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April 2020 Newsletter

Community Media

in the Era of the Coronavirus

This newsletter includes access to a rich variety of corona relevant resources - including funding sources for (community) media in need!!!

    One of the things that distinguishes community media from other media forms: Public Service, Commercial and even ordinary local media, is that we belong to the community - we are and represent the many communities within our community - we sound like and think like, we suffer like and rejoice like our community. This core distinguishing difference between us and any other media, means that our community generally trusts us. Our community listens to us and follows our advice. This may be the one single-most important factor during these Corona times!!!

    Radio listening and the use of other media platforms has increased dramatically during the past weeks, which presents a wonderful opportunity to show how and why community media are different, relevant, and trustworthy!

    This is the reason why we in this issue of the CMFE newsletter – besides from reporting on advances within the CMFE thematic, strategic goal areas: “Strengthening the enabling environment", "Visibility of Community Media" and "Action and Cooperation for Change", have chosen to share resources, tools, recommendations and stories about community media taking up the torch and making a difference. We also share information about platforms where abuses by Governments under the cover of the Corona Virus - and other trolls - can be reported upon.

    You will find the information and tools on how to “secure quality reporting during the Coronavirus crisis”, including a reminder to not forget the gender lens! This includes tools to secure filtering out disinformation – of which there is a lot during a period like this. We share and link to advice compiled by other organisations, and we share change stories from Bangladesh, Freiburg/Germany, Zurich/Switzerland and Olsztyn/Poland.

    Wonderful information on funding sources for media squeezed by the Corona realities collected by GFMD are shared along with RSF’s tracker of the effects of the Corona reality on media and freedom of expression and of the press. We encourage you to engage so that also community media's realities and challenges can be well included ! 

    While challenging the governments that seek to misuse the Corona virus pandemic in order to restrict access to information, ECMPF shares news from Serbia, that the Prime Minister has backed off from a draconian decree; there has been widespread condemnation of Hungary’s plan to criminalise media that “spread panic and fake news”, to mention a few. We support the work to defend the rights of whistleblowers. 

    In the current crisis. For the health of democracy, human rights must be upheld. Please support all the positive initiatives to this end and stay safe!

    We would love to hear from you: share your recent successes and challenges. Help us make this newsletter a dynamic forum for sharing, listening and learning on community media!

    Stay safe !!!  

    Birgitte Jallov
    CMFE President

    The top photo is from here.

    CMFE Newsletters
    Get previous newsletters HERE !
    Selected CMFE Priority Activities
    Strengthening an enabling environment
    CoE Community Media fact sheet, resource page

    Are you looking for a concise and comprehensive overview of what Community Media do and stand for? Do you need references to international Freedom of Expression standards in support of Community Media? Are you asked to refer to studies and reports showing how Community Media support media and information literacy, social inclusion and intercultural dialogue?

    Then the Council of Europe THEMATIC LEAFLET and dedicated WEBPAGE on Community Media, co-developed by CMFE, are there for you!

    They are available in English and French. If you or your organisation are interested in helping us create further language versions, please get in touch with

    Council of Europe Recommendation on the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems

    On 8 April 2020 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted the

    Recommendation CM/Rec(2020)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems.

    In the Guidelines, a number of obligations of States with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of algorithmic systems are pointed out. In particular, as regards Democratic participation and awareness (1.3), the Committee of Ministers stresses that: “In order to ensure the full exercise of human rights and democratic freedoms, States should foster general public awareness of the capacity, power and consequential impacts of algorithmic systems, including their potential use to manipulate, exploit, deceive or distribute resources...

    Continue reading...
    Improving the Visibility of Community Media
    New Neighbours country reports on media and migration

    If you’re working in the field of media and migration, make sure to check out the New Neighbours fact sheets created by local researchers in cooperation with COMMIT. The reports provide fact-based insights into the area of media and migration in Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Croatia and Spain. The fact sheets serve as a basis for project communication and address issues relevant to the focus group discussions that will be held
    later this year after the broadcast of the New Neighbours’ new TV documentaries in each country.

    More information
    Action for Cooperation and Change
    Securing quality reporting during Coronavirus crisis
    Reporting during and about COVID-19

    Our space on 'Action for Cooperation and Change' in this monht's newsletter focuses on what is being done, what could be done and how to check facts - all during the COVID-19. We are sharing information made available by CMFE members and beyond. CMFE has prepared a member repository on a google drive, available for upload of change stories and information - and for download of inspiration.

