In recent years there have been intense discussions in many countries and regions on adopting new regulations on Community broadcasting, on the light of increasing technological convergence and digitalization as well as a worrisome trend for media concentration.
In some countries there have been advances in legislation for community radio, nonetheless, in many others, regulatory frameworks are clear violations of Freedom of expression.
Together with other freedom of expression advocates and defenders we have denounced discretional and discriminatory practices for frequency allocation, with no limits to concentration of property, on barriers to indigenous communities, social and women organizations for equal access to the media. There are also technical or economical limitations that hinder their capacity to communicate, a situation that leads in many occasion, to silence of the diversity of voices Heard.
In this regard, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, AMARC, the human rights perspective is essential to the formulation and guidance on discussion on legislative reforms and regulatory frameworks debates because it offers an alternative perspective to mere technical or economic considerations.
The Community radio movement has a long experience in defending the right to communicate. At the global level the broadcasting regulatory frameworks have been centered in the administration of licences as market goods, facilitating concentration of property in a few. We then insist that a just frequency allocation for radio broadcasting is a key principle to analyse the degree of freedom of expression and respect for human rights in a country.
As reaffirmed by several reports of the United Nations Freedom of Expression Rapporteur, community broadcasting should be expressly recognized as a distinct type of media that should benefit of adequate procedures in the allocation of licences and access to economic resources.
AMARC May 3, 2013