Community media

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Community media is any form of media that is created and controlled by a community, either a geographic community or a community of identity or interest. Community media is separate from commercial media, state run media, or public broadcasting. And it help person to know about his surroundings

Definition and function[edit]

Community media has been described, in a broad sense, as "community communication" as the structure of the media is horizontal where the content is generated and circulated by and within the community that owns it.[1]:7

The International Association of Media and Communication Research states that community media "originates, circulates, and resonates from the sphere of civil society".[1]:4 As media created by civil society, there is an implied component of civic engagement in the production of community media.[1]:4[further explanation needed]

The nascent impetus for community media analysis stemmed from the efforts to "democratize" the media.[1]:17[clarification needed] and civil society requires communication platforms.[1]:35

Commercial influences[edit]

Although there is a clear aversion to engage with commercial forces in the production of community media, there may be times when some market interaction is desirable.[1]:4[further explanation needed]

Grassroots media[edit]

Grassroots media is focused more specifically on media making by and for the local community that it serves making the discussion more narrow and precise.[2] It is essentially a subset focusing on small scale media projects which aim to bring different visions and perspectives to the "codes" ,that are so easily embedded in the social psyche.[1]:23[clarification needed]

History in the USA[edit]

The first Public-access television station in the United States considered to be community media was set up in 1968 in Dale City, Virginia. It was managed by the city's Junior Chamber of Commerce and ran programming for two years without advertising. It closed due to lack of financing, equipment, and infrastructure.[3]:5 Another early example of community media is found in the counter-culture video collectives of the 1960s and 1970s.

Videofreex, Video Free America, and Global Village used new technologies to the benefit of community interests. In addition, the Raindance Corporation founded by Michael Shamberg, Paul Ryan, and others became known as "guerrilla television." The premise of guerrilla television was to non-violently blaze a new trail for the creation of media as an alternative to broadcast television. This initial activity was made possible by Sony's introduction of the video Porta-Pak.[3]:6

Current Status[edit]

Community media in the US does have some lobbying efforts. One of these is the Alliance for Community media, which “works to protect the interests of [communitymedia centers]”.[4] They do not provide technical training for running multimedia operations rather, they work to support these centers through advocacy and education about what community media is.[4] A major resource for those seeking access to community media in the United States is the Community Media Database. The Community Media Database acts as a directory for the community media companies located around the United States. Here, users can use the interactive map to find community media access in their area, as well as other resources on organizations whose focus is to advance the cause of community media within the country.[5] The Alliance for Community media also represents local community groups, public schools, religious institutions, colleges and universities, government officials, second language communities, and national institutions (NASA, the US Department ofEducation, the US Army).To become a single member of the alliance one must pay an fee of $200.[4] This fee is for those who work for the cause of Community Media and the ACM (e.g. staff, government officials, board directors). Supporters can pay a fee of only $50 and get membership to the regional group, single access to the ACM listserv, and discounted rates to ACM and Regional conferences and educational events. Examples of people who would get the supporter members are volunteers, students, and retirees. However anyone can sign up to get updates and newsletters from the ACM for free. An example of Community Media can be found in Washington, D.C., with a focus on the fight to gain statehood for D.C. One site for community media include the DCi Reporter which is an online website reporting D.C. area news and statehood news.[6] Another is the public access, DCTV which has a wide variety of programming for D.C. residents, and also reports on D.C. statehood news.[7]

The Benton Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Charles Benton in 1981 to ensure that media “serves the public interest and enhances democracy”.[8] The foundation seeks to raise awareness and accessibility to community within the United States. They also have a strong focus on ensuring that media contentis responsive and centralized to local communities.

