The Community Cohesion Charter for Community Media is a proposal aimed at promoting social and community cohesion. The charter is based on the belief that media can be used as a positive force for good, and it outlines a clear framework of principles and goals to guide community media makers, advocates, civic leaders, and members of the public in their efforts to promote community cohesion.
The charter’s objectives include:
1. Promoting Unity: The charter encourages the creation and sharing of content that promotes unity among diverse communities, fostering a sense of belonging, mutual respect, and shared values.
2. Encouraging Dialogue: It aims to facilitate open, inclusive, and respectful conversations about difference, with a commitment to strengthen social bonds, emphasize shared interests, and build common ground.
3. Counteracting Prejudice: The charter actively challenges prejudice, discrimination, and harmful stereotypes, using media platforms to enlighten audiences and promote a better understanding of different cultures, traditions, and perspectives.
4. Highlighting Positive Interactions: It showcases examples of positive interactions and collaborations between different communities, demonstrating the benefits of diversity and intercultural exchange.
5. Supporting Equality: The charter advocates for equality and inclusion in all aspects of society, highlighting issues of social injustice and amplifying the voices of marginalized groups.
6. Fostering Community Participation: It encourages active community participation in media creation, providing direct access to production platforms, distribution systems, and the governance of the media.
7. Endorsing Evidence-based Practices: The charter commits to focusing on strategies and approaches that have been demonstrated to promote community cohesion and integration.
8. Engaging in Collaborative Partnerships: It seeks partnerships with other organizations and individuals who share a commitment to community cohesion.
9. Advocating for Policy Change: The charter uses its platforms to influence policy, advocating for regulations and initiatives that support community cohesion and social integration.
10. Continual Learning and Improvement: It remains open to new ideas and approaches, continually seeking to learn, innovate, and improve efforts to promote community cohesion.
11. Upholding Media Regulation Standards: The charter abides by independent media regulation codes, such as the Impress Code or the Ofcom Broadcast Code, that advocate for responsible and ethical journalism.
12. Maintaining Transparency: It undertakes open and transparent communication about its activities, ensuring accountability to the community and the public at large.
The charter is a response to the increasing challenges to social unity from forces that seek to sow division and hatred for political and partisan advantage. It is a call to action for all to actively work towards maintaining and enhancing social and community cohesion in our societies.
The Community Cohesion Charter has received a variety of feedback from different respondents. Here is a summary of the comments:
- Support for the Charter: The Charter is generally seen as clear and relevant to the respondents’ work. There is a consensus that the Charter’s principles are agreeable, and it is viewed as a useful tool for promoting community cohesion.
- Concerns and Suggestions: Some respondents would like more clarity on certain aspects of the Charter, such as trust and reliability, and the use of real-life language that speaks to the audience. There are suggestions for the Charter to be more assertive and ambitious, and to include practical steps for implementation. The need for a set of financial transparency standards that each signatory should agree on was also mentioned.
- Impact on Work or Community: The Charter is seen as having a direct influence on editorial decision-making and as a tool for training businesses in adopting a strategy that advances a sense of community purpose. It is believed that the Charter can encourage better dialogue, counter prejudice, highlight positive interactions, support equality, and engage in collaborative partnerships.
- Challenges: Key challenges in implementing the Charter include education, getting individuals to see the relevance and value of the Charter, and the need for action points and accountability. Some respondents also mentioned the need for support in dealing with technology and local council issues.
- Resources Needed: Suggestions for resources needed to implement the Charter effectively include more volunteers, contributors, and staff from diverse backgrounds, as well as practical resources like a discovery budget, a room, a laptop, and a kettle.
- Measurement of Success: The success of the Charter should be measured both qualitatively (the impact should be felt) and quantitatively (there should be metrics). Some respondents suggested that success could be measured through recorded conversations in safe spaces or an evaluation method for all media groups undertaking agreement to the Charter.
- Anticipated Impacts: The most significant impacts of the Charter on community cohesion are anticipated to be unity and people coming together for the greater good. Some respondents also highlighted the potential impact of specific principles of the Charter.
Overall, the feedback is supportive of the Charter, with suggestions for more clarity, assertiveness, and practical implementation. There are also suggestions for additional principles and ways to measure the Charter’s success.
Based on the feedback received, here are some recommendations to update the Community Cohesion Charter:
- Clarity and Language: Make the language of the Charter more accessible and relatable. Use real-life words that speak directly to the audience. Provide more clarity on trust, reliability, and the principles of the Charter.
- Assertiveness and Ambition: Make the Charter more assertive and ambitious. Clearly state the Charter’s goals and the steps needed to achieve them.
- Implementation Guidelines: Include practical steps for implementing the principles of the Charter. Provide a clear action plan that signatories can follow.
- Financial Transparency Standards: Include a set of financial transparency standards that each signatory should agree on. This will help ensure accountability and trust among the signatories and the communities they serve.
- Education and Awareness: Develop strategies for educating individuals about the relevance and value of the Charter. This could include workshops, seminars, or informational materials.
- Accountability Measures: Establish mechanisms for holding signatories accountable. This could include regular check-ins, reports, or audits.
- Resource Allocation: Provide guidance on the resources needed to implement the Charter effectively. This could include human resources (volunteers, contributors, staff from diverse backgrounds) and practical resources (budget, space, technology).
- Success Measurement: Develop clear qualitative and quantitative measures for evaluating the success of the Charter. This could include surveys, interviews, or an evaluation method for all media groups undertaking agreement to the Charter.
- Promotion of the Charter: Consider adding a principle to the Charter that encourages signatories to promote the Charter itself. This will help increase awareness and adoption of the Charter.
- Technology Advancement: Include something about the actual technology and how people might advance it. This will ensure that the Charter remains relevant as technology evolves.
These recommendations aim to enhance the effectiveness of the Charter and ensure that it remains a useful tool for promoting community cohesion.
The next steps for further engagement and consultation about the Community Cohesion Charter are as follows:
- Incorporating Feedback: The first step is to carefully review all the feedback received and incorporate it into a revised draft of the Charter. This includes making the language more accessible, providing more clarity on certain principles, making the Charter more assertive and ambitious, and including practical steps for implementation. The feedback about financial transparency standards, education and awareness, accountability measures, resource allocation, success measurement, promotion of the Charter, and technology advancement will also be considered.
- Drafting a Revised Charter: Once all the feedback has been considered, a revised draft of the Charter will be created. This draft will reflect the suggestions and recommendations from the consultation process.
- Further Consultation: The revised draft will then be shared with the original respondents for further consultation. This will give them an opportunity to see how their feedback has been incorporated and to provide additional comments or suggestions.
- Finalizing the Charter: After the second round of consultation, any additional feedback will be incorporated, and the final version of the Charter will be created.
- Sharing the Charter: The final version of the Charter will be shared via Decentered Media. This will include a blog post explaining the consultation process, how the feedback was incorporated, and the key principles of the final Charter. The Charter will also be promoted on Decentered Media’s social media channels to reach a wider audience.
- Ongoing Engagement: Even after the Charter is finalized, ongoing engagement with the community will be important. This could include regular check-ins to see how the Charter is being implemented, workshops or seminars to educate individuals about the Charter, and opportunities for individuals to provide feedback or share their experiences with the Charter.
By following these steps, we can ensure that the Community Cohesion Charter is a collaborative effort that reflects the needs and perspectives of the community it serves.