consumer, NGOs, trade unions and academic research groups seeking the right to communicate is guaranteed.

An unwanted lawlessness

In Andalusia there are at least a dozen nonprofit community radio where citizens are involved in all areas, from production to decision making.  For decades now, in Spain, the public administration has confessed its inability to issue licenses, due to dysfunctional regulatory audiovisual design and lack of political will of the regional and state governments. The proliferation of unlicensed commercial stations and unjustified budget restrictions imposed on community media initiatives are a constant threat to the sector.

Staff, volunteers, delegates and partners of the Syndicat National de Radio Libre will be meeting in Paris on Wednesday 19 November 2014, for three days of networking, discussion, and training as part of their 10th Conference. The aim of the encounter is to share new goals and open new horizons for associative radio in France, as well as to identify the best practice among its member to reinforce the strength and development of the community broadcast sector in France, as well as voice the alternative approaches of the associative radio in the areas of equality and participation. For more information, full programme and registration, visit the SNRL website.

On May 2014, the Flemish parliament adopted with a large majority of 70 against 29 a number of amendments to the media legislation. One of these creates a specific legal status for community radios. With this vote, Flanders implements a 2008 resolution of the European Parliament asking to support and recognise community media.

Radio Scorpio and Radio Centraal, Flander’s last two independent publicity-free radios, are happy with the outcome, for which they lobbied and work really hard. In June 2011 they had issued a call to implement the European Parliament recommendations by creating a separate status for community radios, as had already been done in French speaking Belgium in 2009.

The recognition of community radios and other amendments to the media decree that were voted into legislation, such as more strict controls on the concentration of local radios into networks, are steps in the right direction to fight the homogenization of the radio landscape in the Flemish region.

Radio Scorpio and Radio Centraal hope that after the elections, the new administration would continue on this path by being vigilant against frequencies commercialisation and unjust frequency allocations to radio networks and the reinforcement of the regulator.

AMARC Europe would like to congratulate Radio Scorpio and Radio Centraal for their efforts and their success in ensuring that new genuinely local radio initiatives will once again be able to start up and bring about the so much called for diversification of the radio sector in their country. World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) calls its members to stand in solidarity with journalists and community radio journalists under attack. AMARC also remembers the fifth anniversary of the world’s largest atrocity perpetrated against journalists, the Ampatuan Massacre. This massacre saw the murder of 58 persons on November 23rd 2009, 32 of whom were journalists and media workers. Let’s remember that the 10th General Assembly of AMARC (AMARC 10) unanimously approved a resolution condemning the Ampatuan Massacre and resolved to assist in the global campaign for justice and an end to the impunity.

 Join the Campaign

Join the campaign and show journalists, community radio journalists and media workers your solidarity and commitment to support them as they continue their struggle for information.

  • Participate online through social media such as Facebook and Twitter (#EndImpunity).
  • Encourage your colleagues working in the media to prepare and run news and feature reports on the subject of impunity.
  • Do not let this issue fade.
  • Let everyone know about the Global Day of Action on November 23 and participate!

Between 6th and 9th of November, the German Community Media Conference organized by the Bundesverband Freier Radios (BFR) took place in Potsdam. Broadcasters around Europe took part in debates, workshops and panel discussions around the exchanging of ideas and practices in relation to communication policies, free broadcasting, technological tools and citizens´ involvement in community media. For more information on the panels, the content of the discussions or final conclusions, please, visit their webpage here.

The BFR invited the President of AMARC Europe, Sally Galliana, to participate in the opening discussion, she spoke about the right to communicate and alternative approaches for the community radio broadcasting sector. The content of the panel discussion can be followed in the videos below:

Part one: 

Part two:

Also, AMARC Europe had the opportunity to attend the Community Media Forum of Europe (CMFE) General Assembly. The focus this year was on how CMFE will move forward and the approval of reports, budgets and plans for 2015, and the lection of new representatives to new CMFE Board.

Moreover, AMARC Europe decided to organise a Board of Directors meeting in Berlin in order to  evaluate the current year and discuss priorities, activities, action plan and internal and external communications plans for 2015. Many thanks to the BRF for the trust and the support offered.