History in Canada[edit]

Canada also has a central role in the development of community media and is by many considered the birthplace of community broadcasting.[1]:48 In the 1960s, the National Film Board of Canada set up a project called Challenge for Change which was a series of documentary films addressing socio-economic issues. Once again Sony's Porta-Pak proved revolutionary in Canada as well. In 1968, filmmakers Bonny Klein and Dorothy He`naut persuaded Challenge for Change to take on more local community issues. During the same year they trained members of the St. Jacques Citizens' Committee in video production. The committee went into the Montreal slums and captured interview footage with poor people and then presented the video in public meetings for discussion.[3]:4

The history of community radio dates back to amateur radio organizations that formed in 1906.[1]:62 From a historical perspective, the seminal example of community radio is Lewis Hill's Pacifica Radio. KPFA in Berkeley, California began broadcasting in 1949 after acquiring an FCC license for FM spectrum. This first Pacifica station was funded through listener support and philanthropic foundations. Pacifica's mandate, that Hill expressed as "to engage in any activity that shall contribute to the lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds, and colors," has served to frame the community media movement through its historical and technological development.[1]:64

Community Media in China[edit]

Community media in China serves as a tool for the propaganda department to promote its ideologies. It is a strictly government operated media includes television, radio and newspaper. This refers to the unique historical condition (Tiananmen Square Protests)[9] of a wealthy and powerful Communist Party-governed state that lacks democracy. The Communist Party governs everything and everyone, and answers to thing but itself. It stands above the law. WeChat has all the features of Facebook Messenger, the usefulness of Venmo and Paypal. Users can post Moments on their walls, order taxi service or movie tickets, and in general utilize the app not just for communication but for daily services. Anything that is posted on or is sent out to friends on WeChat are being monitored by the Chinese government.

“Sina weibo” is like a Chinese microblog. There are almost 540 million people are users of Sina weibo[10]. It is a stage for people to post their comments, pictures, videos, articles and advertisements. Now, there are many celebrities using this stage to post advertisement and get more attention from people, not only the Chinese celebrities are using Sina weibo, there are some Korean, Hollywood celebrities are communicating with their followers through this special community media. Anyone can register an account and it has to be verified by the real ID. But people do not have to use their real information after resisting, and they are free to talk about their own life but if there are some information that against the political policy, then it will be deleted.

History in Bangladesh[edit]

Community media are widely recognized by governments, international development agencies, and civil society organizations alike as key agents of participatory development. Their reach and practices are a unique way of reaching and involving people. This is particularly true of community radio, the most prevalent of all community media, which is a vital alternative both to state owned and commercial private radio. Community radio‘s affordability and reach make it a powerful agent of social change.

Recognition of community radio as a legitimate and key element in development efforts and the potential to empower marginalized and disenfranchised communities, has pushed a number of countries to introduce laws and regulations that acknowledge community radios as a distinct media sector. In those countries an enabling environment for community radios has been created.

Despite these advances, challenges persist at global and regional level and in their joint 2010 statement the four international special UN mandated rapporteurs on freedom of expression (*) expressed their concerns at the lack of specific legal recognition of the community broadcasting sector in licensing systems which are based on criteria that are appropriate to this sector as well as the failure to reserve adequate frequencies for community broadcasters or to establish appropriate funding support mechanism .

The Ministry of Information Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh has declared Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy 2008, which was the citizens’ expectation since the year 1998. Accordingly in April, 2010, Ministry of Information has approved 14 Community Radio Stations to operate for the first time in the country.

After the approval of license Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has allocated frequency and then the Community Radio stations started broadcasting from 2011.

Now 14 Community Radio Stations are on-air in the country, aiming to ensure empowerment and right to information for the rural community. They are broadcasting altogether 120 hours program per day on information, education, local entertainment and development motivation activities. Around 536 Youth Women & Youth are now working with those Stations throughout the country as rural broadcasters

These programs are quite supportive to the activities reflected in 6th 5-year plan of Government of Bangladesh, UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS) Action Plan, and UN Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs) and UN Convention Against Corruption (UN CAC)

The success of the 1st batch of Community Radio stations has earned appreciation from all levels because of their commendable success. For that we give our thanks to those initiating organizations.

