UNESCO Hosts International Seminar on Community Media Sustainability

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UNESCO will host an international seminar titled “Community Media Sustainability: Strengthening Policies and Funding” from September 14 to 15, 2015 at its Headquarters in Paris, France.

The seminar plans to reunite broadcasting regulators, community and public media professionals, civil society and academic experts from more than 20 countries to innovate sustainability in the community media sector.

It also aims to promote favorable regulation, policy and funding of community radio and facilitate knowledge sharing on complementary roles of national, community and commercial broadcasting.

UNESCO noted that an enabling legal environment that provides recognition and facilitates resources and support mechanisms is necessary for the long term sustainability of community broadcasters. It added that community broadcasters work on a non-profit basis and are tailored according to the specific needs and conditions of their respective communities.

It noted with concern that many community radio stations however give in to influential bodies for survival or give up and move to something else. The situation, it said is all the more worrying because community radio is an important vehicle for development in many regions of the world as it can improve awareness and knowledge of solutions to community problems ranging from rural development, culture, education, agriculture, hygiene and sanitation to local governance.

Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development underlines that free, pluralistic and independent media are key drivers for sustainable development, adding, “Community radios […] support democracy by enabling individuals to exercise their freedom of expression and right to access information.”

Case studies, concept papers and recommendations drawn from the seminar may be shared with parliamentarians, ministries, practitioners and the international community to facilitate partnerships, inform decision-makers and strengthen enabling environments for community radio worldwide.