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November 2020

Community media and

Migration - in November

November is over us and this month's thematic focus of the CMFE newsletter is (Community) media and migration. The theme is presented below - and makes up the first part of our newsletter.

Following this in-depth set of insights with our lead theme, the newsletter moves on to tell about our steps to strengthen CMFE through our expert group, through engaging in new partnerships to widen the knowledge and understanding of community media, and we present recent quality recognition awarded to community media programmes; we share funding opportunities; publications and events. Read on!

As always we continue to highlight news and information within our strategic thematic focus areas: enabling environment, visibility, action and coordination! Enjoy!!!

As the second wave rolls out: continue to stay safe !!!

Birgitte Jallov
CMFE President

CMFE Newsletters
Past newsletters
November Theme:
(Community) Media and Migration

Photo: Petra Moser / Radio FRO

    In 2002 I started researching the topic of media and migration, painstakingly piecing together whatever good practice I could come across. I had the chance to work with engaged academics and journalists in Barcelona, and I was convinced that intercultural competences for all media professionals, regardless of their background, would naturally lead us to more inclusive narratives.

    Most media organisations, however, seemed oblivious to the impact of their (mostly negative) reporting about migration and felt little or no responsibility about the stereotypes they were contributing to create. The MUGAK Documentation centre on racism and xenophobia in the Basque Autonomous Community was one of the first to start a systematic media observatory on the portrayal of ethnic minorities in the media, to develop guidelines for journalists, to compile diversity directories and to share good practice examples. Today, we find similar toolkits, handbooks and data in most European countries, and we would assume to have come a long way from the “inmigrantes delincuentes” narrative so well documented by Peio Aierbe of SOS Racismo almost twenty years ago. But is that really the case?

    The topics of migration and diversity are still mostly approached from the point of view of representation, rather than direct participation. Experts, role models and journalists rarely have a migrant or refugee background, regardless of whether they just arrived or have been living “elsewhere” for generations. Women from so-called “minority groups” are even less visible. When they are interviewed, it’s often about this perceived “elsewhere”, (involuntarily) re-enforcing a narrative of otherness and attributing labels. Community media have been the places where, in the past sixteen years, I found the most inspiring examples of radically different and inclusive practices.

    CMFE has given more visibility to these experiences through European project work and has helped create networks and collaborations with other media sectors and civil society. In this special edition of the CMFE newsletter on (community) media and migration, I have tried to collect inspiring references and useful resources in what continues to be a struggle against racism in and through the media.

    Nadia Bellardi,

    Beyond representation
    In 2018 COMMITand CMFE researched whether and how community media were providing migrants and refugees a platform to share their concerns, challenges, and aspirations. The results can be found in the Council of Europe report Spaces of Inclusion - An explorative study on needs of refugees and migrants in the domain of media communication and on responses by community media. If on one hand migrants have been active in community media for decades, compensating the absence of migrant perspectives in mainstream media, access barriers still exist, also in the third media sector. The Spaces of Inclusionreport contains a number of recommendations to community media on how to develop policies for inclusion of refugees and migrants in media management and production and how to streamline good practice in multilingual programming.

    Some of the editorial groups portrayed in the Spaces of Inclusion report have, in the meantime, strengthened their own coordination and capacity-building networks. The online broadcasting platform Colourful Voices provides a space for various intercultural and multilingual productions developed in community radios in Germany, Austria and Luxembourg. The new transcultural network medien.vielfalt! connects media projects involving migrants and refugees across Germany. medien.vielfalt! aims to build bridges and empower voices too seldomly heard – whether because media is only reporting “about” them, or because they are not perceived as experts nor as relevant parts of the audience.

