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AMARC launches "Declaration of Principles for Regulatory Frameworks on Community Radio Broadcasting"

(AMARC/IFEX) - The following is a 5 May 2008 AMARC press release:

AMARC lanza Declaración de Principios para Marcos Regulatorios sobre Radiodifusión Comunitaria

AMARC launches Declaration of Principles for Regulatory Frameworks on Community Radio Broadcasting

AMARC-Latin America and the Caribbean (AMARC-ALC) publicly presented its statement "Principles for a Democractic Regulatory Framework for Community Radio and Television Broadcasting", a set of 14 principles that will serve as guidelines for the drafting, approval and implementation of regulations on community broadcasting,compatible with international human rights standards and for ensuring the broadest respect for the rights to communication, information and free expression.

The document is the result of the research project "Best Practices on Regulatory Frameworks in Community Radio Broadcasting", which compared the regulatory frameworks for radio broadcasting in 26 countries on five continents, in order to identify the best practices in legislation and public policies aimed at recognising and promoting community radio and television. The project was carried out over two years by AMARC-ALC's Legislation and Right to Communication Programme, with the support of the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI).

During that time, it also received fundamental support from experts, the boards of directors of community radio stations and networks, as well as representatives of universities, journalists' associations, regional communication networks and organisations defending freedom of expression in various parts of the world. AMARC hopes that the result of these efforts, expressed in this document, may be useful for anyone working to make communications more democratic and to ensure that free expression is fully respected and exercised.

These principles, which are based on the best practices observed around the world, are a fundamental input to ensure that one of the recommendations in the "Joint Declaration on the Diversity of Broadcasting", made by United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the rapporteurs for freedom of expression of both the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR).

That statement affirms that community radio broadcasting should be "explicitly recognised in law as a distinct form of broadcasting, should benefit from fair and simple licensing procedures," should have access to advertising revenue, and that they should not have to meet stringent technological criteria in order to broadcast over radio or television.

These aspects coincide with the recommendations included in the statement, "Principles for a Democratic Regulatory Framework on Community Radio and Television"; therefore, AMARC hopes that this document will be reviewed and be the basis for recommendations by the rapporteurs for free expression and by human rights bodies throughout the world, as an international benchmark to orient the approval of fairer, more democratic regulatory frameworks that are more respectful of freedom of expression.

The Spanish version of the complete document can be consulted at: http://legislaciones.amarc.org

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