Public Forum Proposal - Public Policies and Media Pluralism
The Future of Community Radio in Central and East Europe.
Budapest 12-13 November 2012
Community radio representatives, academicians and regulators from 20 Western, Central and Eastern Europe countries gathered in Budapest for the International Forum “Public Policies and Media Pluralism. The future of Community Radio in Central and East Europe” in order to discuss the current state of pluralism in the region.
The community media sector operates differently across the EU. While it shows significant activity in some Member States, it barely exists in others. The lack of clear definitions and guidelines for community media is leading to confusion and a non genuine pluralistic media landscape, which should be based on the presence of all, public, commercial and community media broadcasters.
Associative and community radios, production groups of contents are all essential actors supporting human rights and promoting an active citizenship. In a world where the imbalance of powers and inequalities multiply, associative and community radio projects participate in social change.
Participants expressed the fact that the technological modernization that transformed the communications landscape through digital media, doesn’t guarantee information’s diversity and quality. New possibilities must not generate any exclusion, but must contribute to the exercise of the right to communicate and pluralism. They also reaffirmed that new political frameworks and public policies must guarantee a truly independence of regulatory authorities from government and policy makers as a prerequisite to a democratic media landscape. Independent regulatory authorities in power must represent the guarantee of the principle of treatment equity in the attribution of electromagnetic resources. The articulation between fundamental rights and public goods, as the electromagnetic spectrum is, cannot be led by a mere market approach.
For these reasons, the participants of the International Forum demand to the governments of the region to acknowledge associative and community radios without any kind of discrimination and confusion with other local broadcasters and guarantee institutionally the independence of Regulatory Authorities, in the respect of resolutions and declarations adopted by the European Union and the Council of Europe.
The public forum was an initiative of AMARC Europe, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, in partnership with the Center for Media & Communication Studies of the Central European University and the Hungarian Federation of Free radios