IMG_1673The meeting of community radios in Strasbourg (11-12 June), hosted by SNRL, brought together participants from three different European projects to talk about skills, training and the harmonisation of professional standards for the community radio sector in Europe.

The meeting was opened by AMARC International Vice-president and SNRL president Emmanuel Boutterin, who highlighted the interest of the SNRL to facilitate skills exchanges and cooperation among community radios at European level, as well as the need for strengthening the role of community radio in this times of crisis in Europe.

Bernadette Vergnaud MEP, vicepresident of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, said that the Europe Parliament wanted community radios to keep benefiting from funding provided under Lifelong Learning actions as a way to facilitate Community Radio best practice exchanges through mobilities, internships and European collaborative projects, as she feels Community Radio is important when it comes to provide some content to the  concept of European citizenship .

Emmanuel Gabla, member of the Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA), the regulatory authority in France, expressed his happiness to attend the meeting as this is a step towards the construction of European Citizenship. He highlighted the role of the CSA in the profesionalisation of community radio workers. He reminded Vergnaud of the important role of Community radios in European Cooperation.

Gabla highlighted the important role of Community Radio, along with commercial an public sector media, in ensuring media pluralism and diversity in Europe. A third of peoples lives is spent listening to media, which also contributed to the creation of employment and economic growth.

CSA has been an active member in the cooperation, with other francophone countries, with other European media authorities, through EPRA. In 2012 there were two groups within EPRA, one of them working on local and community media. In France there are specific quotas that determine the content of programming, to ensure European, regional and local information.

The media and technological revolution has changed the relationship between people and media. It has opened the door to individual journalism, but it is important to realise of the responsibilities it involves. Everyone needs a frequency to broadcast, and there is a tendency to transfer frequencies from audiovisual to telecommunication networks. It is important to realise of the impact as well as the commercial interest of these decisions. We need to protect the audiovisual sector.

Gabla called for support from the European Parliament to community media to ensure media diversity and pluralism in Europe.