Community Media Sustainability

Community media, whether broadcast or online, are crucial to ensuring media pluralism and freedom of expression, and are an indicator of a healthy democratic society. As an alternative medium to public and commercial media, as well as social media, they are characterized by their accountability to, and participation of, the communities they serve. They have a greater focus on local issues of concern and facilitate public platforms for debate and discussion.

UNESCO advocates strongly for community media that are independent and which are run for and by the community. We support this through capacity-building and training activities, including through Empowering Local Radio through ICTs. Community radio in particular is crucial for providing an outreach mechanism for increased access to education, self-expression and communication among rural and hard-to-reach populations. Such stations allow communities a sense of ownership about their own development agenda, becoming self-empowered to publicly express opinion, debate issues, and promote the culture, history and language of their community.

In line with the recently-adopted Recommendations for Community Media Sustainability, the long term viability of community media must be encouraged through supportive policies and strategies, including legal recognition, fair access to spectrum and licensing, sustainable sources of funding and inclusion in considerations around digital transition.