    The Swedish Community Radio Federation shared the following with its members:
    Advice on Corona Reporting

    Working effectively on air is important for many reasons, including these:

    • Remember that many older people listen to the radio rather than sit at a computer and stream
    • Remember that the radio reaches ALL directly. The web and social media reach only those who are pro-actively looking for info, and belong in the groups who have already joined the social media
    • There may be a certain risk that the internet is overloaded at certain times, this is not the case for radio on air !

    You could among others consider to:

    • offer churches and communities to broadcast their services through the radio
    • Invite local musicians to broadcast live on the radio
    • Invite local writers to read their works on the radio
    • Offer schools to broadcast lectures and teaching via the radio
    • run classic call-in on health and opportunity to wish a song
    • capture good relief efforts made by volunteers. These are often channelled through FB, but not everyone is there; call them, interview them on the radio for better dissemination
    • reflect on and debate how society can function after the crisis
    • have a call about whether we handle the crisis properly?
    • there are many rumours and pure disinformation about covid-19: counteract or respond to this
    • catch up with new members / employees who have lost their jobs during the crisis, but who want to contribute!

    Are you a teenager involved in a local community media? Are you interested in making your voice heard in the current COVID-19 crisis? Newsrooms doing broadcast, print and online with teenage reporters in 14 countries are already participating in the World Teenage Reporting Project around COVID-19, but there is room for you, too!

    Read more here!

    Media need to remember the gender lens in all COVID-19 coverage!

    Media always have a strong obligation to offer the public professionally produced content and reliable information. Following the current global crisis caused by the Corona virus, Emma Boberg Lygnerud, of the IMS Global Response Department Gender Adviser, encourages media to make it more of a priority to provide a diverse, balanced and gender sensitive coverage.

    Read more!

    UNESCO launches resource to counter disinformation around COVID-19

    To contribute to countering disinformation on COVID-19 and promoting healthy behaviours, UNESCO has produced a series of audio messages that can be freely used by radio stations from around the world. UNESCO is making these resources available to help stop the harm caused by the so called “info-demic” accompanying the virus. The short audio messages (available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic) give useful information on preventive measures, debunk myths about the virus, and highlight the importance of non-discrimination and solidarity.

    Radio spots to inform

    Prevention and protection against COVID-19 and countering disinformation are everyone's concern - and everyone can contribute to sharing reliable information. The audio messages can be freely downloaded and broadcast by public, private and community radio stations in various parts of the world.

    Please broadcast and share these audio recordings.

    If you have questions, please contact here.

    Find the radio spots here
    As a response to the Corona virus crisis, UNESCO also shares tools to distinguish facts from opinion:
    Media and Information Literate Parenting/Guardianship

    UNESCO writes: We are asking for your solidarity and help to Like, Share, and Comment on these micro-learning resources on social media.
    Please see the first two posts on the links below:

    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3
    Link 4
    The European Commission launches a Disinformation Corner on Covid-19

    Discover a selection of online resources and tools for learners, teachers and educators during the outbreak of COVID-19.

    Last week the Commission has launched a disinformation corner under its Coronavirus response website. You can find the link here:

    There is a short URL for each language version, e.g. ,

    Content is updated regularly, as new false narratives are detected and rebuttals are prepared where appropriate.

    We hope you will find these materials and links useful. Feel free to redistribute them within your networks or readapt them to your needs.

    Podcasts and Resources for Journalists on Safety & Reporting during the corona
    Community Media - Hey !!!
    Use RSF's TRACKER-19 live updates!

    The situation is alarming. In China, hundreds of whistleblowers and journalists have disappeared after denouncing the flaws in the regime’s response to the coronavirus crisis. In India, the Kashmir Valley’s residents are deprived of Internet connection and information about Covid-19. In Belarus, an investigative reporter is facing a possible ten-year prison sentence for criticizing the president’s approach to the epidemic.


    Every day we learn about similar and increasingly serious cases ro all over the world. Some governments are clearly using the Covid-19 pandemic to attack reporters, tighten control over the media and reaffirm their news dissemination monopoly. In response to this emergency, RSF has created Tracker-19 to shed light on all Covid-19 impacts of press freedom. Tracker-19 aims to:

    • Document as many of the abuses as possible against journalists and whistleblowers covering coronavirus-related news all over the world.
    • Report all the cases of state censorship and deliberate disinformation linked to Covid-19; and their effects on the right to reliable information.
    • Make pratical recommendations on how to defend the right to information and help journalists covering the pandemic.

