Community media: a good practice handbook

This is a collection of case studies of good practice in community media. Its intention is to provide inspiration and support for those engaged in community media advocacy and to raise awareness and understanding of community media among policy makers and other stakeholders. The collection is focused on electronic media including radio, television, Internet and mobile. It is global in spread, with examples from 30 countries, but primarily drawn from developing countries. This has the additional consequence that radio is predominant in view of its extensive presence today in developing country media environments and its reach into rural as well as urban communities.

Community media are understood in this collection as independent, civil society based media that operate for social benefit and not for profit. They are present in all regions of the world as social movements and community-based organizations have sought a means to express their issues, concerns, cultures and languages. Community media set out to create an alternative both to national public broadcasters, which are often under government control, and to private commercial media. They provide communities with access to information and voice, facilitating community-level debate, information and knowledge sharing and input into public decision-making.

This collection endeavours to draw from a broad range of geopolitical contexts – different regions, cultures, languages and political systems – including urban and rural examples, small and large countries. The criteria of good practice include the adaptability, relevance and sustainability of the case example; whether it is community-owned and participatory; its uniqueness or innovative nature; as well as the evidential base and credibility of the source material.

The collection is organized in three sections. The first section addresses the enabling environment for community media, the second one looks at sustainability and the third one is concerned with social impact. Each case study has a summary of the good practice, a short description that provides further context, plus highlights of some of the key characteristics. References and links are provided for those who seek further information.

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