CoE: Community Media, “a counterbalance to increased media concentration”

The Committee of Ministers at the Council of Europe adopted on 7th of March  the Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)1[1] of the Committee of Ministers to member States on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership

After the Declaration on the role of community media in promoting social cohesion and intercultural dialogue which was adopted in 2009, this is the first recommendation referring to the role of Community media regarding media pluralism and media literacy. 

In its preamble, the Declaration says: 

9.         Independent and sustainable public service and not-for-profit community media can serve as . By virtue of their remit and organisation, public service media are particularly suited to address the informational needs and interests of all sections of society, as is true of community media in respect of their constituent users.

Furthermore:

2.11.     States should encourage and support the establishment and functioning of minority, regional, local and not-for-profit community media, including by providing financial mechanisms to foster their development. Such independent media give a voice to communities and individuals on topics relevant to their needs and interests, and are thus instrumental in creating public exposure for issues that may not be represented in the mainstream media and in facilitating inclusive and participatory processes of dialogue within and across communities and at regional and local levels.

regarding media literacy: 

5.4.      States should encourage all media, without interfering with their editorial independence, to promote media literacy through policies, strategies and activities. Public service media and community media can play leading roles in promoting media literacy by virtue of their objectives, mandates and working methods. States should also promote media literacy through support schemes for media, taking into account the particular roles of public service media and community media.

CMFE contributed as an observer to the working group which developed the text of the recommendation. There is a new working group which started this week to develop a recommendation on promoting a favourable environment for quality journalism in the digital age and a study on a possible standard-setting instrument on the promotion of media and information literacy in the digital environment. Nadia Bellardi from CMFE was nominated as an expert for this committee and was elected as rapporteur.