30 June, 2021
Recognising the crucial role of community media by supporting a sustainable and robust sector
On the occasion of the National Community Radio Day on the 18th of June, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, BAI, has launched its new Community Media Policy aimed at building a sustainable community TV and radio sector.
Following an extensive consultation and taking into account the changes occurred the last 20 years, this new policy intends to underline the social benefits of the Irish community media and to support the development and structures of the sector.
The new Community Media Policy covers six areas:
1) Defining community media: To assess the 'community nature' of the media entities, the Authority uses criteria such as the clear geographical community or community of interest served, the promotion of active participation by this community at all operational levels and an operation system in line with the ethos or values underpinning community activity and community media.
2) Social benefit: The Policy highlights six types of benefits of such media such as the support and engagement with minorities and those who feel marginalised, the link between members and local events and news, the development of a community sense of identity and cohesiveness, and the support to collective actors' work and goals.
3) Programme content: Content should be "based on community access and reflect the special interests and needs of the community served", the policy stressing the importance to ensure the findability and distinctive value of such content.
4) Ownership, governance, and management: The Policy emphasises the importance of a good and robust governance scheme, providing details and best practices on how to ensure a strong operational structure. The Policy also reminds that community media organisations should be owned and controlled by not-for-profit entities and should involve in their structure members of the community served.
5) Funding and finance: In this regard, the BAI calls notably for a more co-ordinated approach from statutory sources and agencies and diverse sources of funding, including a financial support from the community itself.
6) Staffing and training: The BAI identifies the different types of active participants and training schemes in Ireland, highlighting the importance of having the community members' involved.
This policy comes in addition to the BAI's Sound and Vision funding scheme which financially supports the production of local programmes based on Irish culture, heritage and experience.
Source: the BAI
The BAI defines community media as: “A community media organisation is characterised by its ownership structures, its content production and/or dissemination activities, and its relationship with the community it is licenced to serve. It is owned and controlled by a not-for-profit organisation whose structure provides for membership, management and operation primarily by members of the community. Its content production and/or dissemination activities are based on access and participation by members of the community and reflect the special interests and needs of that community. Its relationship with the community seeks to reinforce other organisations and activities aiming to empower and develop that community.”
Ireland has 23 licensed community or community of interest media outlets, and a number of aspiring community radio groups.