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On its 25th anniversary, AMARC reflects on its achievements and ongoing challenges for community radio stations

(AMARC/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a 7 November 2008 AMARC press release:

The AMARC 25th Anniversary Declaration - The Montreal Declaration

In August 1983, community radio broadcasters and community media advocates gathered here in Montreal to establish the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

Today, 25 years on, we are here again in Montreal, representing a global movement of radio producers, communication rights activists, academics, researchers, NGO practitioners, women and men working together to create a more just and humane world through communications and specifically through community radio.

The world has changed in 25 years, and not always for the better. New information and communication technologies have helped the development of community radio but we face the challenge of building a human rights based information society. The expansion of transnational corporate media conglomerates and the concentration of ownership threaten pluralism and diversity of media contents. New challenges such as the environment and climate change accompany social exclusion, poverty, food insecurity, access to clean water and democracy building. The world is confronted with a global financial crisis and a crisis of the neoliberal globalization that will increase social inequalities and the distance between the rich and the poor.

We are here not only to celebrate what we have achieved in the last 25 years but to deliberate and reflect on our political strategies for the future. Radio remains extremely crucial and important in the world today. AMARC has grown to a network of thousands of community radios representing a distinct and dynamic community radio sector advocating for communication rights in more than 118 countries and facing the new challenges of the 21st century. Nonetheless, the absence of legal recognition by governments in many parts of the world and sustainability issues still hinder community radio's potential contribution.

One role for AMARC will definitely remain: AMARC will continue to be a space where people -women and men, young and old, with different needs and abilities, from different political persuasions, religions, sexual orientation, social class, castes and ethnicity - can articulate their views, listen to others and dialogue with each other. It will continue to be a gathering place, a venue for open debates on human rights, gender equality, peace, armed conflict, and a broad range of issues relevant to undeserved and underrepresented communities; issues that otherwise will not find space in corporate and government-run media.

On our 25th anniversary, we reaffirm our commitment to reach out to more people around the world in local communities to encourage more diverse expressions to come together and promote ideals of freedom, democracy, equality, justice and peace.

(. . .)

Montreal, 7 November 2008

To read the full declaration, see: http://www.amarc.org/index.php?p=montreal_25_anniversary_declaration

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