    Racism and exclusion know no borders is the lesson shared by our colleague Daoud Kuttab, director general of the Community Media Network (CMN) in Jordan. In an online event on Enabling migrants to be seen and heard, hosted on October 16 by DW Akademie as part of the virtual conference Displacement and Dialogue, Kuttab said his organization decided to focus on Syrian refugees because “we wanted to counter hate speech and we thought the best way to do that was to have Syrian people themselves talk about their issues.” There are about 1.3 million Syrian refugees who reside in Jordan, many of whom arrived during Syria’s civil war in 2011. “Syrian refugees have no voice. They have no elected representatives, nobody asks for their opinion”, said Kuttab at the event. CMN began by issuing an invitation for college-aged Syrian refugees to learn journalistic skills, specifically on how to produce a radio show, he said. It later evolved into a radio show, Syrians Among Us, which is supported by international NGOs, including WACC Global. “The reason why we did this was we discovered some of the radio stations were using the Syrian refugees as a whipping horse, to attack Syrians, for hate speech,” said Kuttab. Syrians were being accused of bringing the rents up, even for causing traffic jams, he said. Producing their own radio and media contents not only helps refugees, but also addresses xenophobia and helps build bridges with host communities.

    In Italy, women with migrant backgrounds have been sharing their stories of living in Italy in a new podcast called Lunatica. “People listening to the podcast have been surprised to learn new stories they didn’t know existed,” said one of the spokespersons for the project. She added: “They have also realised to have many stereotypes themselves on migrant women.” Lunatica was created by the project Lunenomadi which is one of the outputs of the Emilia Romagna’s based association Nondasola (trad. not alone). Lunenomadi is active since 2006 to welcome migrant women and facilitate their relationships with local women. In this light, Lunatica is an attempt to fight prejudices against migrant women in Italy. The 2020 pandemic has given the opportunity to create a dialogue between migrant women and local women by allowing migrant women to record their stories via Whatsapp. This is how the first eight episodes of the series were created.

    Tools for empowerment
    Misinformation is deliberately splitting society, it is based on dividing narratives that make it more and more difficult to envision equality and collaboration against injustice,” said Prof Myria Georgiou, from the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, in a recent Webinar on the topic of Media & Migration: Counteracting negative narrativesorganised by the EU Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme ( DEAR). According to Prof Georgiou, all too often, migrants are statistics – nameless, sexless, voiceless – in news reports on migration. Migrants are dehumanised, reduced to statistics and presented as a problem, with European experts offering up solutions with no reference to migrants’ personal stories, experience or predicament.

    So how do we change this? Sharing of personal stories and testimonies is a way of helping audiences to relate to migrants as another human being, with likes, needs and worries that they can relate to and empathise with. “Individuals process information at the personal level in a sense asking: ‘How does this affect me in my community?’,” said Prof Georgiou, adding “People engage with big issues by very often thinking in very small and immediate ways.”

    So, changing the narrative is a shared responsibility, and this is what the Reframing Migration Narratives Toolkit aims to help us with. Developed by the International Centre for Policy Advocacy, it is a set of resources for progressive campaigners working to put diversity and inclusion back on the public/policy agenda and counter populist narratives. Based on a reframing approach, it builds on guidelines, core lessons and tools to help us create successful campaigns and do better in engaging the public in the migration debate. Will it work? Check it out and let us know what you think!

    A precious hub for tools to encourage more evidence-based debate and reflection about migration, climate change, populism, nationalism and other complex topics is the Migration Matters website. Since 2016 the Berlin-based NGO has been producing short, educational videos on topics related to migration and diversity, locating the most credible sources of information and offering new perspectives on these questions.

    New perspectives are what is still sorely missing in professional media, with few exceptions. How would our world be like if ‘mainstream’ information was like the VOA Our Voices programmes? Hosted and produced by professional women journalists from Africa, Our Voices lets African women bring the continent’s most pressing issues to the table. The hosts Hayde Adams FitzPatrick, Ayen Bior and Auriane Itangishaka ask questions, share ideas, discuss solutions, and most importantly, bring voices - to the conversation. They’re bringing women’s voices to the conversation because those are the voices we too seldom hear – whether it’s about the U.S. election, the COVID-19 pandemic or the stories of our communities. Check out some of the latest episodes and share the ones which surprised you or impacted you the most!

