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Creating a Community Radio Network in the Arabian World

quinta-feira 28 de março de 2013, por Soraya Misleh, Soraya Misleh Soraya Misleh

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The inspiration comes from independent media which had a decisive role in the current revolutions in the region, said an activist during the Free Media World Forum in Tunisia
(translate by Luis Guillermo Mendoza Flores)

Photos: Nathalie Samuel/Ritimo e Bia Barbosa/Intervozes

That is the Project presented by Steve Buckley, from Community Media Solutions. Present at FMWF (Free Media World Forum), which started on March 24 and continues until March 30, in Tunis, capital of Tunisia. It has defined the construction of a regional network for community media, particularly radio stations all over the Arabian World.

The inspiration, he remarked at the opening of the initiative, comes from independent media that had a decisive role in the current revolutions in the region. Among them he cited Radio 6 FM, from Tunisia, another community one in Benghazi, in Libya and other projects that had been started near Syria. In the latter, where for two years the people have been struggling for the fall of the regime of dictator Bashar El Assad, Buckley remarked the existence of a very dynamic situation for the right to communication.

The plan carried out by the English communication activist has rendered fruits. It started in 2011 with pilot radio stations in seven countries and has three more projects today. Four of them are located in areas liberated by the revolutionaries in Syria. Community radio stations there are very important, communication via internet is difficult. There are more than a hundred others adding up to such media in Libya, assures Buckley, which started after the beginning of the revolutions. In this country where the people couped the dictator Muamar Khadafi, one of these stations is in the western region where people speak bereberic dialect Amasic, language prohibited during the 42 years the tyrant held power. Besides programs to express the ethnic culture, there are programs that deal with social and political matters said its representative at the FMWF. The presentation was done on the second day of the forum, followed by applause in solidarity with the initiative, along with other testimonies of regional activists. The network is also integrated by Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain and Occupied Palestine.

In the latter, according to his statement four projects added up, even one in a village near Al Khalil (Hebron). In that city, located in Cisjordan, in an area under Israeli military control, there are Zionist settlements built on Palestinian houses and shops. The settlers living illegally there throw their litter on the arabs’ heads, who only have a hanging cloth set there by NGOs to protect them.

In the various countries in the region, there are challenges to be faced in the struggle for the right to information and freedom of speech. Buckley reports that in Tunisia after the fall of Ben Ali more than two years ago there still persists a political blockade, for example. After the 2011 elections (that put in office the Islamic party Enahda), three important laws were presented: for the right of access to information, freedom of press and an independent regulation system for radio broadcasting. Only the first one just started to be set in practice. In Egypt, even though eight new TV stations were opened after dictator Hosni Mubarak fell in February 2011, The civilian society does not have space in those media yet, being occupied by the big corporations. He categorically said: The demonstration process must be continued.

Other media

Statement confirmed by Tunisian blogger Bessem Krifa. Imprisoned and tortured during Ben Ali´s dictatorship for trying to send to the world the claim for political freedom, he reveals an intention to start an association of bloggers, mainly young people, to enforce the struggle for freedom of speech. One of the accusations done by the activist is that at the 2011 elections, at polls close, people were given money to vote (in the Enahda). It was filmed. Taking advantage of poverty and inequality thriving in Tunisia, that move was made to get into power he remarks and concludes: Capitalism is a big problem. Who knows when we shall overcome it and reach socialism, then we shall have full democratic freedom.

Translated from PT into EN by Luis Guillermo Mendoza Flores from Peru”