ReMC asks the Andalusian Government to include community media in the development of the Audiovisual Law

Seville, November 11, 2014. The Community Media Network (ReMC) calls on the Andalusian regional government to incorporate the 95 citizen proposals developed under the Andalusian Education Forum Communication and Citizenship in the drafting of the Law on Audiovisual Communication for Andalusia . During its Extraordinary Annual Meeting, the ReMC expressed its supports for these proposals, and they were included in the Declaration of Osuna, which focus on establishing a framework for community development nonprofit media while shielding against any possible attempts of unlicensed commercial radios and televisions to try to get a community media licence.

Moreover, the ReMCs is calling for the legislation to implement the constitutional and statutory right to ensure:

  • citizens fully participate in the production processes of the Public Radio and Television Channels and local media (right of access),
  • representation in the boards of regulatory authorities and media literacy
  • and communications training at all educational levels (from high school to adult education and vocational training for employment), among others.

The Declaration of Osuna stresses that the Forum of Planning and Promotion of the Audiovisual Sector (MOISA) for the development of the foundations of the bill has listened to citizen demands, “but it remains to be seeing if these are addressed by the Andalusian Government and Parliament”.

Change in Andalusia to change nationwide

The Audiovisual Bill will be publicised before the end of the year and it will be used to develop the basic state regulations. “The Forum made a great effort to ensure that the proposals don’t conflict with existing laws or regulations. But in the unlikely event that the State Government or any entity believes so, this would only expose the need to change state law and, in that case, the regional government would have to request so, as it is also outlined in the Declaration of Osuna” said the general coordinator of the ReMC, Maria Navarro, representative of the organisation that chose Seville for an extraordinary meeting of the ReMC “due to the opportunities that have opened in Andalusia.”

Navarro notes that the state audiovisual legislation is contrary to international recommendations of the UN and the European Parliament. “Andalucía can lead a change of the broadcasting model that will then be replicated by the other autonomous communities and the state regulatory framework.”

Therefore, the Declaration of Osuna also requests the Spanish state Government and Parliament to review the General Law on Audiovisual Communication. All governments, organisations, groups and individuals are invited to sign the Declaration and to enhance processes of citizen participation that will lead to the redefinition of the audiovisual sector as an “space for the exercise of rights.”

Furthermore, ReMC has urged political parties with and without institutional presence in the state or Andalusian parliaments to adopt this declaration of Osuna, which takes its name from the city near Seville where a dozen community media organisations prepared the draft document in September this year .

The Andalusian Forum for Communication and Citizenship Education was launched in 2010 and brings together over 40 media organizations, neighbourhood associations and consumer, NGOs, trade unions and academic research groups seeking the right to communicate is guaranteed.

An unwanted lawlessness

In Andalusia there are at least a dozen nonprofit community radio where citizens are involved in all areas, from production to decision making. For decades now, in Spain, the public administration has confessed its inability to issue licenses, due to dysfunctional regulatory audiovisual design and lack of political will of the regional and state governments. The proliferation of unlicensed commercial stations and unjustified budget restrictions imposed on community media initiatives are a constant threat to the sector.