We are also giving thanks to the Ministry of Information that it is because of their good intention and sincere efforts which made possible a full-fledged community radio policy, the only one in South East Asia. India has got only a Guideline to operate Community Radio stations, while Nepal does not have any of this kind. In 2012 Ministry of Information has declared National Strategy for Community Radio to support implementation of Community Radio Installation, broadcast and Operation Policy.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication is promoting the advocacy with the government in relations to community radio with other organizations since its emergence from 2000. BNNRC has been addressing the community radio and community TV access issue for over a decade, helping to bridge the information gap of rural Bangladesh.

The reality of today is that the bondage between the community people and local-level community radio stations are getting strengthened day-by-day. Community Radio has now become their part of life. Community Radio becomes the instrument for the livelihood battle of the rural people.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication established the Community Media News Agency (CMNA), Community Media Academy (CMA) and Monthly Community Media to share development news & building capacity for the Community Media sector in Bangladesh.

We have now started advocacy with the Government of Bangladesh to open up Community Television for Development. We hope that, community television will come into being within a short time in Bangladesh.

In this context the present status of community radio stations regarding social, economic and institutional sustainability can be pointed as below:

Social Sustainability: i. Management Committee formed at 14 Community Radio station level ii. Advisory Committee formed for each station that included UNO and Additional District Commissioner iii. 2115 Listeners Clubs formed at CR Station level iv. The present number of CR listeners is around 46,47,000 v. People of 67 Upazila under 13 districts now listen Community Radio Programs

Sustainability at Govt. level: i. Ministry of Information declared Community Radio Installation, broadcast and operation Policy 2008. ii. Ministry of Information prepared and declared Community Radio Strategy 2012 iii. Digital Bangladesh Strategy Paper-prepared by the Prime Minister’s Office iv. Charter of Chang 2008 Institutional Sustainability i. Presently 14 community radio stations are broadcasting different stations ii. Every day all the stations are broadcasting a total of 109 hours program iii. Code of Conduct for Community Radio formulated iv. Gender Policy for Community Radio prepared and published iv. Human Resource Development Policy formulation for Community Radio Stations (in process) v. Financial Management Policy formulation (in process)

Economic Sustainability i. Non-Profitable business model (under process) ii. Funding of development partners iii. Facilitation of Initiating organization iv. Formulation and Implementation of Development Advertisement Policy v. Sharing allocation of local and national budget/s. vi. Community Radio Development Fund creation and operation.

Potentials of Community Radio in Bangladesh a. Community Radio has created scope for the poor and marginalized community to raise their own voice; it becomes the voice for the voiceless. This neo-media outlets opened scope to establish their rights of Information and communication in social, political, cultural and environmental arena.

b. Scope widened for poverty reduction and sustainable development because of the rights to raise voice of the community and accessibility to knowledge and information.

c. Scope opened for exchange of dialogue between local elected representatives, govt. and NGO professionals for the sake of establishing good governance.

d. Direct linkage established between the community and the main sectors reflected in MDGs and 6th 5-year plan.

e. Scope created for Social debate, inclusion and preservation of cultural diversity by ensuring the inclusion of the marginalized community.

f. Community Radio is now able to play more active role in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) due to establishment of effective linkage between the govt. departments and local/rural community.

Already the Community radio programs have been widely accepted among the local community.14 community radio stations presently covers more than 4.6 million listeners. This journey was not a bed of roses, we are to cross ups and downs-everyday we are to face newer challenges.

