National fora and networks of community media

For community radio development, it is the role and responsibility of the community itself to establish and sustain a strong organisation that ensures close contact with and participation by the community (and all the communities within the community). To be able to do this, the community usually depends upon a number of enabling frameworks, one of which is a national or regional support framework, often in the form of a national network of community radio stations.

A national Community Radio Support Network

Networks, associations and fora are critically important to the development and eventual sustainability of community media. In most countries where you can find flourishing community media there are national associations and networks.

Most networks perform functions that go beyond their core work of lobbying and advocating on behalf of their members. In some places, community media associations were established in order to create and build community media sectors.

Some examples are shared including from the UK, Bangladesh and Nepal... [read more here]

The global community media association: AMARC

Besides from the national networks of community media, the World Association of Commu­nity Radio Broadcasters, AMARC (www.amarc.org) has grown since its first conference was convened in Montrèal in 1983. AMARC is organised into five regions — Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe and North America — and has over 5,000 member community media. Most of these are community radio stations, but AMARC also embraces community media federations and other stakeholders. Despite all the differences between community radio developments in the five AMARC regions, biannual global conferences demonstrate how much mutual learning is possible.

EMPOWERHOUSE was co-convenor to an important resolution passed at the AMARC 11 Global Conference in Accra, Ghana, August 2015, highlighting the central role for community media in the implementation and achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals. AMARC 11 affirmed the following principles:

  • Community Radio is critical to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Community Radio is the only way that people can own their development agenda through dialogue, collective planning and engagement;
  • Community Radio is the key to achieving social, economic and political equality by ensuring a space for marginalised priorities to be fore grounded and have a voice that is listened to;
  • Community Radio ensures that not only is information shared but there is also knowledge democracy and new knowledge is created through a platform for civil society dialogue, debate and consensus-building;
  • Community Radio builds cultures of transparency and accountability in order to attainsocial justice and ensure rights and entitlements for those who are denied these;
  • Community Radio creates spaces to resolve conflicts replacing force with peaceful dialogue creating communities, nations and worlds that are more secure and safe;
  • Community Radio is a proven mechanism for enabling adapting to climate change and building resilient communities;
  • Community radio is a link between global climate change and other justice movements. [read more]

Women in AMARC: Women’s International Network – WIN

Since the first coming-together-conference in Montreal 1983, which formed the basis for the global network today, women’s role in community radio was at the forefront. My own personal story – travelling Europe to identify women’s stations, women’s collectives in mixed stations and women’s programmes in mixed radio stations can be read [here.]

How can EMPOWERHOUSE support you?

Are you working at national level to see how community radio can support the empowerment of communities and spur democratic cultures? Are you suppporting creation of community radios for development – and want to explore how to go about getting a national network / associaltion / forum established – to ensure sustainability, empowerment and development?

EMPOWERHOUSE  offers:
To assist you in identifying your need and suggesting a way forward which could for instance be:

  • To map the situation and context and propose a way forward;
  • To diagnose challenges and propose ways forward for a network;
  • To develop an implementation strategy;
  • Any other relevant process in support of community and community radio/media development. 

Other general EMPOWERHOUSE services of interest to you:

  • Empower News: free newsletter, sign up on top of this page
  • EmpowerForum: an online club for community radios, their networks and other interested with moderated discussions and networking
  • EMPOWERMENT RADIO – Voices building a community: EMPOWERHOUSE’s book 
  • Sustainable community radio for development’ a 7-week online course on demand [link to it]
  • For tailored advice, support services contact: mail@empowerhouse.dk