Community Radio - Official Status in French Speaking Belgium

posted on 06 October, 2015   (public)

Community Radio - Official Status in French Speaking Belgium

On the occasion of the UNESCO seminar of 14-15 September in Paris on "Community Media Sustainability",the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel, the media regulator of the French speaking Community of Belgium, has submitted a contribution outlining the main features of the official status of Community Radio under its jurisdiction. This brief document prepared by Nele Smets, who is in charge of the Radio Unit at the CSA, deals with :

Community Media Sustainability:
  • concepts and definition;
  • the landscape of FM radios in the French speaking Community of Belgium;
  • The  qualification as Community Radio;
  • the requirements to obtain this qualification and the recommendations of the CSA;
  • the radio stations which operate under this status;
  • the strengths and weaknesses of the current system.

The document also issues several general recommendations based on the experience in French speaking Belgium. They are addressed to the autorities of the countries which would wish to support community radio. The document suggests to:

  • Define a specific status for Community radio ;
  • Reserve some spectrum for Community radio stations and give them priority during calls for tender - also in  digital terrestrial  tenders;
  • Encourage exchanges between community radio stations and the creation of a Federation which would represent them vis-à-vis authorities  and support them ;
  • Create a support scheme fnanced by commercial radio stations ;
  • If the implementation of financial support is not possible nor desired, introduce when practicable legal provisions to ease the constraints of community radio stations (exemption of licensing fee, a minimum copyright package, reducing administrative burdens etc… );
  • Help radio stations according to their income and take into account their reality on the ground when granting them the qualification as community radio, e.g. take into account that it is more difficult for radio stations in the countryside to recruit volunteers.

Source: CSA of the French speaking Community of Belgium