[update 20.5.2011] The protest has been effective. The Media Council mabb has rolled back the withdrawal of the broadcasting license for Frrapo in Potsdam at its meeting on 15th May 2012. They also withdraw the decrease of air-time of the community radio groups. According to this, for the four community radio groups Frrapo, Studio Ansage, Piradio and Colaboradio now everything remain as before the re-tendering. The only change is more schedule flexibility, to distribute the airtime, which is still from Monday to Thursday 19-6 o’clock at 88.4 MHz in the southwest of Berlin. This decision is valid for two years. The claims for an earlier start of the transmission and additional air time on Friday, but also the long-term acknowledgement of community radio as a third media sector with support and independence still remains open.
The CMFE Board member Gabriella Velics reports about the situation of community radios in Hungary:
In Hungary community radio was legitimised and functioning from 1996 and by the end of 2010 there were sixty-eight small community radio stations across the country. From the beginning of 2011 the new law has made it much more difficult for them to operate, and the number of community radios suddenly fell to forty-four. (database of the Media Authority – mid. february)
The Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) has released a letter of support to join the campaign of its Spanish members with regards to the actions take by the Jefatura Provincial de Telecomunicaciones of Asturias , the regional media authority, towards community radio stations in the region.
CMFE understands that the Jefatura has sent letters to the residents of the flats that are located in proximity of the FM radio broadcast transmission equipment of community radio stations in the Asturias, where it has requested to those residents to state if they have knowledge of the location and ownership of such transmission systems and where failure to do is sanctioned with fines up to € 500.000.
The Forum is concerned about the enactment of such measures which ignores the fact that the Authority has not been considering the opening of the legitimate licensing system to community radio stations, that have been broadcasting in the region since the 1980s, and that have since then shown demand for a third, not for profit and independent radio sector in the Asturias.
Dear CMFE members, friends and colleagues,
Ourplanet-TV, is one of Japan’s best known alternative media, an all-citizens based independent public access center, with distribution on the internet, and on Tokyo area cable (in a weekly program window). This non-profit non-governmental media organization in Tokyo, is collecting donations for a 2-hour TV program highlighting the voices of Japanese children, who have been affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident.
These children are exposed to much higher-than-normal radioactivity everyday. Parents are struggling to protect their children from radiation. The case of the right to evacuate has been taken to court, but still more than a half year later nothing has changed. Children living close to the epicenter of the nuclear plant still cannot play in the school yards and outside their houses without being exposed to radiation.
The EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism (CSPM), of which CMFE is one of the 29 members, has published its policy recommendations to the European Commission, member states and regional authorities, stating that education and public services must go multilingual to boost Europe’s language skills, sustain Europe’s economies and cater for increasingly diverse societies:
“Attention should also be paid to the media and the way in which they reflect the linguistic and cultural needs of minorities, and groups of a different background, especially migrants. Usually there is little reference to these needs and the media tends to show that communication “happens” smoothly, without linguistic or cultural barriers. In reality successful direct communication among people who speak different languages is not possible, unless there is someone who translates or interprets. Furthermore, media should show the real cultural diversity of the territory they cover, instead of showing a monolingual and/or mono-cultural situation more typical of past times and that has nothing to do with reality.”
> Visit the Poliglotti4.eu website
Following the Board Meeting held in Berlin on 17 June a new organisational member from Austria has joined CMFE. COMMIT – the Community Media Institute for Training, Research and Consultation was founded in 2010 as an non-profit organization at the crossroads of noncommercial broadcasting, adult education and research.
COMMIT offers trainings for community media activists and organizers, designs and realizes studies and projects and works towards more public recognition of the community media sector in Austria and Europe.
COMMIT receives funding from the Austrian broadcasting regulator RTR.
> Visit the COMMIT website (in Geman)
The Swedish Ministry of Culture has responded to a letter of CMFE, where the Forum had expressed concern on the risks of privatization of community radio in Sweden:
“One of the priorities for the Government is the protection of freedom of speech where community radio plays a vital role. The legislation thus stipulates that licences for community radio should only be granted to non profit associations. It is of course important that the legislation is not circumvented. As the Swedish Broadcasting Authority is in charge of both granting the licences and supervising the the adherence to the rules your letter will be forwarded to the Authority. The Swedish Government intends to closely follow the developments in this area”
CMFE will keep monitoring the developments of the situation in Sweden and is aware of other problems with the Swedish community radio sector as the digitalisation for small radio stations and structural financing. However, CMFE regards the privatisation of närradio as a most acute and serious problem, which is also an unique situation in Europe Continue reading
CMFE is among the signatories of a letter signed by 36 European and international human rights, media and journalists’ organisations, along with 6 leading experts in freedom of expression and information and human rights. Two years after member states of the Council of Europe committed in Reykjavik on 29 May 2009 to review anti-terror laws for their potential negative impacts on the rights to freedom of expression and access to information, we are calling on the Secretary General to act to ensure that such a review takes place.
We urge other Council of Europe institutions responsible for the freedom of expression and information and for media freedom to support the Secretary General in this work to ensure that these key democratic rights are not compromised by the anti-terror and security agenda.
A review of the current legal framework is essential to verifying this and it is now imperative that such a review be carried out. The signatories to this letter are ready to work with the Secretary General’s office and other Council of Europe institutions to promote this review process by member states. We look forward to hearing back from you and to discussing further the best ways to achieve this.
> View/download the letter
CMFE is pleased to announce a new 2011 award of structural support from the European Union EACEA program (Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency, under the ‘Europe for Citizens Programme 2011′.
This generous grant recognizes community media as a vital component to media pluralism and democracy in Europe. It also reaffirms CMFE’s role as an important contributor to the recognition, legalization, and support of free independent media for all European citizens.
Led by a board of European media policy experts, CMFE continues to develop its membership and capacity to present community media to decision makers at European national and international institutions.
CMFE looks forward to work together with all community media and other organizations who are interested in this sector to build further on better presentation, legislation, financing and better access to distribution channels in Europe.