Dear AMARC Europe members, colleagues and friends,

In a few days we will celebrate the World Radio Day 2020. This year’s World Radio Day topic is “We are DIVERSITY. We are RADIO”.

The UNESCO argues in this year’s topic rational that “radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organizations and operations.”

Diversity is a claim AMARC Europe as the biggest representative of the European community radio sector is pursuing in its long history. In the AMARC Europe charter, which was adopted in 1994 in Ljubljana, the emphasis was put on the “… diversity of forms of community radio; … provide a right of access to minority and marginalised groups and promote and protect cultural and linguistic diversity; … inform their listeners on the basis of information drawn from a diversity of sources …”

Press freedom, access to information, critical reflection of media content and a diversity of media outlets are the key stones for a dynamic democracy, however, nowadays independent, local and community-oriented journalism is more and more exposed to political and economic threats and pressure. In this context, community media remain crucial actors and articulation platforms to ensure the participation of diverse communities in public discussion, provide access to local information and give a voice to underrepresented communities. The World Radio Day is one opportunity to showcase these potentials of community media in the current context.

The importance of the community media sector in the current European political environment to promote diversity has been acknowledged in the findings and the appreciations the community media sector has received as an integral part of vital democracies on European and international level.

The Council of Europe recommendation from 2018 on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership sees that the current content shift to the internet as a possible threat to independence of media houses and diversity and quality of productions. However, the Council of Europe also mentions that “…not-for-profit community media can serve as a counterbalance to increased media concentration. By virtue of their remit and organisation, public service media are particularly suited to address the informational needs and interests of all sections of society, as is true of community media in respect of their constituent users. It is of utmost importance that the mandates of public service media include the responsibility to reflect political pluralism and foster awareness of diverse opinions, notably by providing different groups in society – including cultural, linguistic, ethnic, religious, sexual or other minorities – with an opportunity to receive and impart information, to express themselves and to exchange ideas.”

The European Parliament states on the role of community media in the European Union in its resolution on media pluralism and freedom (2017/2209(INI)) from 2018 that “… community media and grassroots media, [which] are crucial elements of a favourable environment for guaranteeing the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information”.

AMARC Europe is looking forward to the various events and ways the community media sector in Europe and beyond will celebrate the World Radio Day 2020 and thereby emphasizes the crucial role community radios play in promoting diversity, democratic participation and social cohesion in our societies.

The AMARC Europe team wishes our members in Europe and our colleagues and friends around the World a happy World Radio Day 2020!
Contact for further inquiries

Alexander Vojvoda
Project Co-ordinator AMARC Europe