The Community Radios are becoming an active ground for organizing dialogues at rural level. These dialogues will help the rural mass to find out their own voice and ensure leverage their free opinion in respect of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental issues

History in Europe[edit]

Community television and radio in Europe arose "from criticism of a monopolistic public service system that was considered out of touch".[1]:78 The experimental period of community media expression in Europe began in the 1970s after North American Public-access television was underway. It was therefore seen as a model but also understood that the media environments were structurally different.[1]:82

A powerful community media example external to both North America and Europe is the Bolivian Miners' Radio of the 1940s. The station was established by the local miner's union and became an important tool for communication, resistance, and educational and cultural expression.[1]:17

History in Chile[edit]

During the 1960s and 1970s, several catholic groups across Latin America drawing inspiration from liberation theology, formed their own community media projects from Patagonia to the Rio Grande. They explored several diverse technologies including theater, dance, puppets, mural paint, loudspeakers in their alternative media projects. One of the key figures in this media restructuring process was the Catholic Bishop Juan Luis Ysern and his communication project Radio Estrella Del Mar(REM), located on the archipelago of Chiloe in Southern Chile. REM was first conceived as a medium that serves the communities in the region of Chiloe. Started during the period of Pinochet dictatorship, REM produced several radio shows and news features and still continues to broadcast locally produced programmes by the communities 24 hours a day. The current director of REM, Miguel Millar says:

"The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure that both the administration of the radio and most of the programming stay under the control of the community." [11]

Modes of community media[edit]

Radio is the most widespread electronic communications device in the world and community radio is a practical and cost-effective means of reaching and connecting the world's poorest communities.[1]:4[needs update]

The initial discourse around Internet technology, for example Google Network, facebooking or Ownmirror show up emphasized the important potential for democracy and participation within global and real-time contexts. This "cyberdemocracy" was premised on the direct relationship between technology and the growth of civil society.[1]:164

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Rennie, Ellie (2006-06-28). Community Media: A Global Introduction (Critical Media Studies). Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-3925-9. 
  2. ^ Riismandel, Paul "About Grassroots and Community Media" September 1996. Retrieved 2013-04-30
  3. ^ a b c Olson, Bill (2000-05-12). "The History Of Public Access Television". Archived from the original on 2006-06-15. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  4. ^ a b c "Alliance for Community Media". allcommunitymedia. 2017. 
  5. ^ "Community Media Database". 2017. 
  6. ^ "DCiReporter". 2017. 
  7. ^ "DCTV". 
  8. ^ "Benton Foundation". 2017. 
  9. ^ "What Caused the Tiananmen Square Protests?". 2017. 
  10. ^ "Homepage Weibo". 2017. 
  11. ^ Couldry, Nick; Curran, James (2003). Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. ISBN 0742523845. 


  • Wilson C.(2007) Role and effectiveness of conservation boards as a community voice in conservation management. Science for Conservation 273. p 34. Department of Conservation, New Zealand. [1]
  • Nigg, Heinz and Graham Wade (1980) Community Media. Zurich: Regenbogen Verlag. Free download:
  • Kern European Affairs (KEA)(2007) The State Of Community Media In The European Union (Study). Directorate General Internal Policies of the Union, Policy Department Structural and Cohesion Policies, Culture and Education. [2]
  • Buckley, S. (2011) Community media: a good practice handbook. Paris, UNESCO, 2011, ISBN 978-92-3-104210-2 [3]
  • Hughes, Stella; Eashwar, Sucharita; Jennings, Venus Easwaran (2004; 2006) How to get started and keep going: a guide to Community Multimedia Centres. UNESCO Document, ISBN 92-990029-0-8 (Fre); 92-9089-092-4 (Spa); 5-7712-0351-3 (Rus)
  • Carpentier N., Salvatore S. (2010) Community media’s long march, Telematics and Informatics, Volume 27, Issue 2, May 2010, Pages 115-118
  • Howley. K. (2012) Understanding Community Media, SAGE Publications, Inc, Paperback ISBN 9781412959056, Hardcover ISBN 9781412959049
  • Fuller, L. (ed.) (2007), Community Media - International Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 9781403977946
  • Rodriguez, C., (2003) "The Bishop and his star: Citizen's communication in southern Chile" from Couldry, N. and Curran, J., Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in the Networked World pp.177-194, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. ISBN 0742523845

External links[edit]