What is the social benefit of Community Media in Ireland?

In Ireland, one of the statutory requirements to be met by community radio, is to deliver a social benefit to the community it serves. To clarify what ‘social benefit’ is and how it could and should be assessed, a toolkit has been developed for use by the community radio stations. The toolkit and “The Community Radio – Delivering Social Benefit” report are the products of more than two years of research, looking in-depth at the community radio sector and how it delivers social benefit to communities. Both reports are published by the The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and the national community radio network: Community Radio Ireland (CRAOL).

The Chair of CRAOL, Declan Gibbons stresses in the promotion of the reports (see link below for more): “The social benefit can be derived through a number of ways, including volunteering, programming, training, engagement, participation, listening or broadcasting. The report aims to support the community radio sector to capture and describe that valuable and often under-recognised work; work our member stations are engaged in every day. It arms us with the tools to gather and document the stories that best demonstrate the essence and ethos of community radio. It is only through demonstrating the social benefit that our sector delivers, that we can capture the true value of community radio and media.”

The reports and all the work around them, will also be used to review and revise the Irish Community Radio Policy, to reflect the changing face of community media, which has evolved considerably since the original policy was first published in 1995.