Anniversary of the AMARC Declaration

WE, the representatives and members of AMARC from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and North America, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the Amman Declaration, ratified by participant community radio broadcasters members of AMARC during its 9th General Assembly in Amman, Jordan, November 16th 2006. TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the Joint Declaration on Diversity in Broadcasting adopted on 12 December 2007 by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the ACHPR (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.

DECLARE: State Obligations That the principles set out in AMARC’s Principles on Democratic Regulation in Community Broadcasting (May 3, 2008) should be respected by governments as appropriate standards in this area. As such, they should be integrated into legal and policy frameworks, taking into account different cultural and development contexts. Specifically,

* States should ensure respect for their international obligations in the area of freedom of expression, including in relation to community media.

* Community broadcasting should be recognized in national laws and policies as having distinct characteristics, and community broadcasters should be guaranteed fair and equitable access to the radio frequency spectrum and other broadcast distribution platforms, including digital platforms.

* Procedures for allocating licences and frequencies to community broadcasters should be fair, open and transparent, and the implementation of these procedures should be overseen by an independent regulatory body.

* Community broadcasters should have access to a diversity of funding sources free of unreasonable restrictions. This may include public funds which are administered in a manner that does not compromise their independence.

* States should take adequate measures to end the climate of impunity, and such measures should include devoting sufficient resources and attention to preventing attacks of governments and others on journalists, community radio stations and independent media and newspapers exercising their right to freedom of expression, investigating such attacks when they do occur, bringing those responsible to justice and compensating victims.

* States should take appropriate steps to ensure that community radio and television broadcasters have access to digital and all new technologies to assist them in their work. States should also take the steps needed to ensure reasonable and equitable access by community broadcasters to satellite radio.

Community Broadcasters We commit ourselves to challenge the dominant negative and stereotypical images of women in the media. We reaffirm our commitment that women’s access to and participation in decision-making in the media should be guaranteed at all levels and that producing programs that celebrate women’s diversity and highlight their contribution to society should be promoted. We remain committed to addressing the specific needs of children and youth both in our programming and through promoting the participation of children and youth in the production of community broadcast programming.

We are committed to supporting the development of community radio in new countries and to developing solidarity and lobbying for further international and national recognition of community radio’s social contribution where it is in jeopardy. We are committed to enhancing the role of community radio in achieving the millenium development goals, conflict resolution, peace building, poverty alleviation and confronting disaster management, climate change and environment deterioration by reinforcing the links and coordination between community radios and NGOs, researchers, civil society movements and stakeholders .

We stress the critical importance of community radio in empowering local communities through education, learning knowledge exchange and building capacities in communities.

We stress the role of community radio as a producer of culture, in strengthening cultural rights and, in particular, the rights of linguistic and cultural minorities. We recognize that community radio plays an important role in helping particularly to communicate and in protecting francophone culture in Canada. We conclude this event by reaffirming our commitment to realize our demands in this Declaration and we pledge to continue our work for the promotion and protection of people’s communication rights and all rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Montreal, 7 November 2008.