Transnational, Transgender, Transmedia, Transversal, Transforming, Transgressive, Transcultural

Montpellier, France, May 16/19 2012 
1.  Break down the binary: whoever you are, its time to come out! 

AMARC Europe will hold the conference, “TransRadio, in Montpellier, France, 16-19 of May 2012. The event will offer an opportunity for more than one hundred community radio broadcasters from more than 25 countries across Europe and the Mediterranean basin to meet and develop strategies to strengthen community radio across the region.

The conference draws its theme – Trans Radio – from the fact that now more than ever the community radio movement is Trans! Transnational, Transgender, Transmedia, Transversal, Transforming, Transgressive. TransCommunity radios are not embedded in any of the power structures of society, transcommunity radios are non-conventionally gendered. Our radios are transmodernist, and there is a place for both tradition and modernity. Our radios are transversal and inclusive in the society and our primary struggle is simply being who we are, being allowed to identify ourselves as we are without repercussions. Our trans – community radios welcome technological change yet only when its aim is that of improving life, human conditions or increase the rational use of public goods, as airwaves spectrum.

Community media’s role in fostering diversity and pluralism has been widely acknowledged in Europe, and they mirror this changing Europe: under the unifying concept of community, there is an ever increasing number of communication experiences intensely deep-rooted in their TransCultural social environments.

Nevertheless community radios across Europe are always endangered by the lack of financial resources, the market of frequencies, and a mere binary approach to communication rights: public service / commercial broadcasters,  digital/analogue etc.

2. Importance of the European Conference

The Montpellier conference will focus on how AMARC can most effectively contribute to  increase the impact of the community media network and national community media federations across Europe.

Community radios are non-conventionally gendered. There is the need to adopt a new syntax in the communication rights discourse and with this Conference, we aim at breaking down all the binary logics in this field: new media vs old media, analogue vs digital, non profit vs profit, North vs South..

AMARC Europe works in conjunction with other movements, organizations, activists and its members in order to support self-determination and to challenge stereotypes, classism, sexism, racism and discriminations based on national origin or belief. Valuing the role of communication as a fundamental human right, AMARC Europe is acting on distinct and specific levels on different topics:  participatory democracy, public goods, access to communication technologies, respect and promotion of diversity, active citizenship.

In this transformation historical period, from Arabic spring to the European economical and financial crisis, community radios are playing a fundamental role in improving citizens access to information and providing the tools for a truly participatory democracy and active citizenship.

Five years after the European Parliament Resolution of 25 September 2008 on Community Media in Europe, participants will make a balance between European resolutions and the situation on the field and analyze the role played by community radio in their respective countries, looking at the current challenges they have to face: digital switch over, pluralism, dialogue with national regulation authorities, media literacy, copyrights, the development of the sector, the linkages with other social movements.

In order to compare different European regulatory models, explore and promote best practices, the conference will continue its dialogue with National Regulatory Authorities and the European Platform gathering all of them, Epra. Is the independence of regulatory bodies in Europe ensured?

AMARC Europe and FRANC LR in Montpellier are the joint conference organizers.

It was in 1978 that the first pirate radio stations have emerged in Montpellier. They became free radio in 1981, and since 1982 they have a federal representation.

In 1990, thanks to the call for applications issued by the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), the Federation decided its current name. From 1990, the FRANC-LR actively participated in the creation of the current Confédération Nationale des Radios Associatives (CNRA). The FRANC-LR leads a union driven action with the aim to defend the civic values of free radio stations. As such, the Federation is among the promoters of the “Charter of Citizen Radio” (1996) and has contributed to the recognition -in the Audiovisual Broadcasting Bill of 1999- of the “local social communication” sector besides public service and commercial broadcasters.

At the regional level, the Federation represents 120 permanent workers and 1,200 active volunteers. The FRANC-LR fights for the development of their careers, for the professional training of employees, for the training and enhancement of volunteer experiences.

AMARC Europe is the regional branch of the world network that counts on more than 4,000 member stations around the world, Currently, AMARC Europe has more than 200 active members (community radios, regional and national federations of community radios) in 22 European countries, and develops networking schemes in order to cover common events at the European level. Besides, the regional branch is actively involved in lobbying activities for the complete recognition of community media in Europe (i.e. Council of Europe, European Union institutions).

For AMARC Europe, the conference will allow the organization to finalize its strategic plan and activities for 2013-2015, including reaching decisions on common strategies concerning digital broadcasting switch over, and making plans for social action broadcasting in areas such as minority languages, information ethics and media literacy in Europe.