    See TRACKER-19

    It's thanks to your solidarity and your support for RSF that this project has seen the light of day. Don’t hesitate to contact us at if you know of any press freedom violations linked to the coronavirus. Help us to continue our actions in support of these journalists who are battling to give us information in these difficult times.

    Closer than ever:
    A guide for social change organisations who want to work online

    The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is a global organisation and network made up of different civil society organisations. Our mission is to challenge discrimination, structural inequality and power structures by working to decolonise the internet and digital technologies and spaces to create a more just and sustainable world.

    We do this by harnessing the collective power of activists, organisations, excluded groups, communities and social movements; embodying a feminist and rights-based approach in shaping and co-creating digital technology and spaces; and ensuring that the internet is governed as a global public resource.

    In this guide, APC shares knowledge harvested through three decades of remote working in the hopes that other non-profit organisations will find it useful for putting systems and practices in place that maximise the benefits of working remotely and mitigate the challenges of working remotely – particularly in the context of this current crisis. We also hope that the experience gained will allow organisations to adopt practices and tools that will benefit them in the longer term.

    Find the guide here!
    COVID-19 for Journalists

    Episode One: Safety and Responsibility

    This is the first of a four-part podcast series called COVID-19 for Journalists. In this episode we speak with Queenter Mbori and Maria Salazar-Ferro.

    Queenter Mbori is an Editor with The Standard Group and the President Standard Group Women Network. Maria Salazar Ferro is director of CPJ’s Emergencies Department, overseeing the organization’s assistance and safety work worldwide. She is president of the board of the ACOS (A Culture of Safety) Alliance, a coalition aimed at improving protections for freelancers. She joined CPJ in 2005 and has served as coordinator for the Journalist Assistance Program and the Global Campaign Against Impunity, and as senior research associate for the Americas program.

    We speak on a range of topics from journalists’ safety to misinformation, surveillance and data tracking.

    Links discussed in this episode:

    Other information sources:

    Stories of action & change during Corona times
    Washing Hands With Ash, And Other COVID-19 Information From Bangladeshi Community Radio

    A month ago, community radio stations in Bangladesh started broadcasting information related to a quickly spreading threat: COVID-19. The amount of this content escalated rapidly: from 25 hours by March 23rd, to 40 hours three days later.

    These 16 stations are non-commercial, donor-supported, locally run, and mostly volunteer-operated. They’re especially useful to communicate with people with low or no literacy, or to keep up with the quickly changing situation on the ground. NGOs like Translators without Borders, which generally depend on face-to-face interaction in Bangladesh, are turning to other formats. “Some of the partners that we’re working with are using radio, which of course is ideal,” says Ellie Kemp, head of crisis response for Translators without Borders.

    Read more
    Our Voice, the voice of refugees in Freiburg and its surroundings
    shares information about Covid-19 in many languages

    In our broadcast we want to show that we are more than "just" refugees. We collect the diverse stories of those people who had to flee and now live in Germany. Refugees tell about their experiences during fleeing, their problems of arriving in Germany, and also about their everyday life. In addition, we report on current socio-political developments about flight, asylum, migration and current events on the subject in Freiburg and in the region.

    Infos und Tipps about what Covid-19 is all about, how you get it and avoid it in German, Arabic, Farsi, Setswana and French.

    Radio LoRa in Zurich changing gear

    Radio LoRa - one of the first multilingual community radios in Europe - continues to send out information to their broad-based group of community broadcasters on how to best collaborate during the Corona crisis - producing programmes from home. 

    Read more!
    Polish Student Radios support learning during CORONA era

    The University of Warmia and Mazury (Olsztyn, Poland) suspended face-to-face teaching on 12th of March 2020. However, the regular e-learning started more than two weeks later – on 27th of March.

    It was the non-commercial student radio located at the University campus which reacted quickly to the lack of access to University education for students but also the citizens of Olsztyn who would like to learn something new during a pandemic. Radio UWM FM started broadcasting academic lectures on 16th of March at 5 pm and continued for as long as two weeks. You can listen to them here

    Who are we in the CMFE? A monthly member portrait
    H-Alter Magazine (Croatia)

    H-Alter ( Magazine from Croatia joined CMFE as a new member in 2017: The publisher of H-Alter Magazine is Association for Independent Media Culture – non-governmental, non-profit organization. It was founded in 2005 by journalists and other employees in electronic publishing, for the purpose of developing independence and professionalism of journalistic profession, and to secure the right of the public to education and information on issues of civil society, culture, social sciences, environment, media freedoms and international relations.