    New Neighbours national meetings
    The Italian NGO COSPEis organising the New Neighboursnational-level meetings to disseminate the contents and results of our joint EU-funded project. The events will bring together public service media, community media actors, EU offices, civil society organisations, representatives from migrant groups and local authorities to view and discuss the New Neighbours documentaries. The leitmotivis to provide an in-depth look at the media representation of migration and the need for an inclusive and plural perspective, adequately reflecting the richness of cultural diversity in our societies. How do we achieve a balanced narrative, telling the stories of the everyday life of people who, coming from different cultures, share workplaces, schools, sports but also dreams and hopes?

    All events have been reshaped to comply with the national health security COVID-19 rules. Up to now, three national meetings took place – in Italy (in the framework of Terra di Tutti Film Festival), in the Czech Republic and in Germany. The national meeting in Germany took place in Hamburg in cooperation with Refugee Radio Network and Kampnagel Center for Finer Arts. You can watch the recording of the event via the Kampnagel Digital Platform.

    After the documentary screenings, the audience discussed the importance of newsroom openness to experiences of diversity and the need for a renewal in the narrative of the present.

    News from our own CMFE-world
    CLASSIFIEDS: new Awards Section

    Inspired by the below article from the Irish NEAR FM, we will from now on carry a 'Classifieds Section' towards the end of our monthly newsletters, focusing on 'COMMUNITY MEDIA AWARDS'. In this way we take up the below mentioned proposal by NEAR FM to highlight not only the power of community media processes, but also of their quality products and output.

    International recognition for Near FM Community Media

    At Near FM we pride ourselves on producing high quality content for listeners. This includes aspiring for high fidelity audio coupled with interesting and compelling storytelling. In recent years Near FM have submitted some of our programming into international competitions, competing against other media sectors including public service and commercial media outlets. In 2019 Near FM won a prize at the New York Radio festival for their music documentary The Story of JJ Smyth’s. Then in 2020 Near FM won Best Radio Drama at the Celtic Media Awards, beating off competition from public service broadcasters BBC (UK) and RTE (Ireland).

    In autumn of 2020 Near FM Have been nominated for Best European Music Radio programme 2020, for The Hugh Lane Concert Series at the time of the nomination Series Producer Paul Loughran noted:

    ‘We are over the moon to get his nomination. Near FM have been recording in the Hugh Lane Gallery since 2017 and it is an honour for us to capture these magical concerts. We are always astounded by the musicianship, programming and the knowledge of the audience. The sculpture gallery itself is a public space and the concerts are free to attend. The Gallery is one of the finest acoustic spaces in Dublin which makes our job of recording the concerts that much easier.’ The nominated programme can be found here

    Near FM believe it is important to be able to produce material of the highest quality. Community Media are often renowned for high quality projects and processes but output is important too. Not only does it enhance the reputation of community media, it also increases levels of confidence and self-worth of staff and volunteers in the stations. This in turn attracts more people to listen, become members, collaborate with the station for training and production. It also enables more cooperation with community and voluntary groups.

    Strengthening an enabling environment

    Radio Študent, one of the oldest independent non-profit community radio stations in Europe (established in Ljubljana in 1969), has launched a lobbying campaign addressing the draft proposal for the new Mass Media Act with the aim of achieving appropriate regulations for the status of community media in Slovenia.

    Radio Študent (RŠ) is the only media platform of its kind in Slovenia, providing media space for minorities, various other social & interest groups, and communities. It has been a staunch defender of its mission to give voice to students and under-represented social groups for 51 years. Striving for promoting the values and importance of independent professional journalism for new generations has resulted in a community of over 200 program contributors and journalists in the fields of politics, music, culture, science and education, fostering a culture of critique, in-depth research and reporting, journalistic integrity, credibility and pluralism of opinions.

    However, maintaining a non-profit community media outlet in Slovenia has always been quite a challenge for Radio Študent since the Third Media Sector has never been fully recognised on a legislative level in Slovenia, leaving the radio with no appropriate systemic funding for its core activities.

