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Place communications rights at centre of development, radio broadcasters demand

(AMARC/IFEX) - Bangalore, India, February 24, 2010 - Community radio broadcasters from 20 countries of the Asia Pacific region have demanded that people's communications rights be placed at the centre of development. The Bangalore declaration issued at the conclusion of the regional assembly of community radio broadcasters, held in Bangalore, India from 20-23 February 2010, has also called for support for initiatives that aid access to digital and other technological opportunities to enable community broadcasting on an ever-widening scale, while calling for creating spaces on the airwaves for diverse and marginalized voices, irrespective of caste, creed, race, colour, gender, sexuality, faith, difference in ability or any other differences.

Over 300 community broadcasters, activists, NGO representatives, academics, as well as governmental and multilateral institutions, participated in the regional conference organised by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) in collaboration with VOICE, India.

While analysing the situation and challenges for community radio, the conference reaffirmed the need for oppressed and marginalised communities to take control over their own means of communication.

Conference participants attended several knowledge-sharing and capacity-building workshops while engaging in networking with like-minded individuals and institutions from across the region.

The 2nd AMARC Asia Pacific Conference has committed to building alliances with grassroots and human rights movements in order to strengthen communities and the community radio movement and has highlighted the rights of women, migrants, indigenous peoples and the poor. It has called for further recognition of Community Radio in the region as a tool for disaster preparedness, poverty reduction, inclusion, human rights, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

A number of resolutions, on topics ranging from human rights violations in the Philippines, to removing the ban on news in the recently adopted community radio legislation in India, and simplifying license application procedures, to calling on the government of Bangladesh to move forward the process of granting licenses for community broadcasting, were endorsed by the conference participants.

A regional assembly of community radio broadcasters held on 23 February 2010 elected the Asia Pacific Regional Board. The newly elected board of directors is comprised of Ashish Sen, India as President; Maica Lagman, Philippines as deputy president; Shane Elson, Australia as Treasurer; Bianca Miglioretto, Philippines as Women's International Network representative; Raghu Mainali, Nepal as vice-president for South Asia; and Imam Prakoso, Indonesia as vice-president for South East Asia. The assembly also ratified the strategic working plan of AMARC Asia Pacific for 2010-2013.

Representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, The People's Republic of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, The Republic of India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Philippines, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, and observers from Africa, Europe and Latin and North America participated in the conference. The previous AMARC Asia Pacific regional conference was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in November 2005.

Click here for further information on the conference

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