Community Radio Network of AMARC Salutes the First World Radio Day
Montreal, February 7, 2012. Community radio members of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) network salute the World Radio Day to be celebrated for the first this February 13th 2012. Community radios are an ever increasing worldwide tier of broadcast and an essential part of radio spectrum. They contribute from the communities to pluralistic media landscapes and to the exercise of communication rights by citizens. For further information on community radio activities for the World Radio Day, please go to AMARC Website.
The decision to declare February 13th the World Radio Day was adopted by UNESCO following a proposal by the Spanish Academy of Radio and a consultation process supported by AMARC. Please find further information in the UNESCO Website and at the Official World Radio Day.
Since it was first established, radio has proven its impact and universality as a media that is available at low cost all over the world. The main objectives of the World Radio Day are, notably, to raise awareness among the public and the media of the value of io, including in the context of new media. To encourage decision-makers to support setting-up of sustainable and accessible community radio that facilitates access to voice for the excluded and marginalised. World Radio Day should also provide a networking focus for radio proponents and practitioners worldwide, to exchange ideas, experiences and resources.
Through service to members, networking and project implementation, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters AMARC, brings together a network of more than 4,000 community radios, Federations and community media stakeholders in more than 130 countries. The main global impact of AMARC since its creation in 1983, has been to accompany and support the establishment of a worldwide community radio sector that has democratized the media sector. AMARC advocates for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels and defends and promotes the interests of the community radio movement through solidarity, networking and cooperation.
FemLINKPacific Celebrates World Radio Day with “Communicating a Culture of Peace”
As community radio stations around the world mark World Radio Day on February 13, they will be joined by members of a Pacific Island civil society network who in the coming week will reaffirm the role of community radio in their work to bring about Gender Inclusive Conflict Prevention and Non Violent Transformation.
From Nadi to Nausori and Labasa in Fiji, Nukualofa, Bougainville and Solomon Islands they will be coming together in a space dedicated to Communicating a Culture of Peace:
"We have collectively found community radio to be a vital tool for interactive dialogue with rural women and young women which reaffirms that community radios are an essential part of radio spectrum," says the Executive Director of Fiji and the Pacific's first women-led community radio network, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls:
"The key purpose of community radio is to contribute content from the communities to enable pluralistic media landscapes. Participating in a community radio broadcast has enabled market vendors from their stalls, rural women from their homes, to exercise their communication rights. It is because the "suitcase radio station" travelled out to them such as during the annual 16 Days of Community Radio Campaign:
"In Fiji our community radio process enables interactive dialogue. It enables creativity. It enables women from remote communities, often more than 20 to 30 kilometres away from a local town to be heard. It is enabling women with disabilities to be connected through technology as simple as a tape recorder. Women who participate in the community radio process are inspiring others and showing that you don't need to be silenced because you cannot afford the price of a text, or because you are sidelined from decision making because you happen to be young or a woman!"
And to mark World Radio Day, FemLINKPacific will be hosting a Community Radio Roundtable in Suva at its community media centre.
World Radio Day will also mark the start of a production of two new radio series:
"Generation Next Fiji will be embarking on the production of a series on Women in Leadership which will profile a diverse range of women (and young women) who the producers believe epitomise the qualities of leadership they feel strongly about."
And because FemLINKPacific uses community radio as bridge between urban and rural women, a radio drama series which will highlight the issues raised through the organisation's rural Women, Peace and Human Security consultations will be written and produced by the young women:
"Titled "Keeping Up with the Kommunity" it does indeed serve to challenge some of the notions of reality TV but more importantly it is the young women creating a platform to highlight further some very real struggles and challenges that have been raised through the radio interviews that we have broadcast," says Bhagwan-Rolls.
This will be the third radio drama series produced by FemLINKPacific's Generation Next Project who host weekend broadcasts in Suva, monthly broadcasts in Labasa and mobile rural broadcasts using the suitcase radio technology.
According to Bhagwan-Rolls when FemLINKPacific first switched on their community radio station in 2004, it was to enable women, young women, women with disabilities, peace and human rights activists to take to the airwaves without the worry of having to comply with commercial formats or even pay to talk in-depth about their issues:
"What began as monthly broadcasts in Suva with a small team of student volunteers is now a vibrant community radio network with young women in Ba and Tavua, Nadi, Nausori, Labasa and Suva involved in producing indepth interviews, creating radio dramas and other community media content. We are collectively contributing to a transformation of the Pacific media landscape and showing through our policy advocacy which is based on the media content, exactly what values of human rights, peace and human rights mean to everyday women."
Today FemLINKPacific coordinates the operations of 3 community radio stations in Fiji and has supported the development of Tonga's first women-led radio station with partners Ma'afafine moe Famili.
This has been an important tool for a Pacific collaboration firmly grounded in commitments to women's human rights including UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security):
"The Generation Next Project for young women producers and broadcasters in Fiji, Tonga as well as with our partners in Bougainville is also showing how radio technology, and community media more broadly is also a tool for young women's empowerment. They are the media practitioners. They are being supported to develop, produce and broadcast content which reflects their own perspective on critical issues from disability rights, sexual orientation, mental health issues as well as relating realities from market vendors and rural community leaders."
Since 2004 more than 100 young women have been trained as community radio broadcasters. In November 2011 the Generation Next in Labasa, have been operating their own community radio station:
"It is demonstrating that when you invest in young women, they can and will rise to the challenge!"
FemLINKPacific operates FemTALK 89Fm and is a member of WACC and AMARC - the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.
Since 2007 the organisation has convened the Regional Media and Policy Network on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security)
For more information visit www.femlinkpacific.org.fj
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, Executive Director, FemLINKPacific