CMFE was invited to take part in the annual Civil Dialogue Meeting in Brussels on the 28th of June 2017. The meeting is organized by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Forum and focuses on the Europe for Citizens programme, a scheme that has provided funding for CMFE in the past. Judith Purkarthofer, president of CMFE, stressed the need for citizens to get European experiences, through this program as well as others.
“Speaking for national federations, projects and experts who dedicate their time to practice and research on community media, we see how important experience is. Getting information and being educated about facts gives some new insights, but they can only be fully understood when each person is able to raise their voice, speak about their opinions in public and work towards understandings one’s own reality as well as other persons’. Civil society and the non-profit NGO sector is an important partner in this endeavor. By working with Community Media initiatives, we see that the recognition of one’s voice, in many different languages and on many different topics, helps people to imagine themselves as part of larger societies and thus works towards social cohesion.
Thinking about the future of Europe and of this particular program, we would like to stress the need for diversity – the need to talk about a multiplicity of stories possible. In the European Union, some history and values are shared but these are only a part of the many stories that are relevant for citizens. Paying special attention to marginalized groups, we would like to encourage them to get involved and to feel that their stories, especially as they are rarely heard, are considered an important part of the European narrative as well.”