Conference affirms role of community radio in human development

The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) Asia-Pacific concluded its 5th Regional Conference and Assembly — held in Bangkok, Thailand from 27-30 September 2023 — by electing a Board of Directors for the next term.

The newly elected Board is led by Dr. Ramnath Bhat (India) as its President. The other members are Supinya Klangnarong (Thailand) Deputy President; Raymund Villanueva (Philippines) Treasurer; Arti Jaiman (India) Representative, Women International Network; Subas Khatiwada (Nepal) Vice President, South Asia; Sinam Mitro Sutarno, (Indonesia) Vice President, Southeast Asia; Asuka Hashizume (Japan) Vice President, East Asia; and Shane Gregory Elson (Australia) Vice President, Pacific. The newly elected Board of Directors will serve for the next four years.

The 5th AMARC Asia-Pacific Regional Conference has reiterated the significant role played by community radios in furthering human development and the expression of and support for human rights.

Endorsing the Bangkok Declaration , community radios of the Asia-Pacific region have resolved to deepen interactions with regional inter-governmental bodies, donor organizations and supporters, national associations, and United Nations organizations, to develop strategies, programs, and training opportunities for community radio stations to be better equipped to serve local communities. Community radios have reaffirmed commitment to participating in disaster planning, mitigation, response, and recovery.

Calling on the governments of the Asia-Pacific region to recognize the vital role community broadcasting plays in developing a vibrant, responsive, and democratic society and to create a regulatory and legislative environment that supports the stable operation, growth and sustainability of community radio, the Regional Conference has highlighted the commitment of community broadcasters towards the promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples to establish their own community radio stations in their own languages and have access to non-indigenous community radio without discrimination.

Members of AMARC have renewed their commitment towards creating spaces on the airwaves for peasants, workers, fisher folk, refugees, displaced people, and asylum seekers, the stateless, the trafficked and diverse and marginalized voices, irrespective of cultural, ethnic, religious, social, class, caste, disability, gender or sexual or political identification or age. While reasserting the role of community broadcasting in countering disinformation for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Regional Conference unequivocally denounced all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly during times of conflict from the domestic sphere to war that is waged on the bodies of women and minorities.

Earlier, the 5th AMARC Asia-Pacific Regional released the ‘State of Community Radio in Asia-Pacific Report, 2023 .’ The first of its kind regional report presents an overall picture of the state of community broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region based on information collected through comprehensive surveys and interviews conducted across several countries of the region.

The Regional Conference was participated by 152 members representing fifteen countries of Asia-Pacific as well as Africa, Europe, and North America. Altogether twenty-five workshops and strategic meetings were held in the Regional Conference. Topics covered ranged from digital transformation of community broadcasting to setting up online stations, tackling fake news to effective content creation on social media for social cause, indigenous broadcasting to gender relationships and intersectionality, broadcasters’ safety to climate change adaptation to Rebuilding Global Movement of Community Broadcasting. AMARC Asia-Pacific has thanked its members, donors, and partner organizations for their support for organizing the 5th AMARC Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of Community Radios.