Community Media/Radio/Governance UNESCO Workshop/Principles of CR
Principles of Community Radio
|Work in progress, expect frequent changes. Help and feedback is welcome. See discussion page.|
Citizens have a democratic right to reliable, accurate, and timely information and to an accessible vehicle to express themselves. Based on these rights, it is a public interest of broadcasting that it should incorporate the principles of access and participation. Access implies the availability of broadcasting services to all citizens; participation implies that the public is actively involved in planning and management, and also provides producers and performers.
In concrete terms, for community radio these concepts mean that:
- A community radio is both for the community and by the community. The community is understood to be the owner of the radio station. The community participates in all aspects of a community radio, from establishment to management, administration to financing.
- There is proportional representation of the whole community, including different groups and interests as well as traditionally under-represented or marginalised groups (e.g. women, minorities, youth, people with disabilities), in ownership, management and staffing, and content.
- A community radio provides a universally accessible service. The station’s broadcast pattern reaches all members of the community it aims to serve. The station is open to anyone in the community.
- The community participates, by way of accepted processes and procedures, in formulating plans and policies for the radio service and in defining its objectives, its principles of management, and its programming.
- The community participates in decisions concerning programme content, duration and schedules. People select the types of programmes they want, rather than having them prescribed by the producers.
- There is continuous interaction between producers and receivers of messages. The radio itself acts as a principal channel for this interaction, but there are also mechanisms that allow easy contact between the community, the programme producers, and the management of the radio station.
- There are unrestricted opportunities for members of the community, as individuals or groups, to produce programmes, and be helped by the radio station staff, using the technical production facilities available. Community members, in their capacity as representatives or as individuals produce a significant portion of programming on a voluntary basis.
- The community provides the majority of resources, financial and non-financial, for the station, including funds and contributions in-kind.
- The station allows ‘non-commercial advertising’, i.e. sponsorship, tell not sell
- The station is editorially independent of government, specific organisations, institutions and businesses.
- The community is free to comment and criticize. There are specific mechanisms and channels.
- The station’s actively prioritises local languages, issues, music and culture.
- The station makes a special commitment to local education and governance.
- Adapted from Chapter 2, Features and Functions of Community Radio (for the specific purpose of the workshop) Community Radio Handbook, UNESCO (2001) by Colin Fraser and Sonia Restrepo Estrada.