Community Media Sustainability Policy Series

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© UNESCO/Joseph Poto-Poto
© UNESCO/Joseph Poto-Poto

Policy Checklist

  DEFINING COMMUNITY BROADCASTING

  • Specifies clearly which communities are to be served (geographic, interest)
  • Outlines criteria for community participation in governance and operations
  • Specifies how independence should be ensured
  • Takes into account programming, including languages used and requirements for local and community-relevant content, including relating to women, youth and other relatively-marginalised groups

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  FORMAL RECOGNITION

  •  Community broadcasting formally recognised as a sector distinct from public and commercial broadcasters
  •  General protections for the media also apply to community broadcasters
  •  Requirements are specific, relevant and not unnecessarily vague or onerous

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  LICENSING SYSTEMS

  • Clear rules for licensing community broadcasters are set out in law
  • Licensing is competitive where demand is higher and is done on an ad hoc basis in lower demand areas
  • Licensing processes for community broadcasters are fair, transparent and accessible, and allow for public input, and are separate from those for commercial broadcasters
  • Reporting processes for community broadcasters are adapted to their capacity and resources

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  SPECTRUM ACCESS

  • Community broadcasters are allocated an equitable portion of the frequency spectrum for broadcasting
  • Community broadcasters are able to broadcast over available frequencies using low-power transmitters and distribute freely over the Internet
  • Cable and/or satellite providers are required to carry community stations for free or for very low fees

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  PROVIDING PUBLIC FUNDING

  • Public fund established for community media, or provision for support from an existing fund
  • The fund is overseen by an independent body with clear and transparent procedures and the rules prevent the fund being used to influence or pressure individual broadcasters
  • Community media are entitled to access foreign sources of funding
  • Subsidies, waivers and reductions of fees and taxes in place to support community media

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  ACCESS TO PRIVATE FUNDING & SUPPORT

  • Community media permitted to obtain commercial sources of funding
  • Limits on commercial funding are in line with those on commercial broadcasters or are offset by public funding
  • Community media permitted to obtain advertising from public sources
  • Community media permitted to obtain financial and volunteer support from their communities
  • Community broadcasters required to report financial information to their community
  • Community broadcasters required to involve community in financial management

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  DIGITAL TRANSITION & DISTRIBUTION

  •  Fair portion of digital broadcasting frequency spectrum reserved for community media
  •  Mechanism in place to support community media with digital transition costs, such as a cross-subsidy from other broadcasters
  •  Analogue transmission preserved for community radio, at least as a temporary measure
  •  Technical and financial support provided for online content distribution

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