Community and indigenous radio stations have been protected by Mexican law since 2014, for the service they provide in hard-to-reach areas, ensuring better access to education, self-expression and communication
Community and indigenous radio stations have been protected by Mexican law since 2014, for the service they provide in hard-to-reach areas, ensuring better access to education, self-expression, and communication

In the North American country, 10 % of the frequencies are reserved for community and indigenous radio stations, said Sóstenes Díaz, commissioner of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (FTI), on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Mexican radio. There are 109 community radio stations and 20 indigenous radio stations protected by the Federal Law on Telecommunications and Broadcasting (LFTyR), which since 2014 has defined a regulatory framework to give certainty to social organizations. The law recognizes the importance of radio in the cultural and social development of communities. The legislation authorizes the granting of licenses to all entities interested in offering these services (Article 87), so much so that the airwaves regulator will hold seminars for entities interested in opening new ones.


With UN support, Dhusamareb launches first-ever community radio station
UNSOS provided antennas, transmitters, a current generator, and audio equipment for the studio

Established on 14 July 2022, Radio Daar Dheer is the first community radio station in Dhusamareb created by the UNSOS (United Nations Support Office) in Somalia, which provided the technical support and equipment. Operating for six hours a day on 87.7 MHz, the station has ten staff members, seven of them journalists, including two female reporters. It is the sixth station established as part of the UN mission’s efforts to consolidate peace and strengthen the Somali state. The other five are Radio Beer Lula in Beletweyne (88.8 MHz, established on December 10, 2018), Radio Waamo in Kismayo (December 15, 2018), Radio Arlaadi in Baidoa (November 15, 2018), Radio Isnay in Jowhar (87.7 MHz, on May 15, 2020) and Radio Sanguuni in Dhobley (87.7 MHz). In the country, characterized by oral culture and a high illiteracy rate, radio is the most reliable and accessible means of communication for the majority of the population, and radio consumption is very high.

I want my radio on DAB!

The petition in favour of independent broadcasters promoted by the Belgian association Radio Z on the website
The petition in favour of independent broadcasters promoted by the Belgian association Radio Z on the website

The transition to digital requires investments that not all broadcasters can afford. Especially community radio stations, which have little advertising (or are self-financing) and therefore lack the necessary resources. This is a common situation in many countries, but in Belgium, the association of independent voices Radio Z has launched a petition to urge the government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation to take action. The stations it represents are followed by hundreds of thousands of listeners in the region, employ more than a thousand volunteers who inform, entertain and promote the territory and the community; and above all train presenters, technicians and journalists. Unfortunately, these independent voices are financially exhausted and would need to double their revenues to survive. Despite warning signs, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation is not taking action and the diversity of the radio landscape is in danger of being destroyed. By 2030, in fact, 50-60% of them could disappear, due to the lack of economic, technical and logistical aid and a penalising digital frequency allocation plan.

A four-point plan

Radio Z brings together licensed independent radio stations operating in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation

The association calls for annual funding for independent radio stations, similar to that provided for the press and local television, which receive, respectively, 10.9 and 10.4 million EUR a year, not counting municipal, provincial, Brussels region and French Community Commission (Cocof) subsidies. More support and flexibility is also needed from the operators who will carry the DAB signal to avoid any stations being excluded. It is also necessary to immediately optimise the frequency plan, which today does not allow the proper broadcasting of independent radio stations. Finally, the procedure for allocating funding to guarantee the transition to digital broadcasting must be reviewed.

HONDURAS: Community radio stations ask for international help

Community radio stations ask for help
In the photo reproduced by the magazine HolaNews, which devotes an extensive report to the situation of community radios, the studios of RDS Radio, a radio station in Tegucigalpa that broadcasts on 88.9 MHz FM

With the pandemic, many Honduran radio stations have had to suspend broadcasts for four to five months because staff became ill and because of the economic crisis that has forced many companies to close, increasing unemployment. Now, fearing that the situation in the South American country will worsen, Carlos Enamorado, secretary of the Community Media Association of Honduras (AMCH), is asking for international aid to survive. In Honduras today there are more than 50 community broadcasters (not all of them authorized), of which 35 are active, and three community television channels, authorized but not yet operational due to the investments required to start broadcasting. More than 400 non-Community radio and television stations are active in the country. The HolaNews article discusses the situation in detail.

BOLIVIA: After decimation, rural radios will be reactivated

After decimation, rural radios will be reactivated in Bolivia
Community radio stations are part of the social fabric, reaching even the most remote areas of the country

After the 2019 coup, the “radios de los pueblos originales” (RPOs) had almost been silenced: intimidation, fires, and theft of equipment had reduced their number drastically. The green light for the raids had been given by the then Minister of Communications, Roxana Lizárraga, who accused the RPOs of being “seditious voices” and called for them to be stripped of their equipment; journalists had also been persecuted. But after the elections and the formation of the new government, the situation has changed: Gabriela Alcón, deputy minister of Communication, reiterated that the government will rebuild the national system of Radios de los Pueblos Originales (RPOs) to give back a voice to the country’s rural and indigenous communities. She added that “from more than 100 RPOs, only 16 are left, and only two are functioning properly”. But this is going to change.

More details in the article published by GRA-Gruppo Radioescucha Argentino.

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