    H-Alter’s journalistic team includes a group of journalists with long working experience; some of them were investigative journalists of newsweek Feral Tribune, awarded in 1990s with several international journalistic awards. Also, journalistic team includes a group of young journalists who established on the portal, teachers from Universities from Croatia and abroad, associates of scientific institutes, students and civil society activists.

    Read much more
    All that you did not know you might be missing...
    C L A S S I F I E D S
    GFMD shares info on sources of emergency funding for media

    The Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) has compiled a list of sources for emergency funding of media and journalists! With warm recognition toward the GFMD and this important work, we are happy to share it here, for it to also reach community media in Europe - and beyond: our readers and users!

    GFMD writes: COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented disruptions to the lives of journalists and media professionals. Beyond the difficulties faced in efforts to cover the crisis safely, with consideration for journalists’ mental and physical health, they also must deal with the severe financial uncertainty caused by the crisis which threatens the very existence of many news organisations. Despite the fact that news organisations have seen a major increase in traffic and news consumption as people attempt to understand the pandemic, journalism’s financial situation is growing increasingly more precarious.

    While scores of news and media development organisations have developed and compiled valuable resources to help cover the pandemic, and many have provided advice on how to keep media businesses afloat, it is impossible for many journalists to do so without some sort of financial assistance. To help alleviate the pressure on newsrooms and journalists, especially freelance journalists, several companies and organisations have committed to financially support the international effort to share valuable and accurate information at a time when it is needed most.

    Financial support for media during COVID-19 Crisis

    The European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) have launched a $3 million USD fund to support hundreds of community, local and regional European news organisations. Emergency core funding will support community engagement, address critical business needs, and facilitate coverage of the pandemic. EJC will prioritise providing grants for small and medium-sized news organisations supporting the communities most affected by the crisis. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found here.

    Internews have launched a rapid response fund to help small, local news organisations worldwide survive in the face of COVID-19. The fund launched with $100,000 to be made available immediately and is targeting $1 million in donations to provide immediate support for journalists globally. The new rapid response fund will give Internews’ local media partners – such as community radio stations and online news outlets in more than 80 countries – access to emergency funding so they can continue to operate in increasingly dire economic conditions.

    The Rory Peck Trust have also launched a COVID-19 Hardship Fund which aims to support freelance journalists during the pandemic. This extraordinary fund will be used to provide practical and financial support to freelance journalists whose work and livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19.

    The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) is providing rolling Coronavirus Grants for U.S. Freelancers. FIJ’s Board of Directors is looking for stories on the coronavirus that break new ground and expose wrongdoing – such as corruption, malfeasance, or abuse of power – in the public and private sectors. FIJ encourages proposals written for ethnic media as well as those submitted by journalists of color and involving the impact of the coronavirus in U.S. ethnic communities. Grants average $5,000 but can be as high as $10,000. They cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental. FIJ also considers requests for small stipends.

    The South Asian Journalists Association are providing a series of Economic Hardship Project Reporting Grants for freelance projects. SAJA is partnering with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project to help finance freelance projects that are focused on covering the coronavirus outbreak and its impacts. The goal is to support freelance journalists who may be facing financial hardship at this time. Two grants, up to $2,500 each, will be awarded to support the projects, which can be in any medium.

    The Judith Neilson Institute has launched 3 different initiatives to support journalism throughout the crisis. JNI will boost funding for freelancers and casual contributors, provide a free news service for Australia’s 450 community radio stations, and help tackle misinformation on COVID-19, including on social media.

    Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) via MacArthur is organising a fund for freelance workers who are experiencing economic hardship and is seeking additional funders to contribute. AIR is committing $25,000 in Phase 1 to assess the range of needs and to cover bills, health care, rent, lost travel expenses, etc. AIR will distribute $599 per response to keep below the $600 W-2 threshold and to assure that undocumented producers can also apply for help. It is anticipated that funds will be distributed in early April. Phase 2 will begin in May in which AIR will commit another $25,000 but are hoping to raise additional funds to offer small, local newsrooms support at higher levels, maxing out at $1500-$2000. Recipients of the fund must be AIR members.

