CMFE at Council of Europe 70th Anniversary Conference in Belgrade

CMFE delivered a presentation on Community media promoting local engagement across generations on May 24th in Belgrade, at the International Conference to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Council of Europe, organized by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia. The Conference focused on the implementation of Council of Europe instruments and standards in the field of media and information and host ed several members of the Council of Europe Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI), where CMFE has an observer status since 2008.

Nadia Bellardi represented CMFE at the Conference and spoke about the importance of community media in creating an enabling environment for younger and older people to experiment with media-making, interact, dialogue and engage as active citizens. Read about the program here: FINAL_24 May 2019- CoE70 – DraftAgendaConference – R.Serbia 22.5.2019

At a point in time when communication, especially online, is becoming more and more polarized and leading to a decline in empathy, community media can act as antidotes to social fragmentation. Especially in rural and peripheral areas, community radios/TVs fill a gap as meeting places for youth, students and older generations, providing physical as well as virtual spaces for information exchange, participation and collective action. The upcoming report Across Generations, commissioned to COMMIT by the Council of Europe, is investigating community media in eight countries where they have a very different status (Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina).

In her role as independent expert in the Committee of experts on Quality Journalism in the Digital Age (MSI-JOQ) Nadia also spoke about the challenges to sustainability of local journalism and news. Media and information literacy initiatives by community media can help keeping local communities engaged in independent news production. However, Council of Europe member states must do more to encourage and support the establishment and functioning of minority, regional, local and not-for-profit community media, including by providing financial mechanisms to foster their development, as highlighted in the 2018 Recommendation on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership.