On Saturday, I attended the Community Media Toolkit workshop with Professor Vinod Pavarala, UNESCO chair of community media at the University of Hyderabad. The event was organised by Lucinda Guy and Alice Armstrong of SoundArt Radio, and took place at Dartington Hall. The event was supported by University of Bath.
Professor Pavarala took us through the principles of self-revelation for community radio that he and his colleagues have developed, and have used in many places around the world. The toolkit is for “continuous improvement of community radio stations, with the quality of performance of a community radio station being seen as something embedded in the core principles of community radio.”
According AMARC (the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters) and UNESCO, community radio stations are characterised by the work they do to promote community development and empowerment. They:
- Serve a recognisable community;
- Promote access to media facilities and to training, production and distribution facilities as a primary step towards full democratisation of the communication system;
- Offer the opportunity to any member of the community to initiate communication and participate in programme making and evaluation, encouraging local creative talent and foster local traditions;
- Use technology appropriate to the economic capability of the people, not that which leads to dependence on external sources;
- Are motivated by community well-being, not commercial considerations;
- Facilitate full interaction between the producers and receivers of messages;
- Are managed and owned by the community members. Community or their representatives have a voice in the financing of radio programmes;
- Promote the right to communicate, assist the free flow of information and opinions, encourage creative expression and contribute to the democratic process and a pluralist society;
- Are editorially independent of government, commercial and religious institutions and political parties in determining their programme policy;
- Provide a right of access to minority and marginalised groups and promote and protect cultural and linguistic diversity; and
- Follow management, programming and employment practices which oppose discrimination and which are open and accountable to supporters, staff and volunteers.