February 12, 2013, Suva. Community broadcasters and advocates have called for legislative reform and recommended that media policy formulation should involve CSOs and recognize community as a distinct sector especially with regard to licensing, fees and spectrum allocation.
Issues concerning development of community broadcasting in Pacific Island countries were also raised during the inaugural Pacific Islands Community Radio Roundtable held between 11 and 12 February 2013 in Suva, Fiji Islands. The Roundtable was convened jointly by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC Asia Pacific) and FemLINKPACIFIC in collaboration with the WACC Pacific regional committee. More than 50 participants highlighted across Asia-Pacific participated in the consultations. The need to place communication rights at the centre of media democratization was highlighted and co-related to the Pacific Islands Forum’s Digital Strategy in the context of needs and realities of different Pacific Island countries.
The Pacific Community Radio Round Table has upheld the importance of Community radio as an alternative media that provides a unique platform for the underrepresented and marginalized – women, people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and indigenous people. It discussed and highlighted the value of community broadcasting as a mechanism for poverty eradication and disaster risk reduction. It has called for working with governments as partners in enhancing community broadcasting but clarified that governments didn’t qualify as broadcasters or owners of community radio stations.
The roundtable was held in conjunction with FemLINKPACIFIC’s Annual Young Women’s Media and Advocacy Skills Training Programme – an important interactive learning and production space for a core team of young women producers and broadcasters drawn from the Regional network on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 as well as other civil society partner networks who are keen to gain practical community-media skills to enhance and amplify the collective call for a peaceful Pacific Island region.
Participants of the Training Program will be attending the Community Radio workshop that was inaugurated today in Suva at the Fiji National University.
The Pacific Community radio Round Table and capacity building workshops are supported by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme and New Zealand Aid Programme.
AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 130 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighborhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal. It has regional sections in Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Caribbean. For further information please contact Suman Basnet, Regional Coordinator, AMARC Asia Pacific, suman_basnet@asiapacific.