    Read more!
    Visibility of Community Media
    Community Radio Lille, France, celebrates 50 year anniversary with documentary - have a look!

    A 50 year community radio anniversary celebrated by
    Campus Radio Lille about their own history!!!

    Join them and us in celebrating!!!

    CMFE profiled by GFMD
    - Global Forum for Media Development

    CMFE is a new member of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and was therefore invited to present itself to the 200+ GFMD membership on October 22 under the heading:


    Covering a lot of ground, you will in the attached one hour recording find a presentation including CMFE’s origin, mission, membership and organisation; CMFE’s strategic thematic work areas and goals; CMFE’s recent research and collaboration projects; and CMFE’s plans for the future.

    We would love any reactions, comments, reflections, ideas popping up while watching? Enjoy!

    Have a look!
    Action for Cooperation and Change
    Annual Congress of German Free Radios

    Did you miss the yearly Congress of our colleagues from the German Free Radios Federation BFR (Bundesverband Freier Radios)? In the coming days you will find the documentation of the “Zukunftswerkstatt Community Media” online! The Congress took place from November 6th to 8th online with support of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Landesmedienanstalten and the Landesanstalt für Kommunikation and hosted a variety of workshops and panels discussing the impact of COVID-19 on community radios, polarisation, digitalisation, gender and more.

    In Germany the Third Media Sector, which we in many other countries call 'Community Media', are called 'Freie Medien', i.e. 'Free Radios'.

    CMFE Expert Group Mobilised

    An integral part of the CMFE organisation, the CMFE Experts' Group is made up by 28 community media specialists from Academia, Research, Community Media Organisations and networks of consultants and other specialists, who are committed to work with CMFE to advance our advocacy, visibility and coordination mandate.

    To chart a productive yet realistic way forward, we had agreed to meet online to share our different plans and engagements, to potentially further envigorate the collaboration between the CMFE board, our network of researchers and activists, in a zoom meeting on November3.

    While CMFE have our priority work areas outlined in our strategic plan focusing on (i) the legal. enabling environment for community media; (ii) the visibility of community meia; and (iii) Cooperation and change, the follwoing focus areas were identified as of (urgent) importance, and areas, where the Experts present should like to prioritise their engagement with CMFE:

    Legal and enabling environment:

    Law and policy; Media Pluralism Monitor; Media Literacy, advocacy and policy; Distribution of Community Medi.

    Visibility and Understanding of Community Media

    Community Media lecture series by Bournemouth University and CMFE in collaboration; Having UNESCO Chairs on Community Media on all continents.

    Who are we in the CMFE? A monthly member portrait
    National Union of French Free Radios -Syndicat National des Radios Libres

    The Union of French community radio stations has existed since the 70s and focuses its work on:

    • diversity and prevention of discriminaration;
    • the French languages;
    • spectrum management and technological innovation;
    • artistic expression;
    • cultural expression;
    • the union's communication and professional work area;
    • social affairs and professional training;
    • European and international networking;
    • education , la Francofonie and collaboration ;
    • social and solidaric collaboration and partnerships.

      More on SNRL
      All that you did not know you might be missing...
      C L A S S I F I E D S
      Community Media Awards - Europe

      Our new classifieds section this time highlights NEAR FM based in Greater Dublin, Ireland. We hope to receive more information from many more of our partners and members for this section in the future:

      2020 Near FM won Best Radio Drama at the Celtic Media Awards, beating off competition from public service broadcasters BBC (UK) and RTE (Ireland).

      2020, autumn, Near FM Have been nominated for Best European Music Radio programme 2020, for The Hugh Lane Concert Series. The nominated programme can be found here.

      Hate Speech & Platform Regulation

      The Institute for Information, Telecommunication and Media Law (ITM) at the University of Münster and the University of Helsinki are organizing a series of workshops on “Hate Speech & Platform Regulation” on November 17th, 24th and 26th, 2020, 15pm-17pm.

