Zimbabwe community radio umbrella body ZACRAS had its Press Freedom day activities cancelled by police at the last minute last Saturday.
The Asia-Pacific Regional Board of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, AMARC is deeply concerned by the recent recommendation made by the Australian Commission of Audit to scrap funding for the Community Broadcasting Program. Community Radios in Australia face the danger of being forced off air should the Commission’s recommendations be accepted by the Australian Government.
Maica Lagman, President of AMARC Asia-Pacific, has called the recommendations a complete disregard of the contribution of and the role played by community radios for the political, social and economical development of communities.
“It is rather unfortunate that an important public institution in Australia, a country with a rich heritage of community broadcasting, does not recognize community radio as a legitimate third tier of broadcasting and its invaluable role for protecting rights, especially of the marginalized, including women, indigenous people, and LGBTI community. The audit commission’s recommendations are aimed at completely crippling community radios in Australia and this is not acceptable by any standard. We extend our support to AMARC members in Australia including the sectoral peak bodies — Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, CBAA, National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasting Council, NEMBC, and The Australian Indigenous Communications Association, AICA, in their protest and join them in calling the Government of Australia to not to accept the Audit Commission’s recommendations,” she has said.
On this occasion, the AMARC Asia-Pacific regional board has recalled the Seoul Declaration issued by community broadcasters of the Asia-Pacific region including Australia at the conclusion of the AMARC Regional Assembly of Community Broadcasters, held in Seoul, South Korea in December 2013. While taking into account the valuable role community radio has to play in furthering human development and the expression of and support for human rights, the declaration has called upon the governments of the region to ensure safeguarding community radios in line with the international principles of community broadcasting outlined in the 2010 AMARC “40 Principles of Guaranteeing Diversity and Pluralism in Broadcasting in Audiovisual Communication Services”.
Through service to its members, networking and project implementation, the World Association of Community Radios (AMARC) brings together more than 4,000 community radios, federations and community radio partners in more than 130 countries. The main impact of AMARC since its foundation in 1983 has been to accompany and support the establishment of a global community radio sector. AMARC does lobbying and advocacy for the right to communication internationally, nationally and at the local and neighborhood levels, and defends and promotes the interests of the community radio movement through solidarity, networking and cooperation.