CMFE and COMMIT organize thematic meeting in Vienna with Media & Internet Division of the Council of Europe

On Monday, 12th of december 2016, a thematic meeting took place with members of Community Media organizations, of journalist educators and Charlotte Altenhoener-Dion (Administrator/Secretary of the MSI-NET, Media & Internet Division, Council of Europe). At the RTR (Austrian Regulartory Authority) head of the media division Alfred Grinschgl welcomed all participants. Researchers at the London School of Economics had prepared the draft of a report on “Media coverage of the “refugee crisis”: A cross-European perspective”. Charlotte Altenhoener-Dion stated the interest of the Council of Europe to learn about the practices of Community Media oganizations in dealing with contents linked to refugees and migration. Participatory media practice and ensuring access to finding one’s own voice as well as the possibility to connect to others can be seen as inspiration for both public service and private commercial media.

Regarding the report “Media coverage of the “refugee crisis”: A cross-European perspective”, it was noted that the choice of countries and selected newspapers should be discussed. Furthermore can the representation and presentation of content not be discussed without looking at ownership and journalistic practice. Community Media fosters integrating and participatory media production that leads to diverse and manifold representations. To benefit form these experiences, a complementary study was proposed to understand the work of Community Media producers in relation to recent developments in society. Participatory media production are also increasingly important in light of changes in the understanding of European democracies.

All participants agreed on the need for more resources to foster exchange among producers, enhance training and facilitate translation for producers of multilingual contents. Regarding the often xenophobic and scandalizing reporting in commercial media, existing instruments were mentioned to train journalists. The lack of awareness and the ignorance of existing training contents have to be seen as a structural problem as well as a strategy of the media in question. Migrants are still hardly present in traditional media organizations and they are often neglected as members of the public. Recent projects of the Council of Europe and the European Commission target diversity in the media ( Mediane , and develop trainings and materials to counter hate speech ( Media against Hate).

CMFE underlined the importance and relevance of formal recognition for non-commercial Community Media as a third sector and as actors for a diverse, inclusive and participatory media practices. In particular the active role of CM in topics like migration and refuge needs to be recognized by European institutions and proper means for the third sector are necessary both on national and European level.

Participants: Charlotte Altenhoener-Dion (Administrator/Secretary of the MSI-NET, Media & Internet Division, Council of Europe), Nadia Bellardi (CMFE), Helmut Peissl and Brigitta Busch (COMMIT), Barbara Eppensteiner and Senad Hergic (Okto TV), Mike Schedlberger (Radio B138) and Katharina Rahmchen (fjum/JoinMedia)