      In the three Zoom events international scientists and practitioners will present their research and concepts in 15-minute lectures, followed by an open discussion.

      You are invited to join in the workshop and the discussions here:

      More here!
      Migration and Media Awareness 2021

      CMMA2020 has been postponed from its original 2020 programme plan due to Corona.

      In 2021 the conference theme remains: “Looking Back, Thinking Ahead” and will focus on the importance of inclusion, diversity, and participation.

      CMFE is happy to be a core partner of CMMA 2021.

      Save the date!!!

      Read More!
      Global Community Media Dialogues
      Latin America

      Building peace and social justice through Community Radio in Latin America

      The final of 11 Global Dialogues organised by the UNESCO Chair on Community Media in collaboration with local actors will take place on November 23, 2020.

      Info here!

      The past dialogues can be found here, focusing on Community Media in the post-Corona world:

      The generic questions address what has been found to be the role and impact of community media during the Corona crisis, and what can we learn from it - and do next?

      CMFE has worked closely with the Chair on the European dialogues. All the recorded dialogues can be found here.

      Take the Media Literacy survey!!!

      If you are an individual or representative of an NGO, CBO, association, network, training/academic institution, media organization, regulatory body (such as broadcasting commissions), library, technological intermediary (such as social media, internet service provider, technology company, etc.), or other information provider, public or private entity, research institution, intergovernmental body and you or your organization is involved in media and information literacy related activities (information literacy, media literacy, digital literacy, etc.), whether online or offline, then this survey is relevant to you.

      Today, UNESCO, the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance, and partners have launched this global survey to assess the state of media and information literacy development and solutions that are needed to maintain the momentum of media and information literacy for all.

      The survey is available in English, French, and Spanish.

      Deadline: 27 November 2020

      3-year grants to independent public-interest journalism organisations

      Civitates grants €2,467,000 to 11 independent public-interest journalism organisations across Europe for a period of 3 years. A selection committee comprised of Civitates foundation partners and advised by a diverse expert group has chosen 11 independent journalistic organisations to receive core grants for the next 3 years.

      Civitates’ financial support is meant for the general operating of news organisations, as well as for their organisational strengthening – it doesn’t fund individual stories but complements such grants that already exists. With Civitates’ long-term support, we believe that our grantee partners will develop in a sustainable, resilient, and interconnected way.

      Civitates has particularly welcomed applications from organisations operating in contexts where the market has failed to support independent journalism, media have been captured by state or non-state actors, or where there has been a hostile legal environment for public-interest journalism.

      The Missing Perspectives of Women in COVID-19 News
      The Missing Perspectives of Women in COVID-19 News: A special report on women’s under-representation in news mediawas commissioned by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationand authored by Luba Kassova, director of international audience strategy consultancy AKAS Ltd.

      The report examines women’s representation in COVID-19 newsgathering and news coverage in India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. and uncovers a substantial bias towards men’s perspectives in both newsgathering and news coverage of the pandemic, spanning across all regions. This bias operates against a backdrop of women’s political underrepresentation in the COVID-19 response in these countries, as well as the unique socioeconomic, health and psychological challenges that women face globally.

      The absence of women’s perspectives in COVID-19-related news coverage means that women have limited influence over the framing of the crisis in the news and consequently, limited influence over policy decisions. As a result, women are at ever-greater risk of being further marginalized amid the most significant global health crisis of our lifetimes.

      Study here!
      What can be done to counter Hate Speech?

      What can be done to counter hate speech on the internet and in social media at time when online intolerance is widespread, and threatens democratic debate in societies?

      A new report and resource kit discusses ways to address hate speech online and create a space for conversation in which all people are able to express themselves in a respectful and dignified manner. Breaking Down the Social Media Divides: A Guide for Individuals and Communities to Address Hate Online – was produced by WACC Europe, the European region of the World Association for Christian Communication and is available 

      Community Media Forum Europe -

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