    Women Photograph are offering emergency funds for freelance photographers who have already been hit hard by COVID-19 and will continue to be impacted by loss of assignments as we face this global health crisis. Many independent photojournalists have substandard access to healthcare and cannot afford to face prolonged loss of income. This Emergency Fund is meant to provide a small amount of one-time support to independent women and non-binary photographers who need assistance — there are no restrictions on what the funding can cover: it can be healthcare, childcare, rent, or professional expenses. Photographers may request up to $500 in support

    Brown Institute for Media Innovation is offering a “rapid” micro-grant to help support journalists, technologists, health researchers, data scientists, social scientists, and any and all communities involved in covering the virus. The grant is for $5000 and can be spent for just about any activity that helps inform the public.

    The Pulitzer Center has announced the Coronavirus News Collaboration Challenge, a new grant designed to encourage innovative journalist and newsroom collaboration on the coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic across state and national borders. This opportunity is open to all independent journalists and newsrooms in the United States and abroad.

    The International Women’s Media Foundation’s Journalism Relief Fund with the initial support of Twitter, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the Foundation for a Just Society, is now open to woman-identifying journalists in dire straits – journalists who have faced significant financial hardship, lost work, were recently laid off, or who urgently need assistance to avoid severe, irreversible outcomes. This fund will provide small grants of up to $2,000 USD per request, though special consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to those who may have greater financial needs.

    National Geographic’s new COVID-19 Emergency Journalism Fund will provide a series of grants to top quality storytellers and journalists (individuals, not institutions) who may be “stuck” all over the world. They want to engage them to produce “hyper-local” reporting to address and meet the needs of the most vulnerable and underserved populations negatively impacted by COVID-19. National Geographic will support stories on medical and health impacts, but will also encourage reporting that covers social, emotional, economic, education, and equity issues as well.

    The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) has partnered with Facebook to support the fact-checking community working on the COVID-19 related misinformation with a budget of $1 million. The budget will be distributed as flash grants based on approved proposals including, but not limited to, translation of fact checks from native languages to different languages, multimedia (videos, infographics, podcasts) production about COVID-19, working with health experts for evidence-based and scientific coverage, audience development initiatives that use innovative formats, such as offline or interactive communication, to better reach people with reliable information, and fact-checkers supporting public authorities with reliable information for better communication about COVID-19.

    Facebook has pledged to invest $100 million in the news industry at a time when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic means that accurate reporting is more important than ever. $25 million will be provided in grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, while the remaining $75 million will come in the form of “additional marketing spend” to worldwide news organisations.

    Twitter has donated one million dollars to be evenly distributed between the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation. These funds will be used to ensure these organisations can continue their work in the face of new economic strains and to directly support journalists

    Everyday Life and Everyday Communication in Coronavirus Capitalism

    By Christian Fuchs, University of Westminster.

    In 2020, the coronavirus crisis ruptured societies and their everyday life around the globe. This article is a contribution to critically theorising the changes societies have undergone in the light of the coronavirus crisis. It asks: How have everyday life and everyday communication changed in the coronavirus crisis? How does capitalism shape everyday life and everyday communication during this crisis?

    Section 2 focuses on how social space, everyday life, and everyday communication have changed in the coronavirus crisis. Section 3 focuses on the communication of ideology in the context of coronavirus by analysing the communication of coronavirus conspiracy stories and false coronavirus news.

    The coronavirus crisis is an existential crisis of humanity and society.

    How do all of the challenges influence us - our media work?


    Against the growing politicization and polarization of the discourses on migration, negative narratives on migration seem to be multiplying around us. How can NGOs engage actively to counter such trends without reinforcing existing negative perceptions? Can positive messages and calls for the support of migrants be shared more effectively? What should we be particularly aware of when advocating for the protection of migrants in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis? Find out more about this key issue during our next open civil society webinar on:

    Wednesday, 22 April 2020 at 3pm Geneva time

    Join us for an in-depth presentation by our civil society colleagues from Oxfam Spain and a multi-stakeholder conversation with the Government of Canada and the GFMD Mayors Mechanism, with inputs from the UN Major Group on Children and Youth (UN MGCY). as well as an interactive Q&A session. Interested? Please register here by Tuesday 21 April. All civil society friends are warmly invited to join.

    Link to the Webinar
    CMFE and New Neighbours are CMMA Conference partners - much more in the next newsletters:
    Much more updated information
    Community Media Forum Europe -

    Rue de la Linière 11, Bruxelles

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