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<nettime> FM {AT} dia Forum - European Cooperation
thomas kreiseder on Sat, 26 Jun 2004 07:26:45 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> FM {AT} dia Forum - European Cooperation


The FM {AT} dia Forum

East-West meeting of Free and Community Media initiatives paved the way 
for greater European cooperation.

Between the 10th and 13th of June the media conference FM {AT} dia Forum 04 
took place in Prague (Cz) and Freistadt (A). It was initiated by the 
Federation of Free Radios in Austria (VFROE), Radio FRO (A) and Radio 
Jeleni (Cz). Over 100 participants from different media initiatives 
discussed the possibilities and necessities of intercultural and 
cross-border collaboration.

The aim of the gathering was to improve mutual awareness of the 
situation of community and civic media in Eastern and Central European 
countries, focusing on the visibility of NGOs in the media scene, the 
regulatory framework and implementation mechanisms, the Open Source 
movement, transparency, the ownership structure of mainstream media, 
stereotype patterns and the impact of community media on pluralism and 
independence of the media spectrum.

The opening speeches by guest speakers, Karl Duffek of the Austrian 
Renner Institute, Karen Bentolila from the European Greens and Marc 
Gruber from the International Federation of Journalists, underlined the 
importance of independent and community media in enhancing diversity and 
intercultural understanding in the European media landscape. Jakub 
Patoc(ka, editor-in-chief of the weekly Literarni Noviny (Cz) and 
philosopher Ales Ancipienka (Belarus) especially highlighted the key 
role of independent free media in times of political crisis.

Along with the presentations of diverse projects and approaches, several 
projects of practical collaboration were initiated. The establishment of 
a correspondent network connecting the European regions and strategic 
models for information exchange were identified as important components 
of better coordination and collaboration.

The importance of establishing a pan-European organisation for Community 
Media as an interface between such media and the European institutions 
was unanimously stressed. The main mission of such an umbrella 
association would be to obtain recognition of Community Media as a 
particular separate sector of the European media landscape and their 
specific inclusion in legislation on the national and international 
level, and the creation of a Community Media Fund. Planning of the next 
FM {AT} dia Forum with consideration of more specific community media issues 
was also discussed.

It was proposed to create a steering group which will accelerate the 
process of founding this Europe-wide organisation. It will also begin to 
draw up a study of the current legal frameworks in the various countries 
and to draft a Community Media Charter as soon as possible.

The second part of the FM {AT} Media Forum was held in the Austrian town of 
Freistadt where a Free Radio was founded. During the opening event the 
discussions concentrated on how community media can serve as a 
communication platform in regions where exchange is still underdeveloped 
and ineffective, such as South Bohemia and Mühlviertel which border on 
each other. The mayor of Freistadt, Josef Mühlbachler, and the Chairman 
of the Euregio, Helmut Patri, welcomed this cross-border initiative and 
stressed out the need to work towards eliminating the communication 
deficit between Austria and the Czech Republic.

Helmut Peissl (VFROE, A) and Milos Vojechovsky (Radio Jeleni, Cz) 
stressed that „in view of the importance of community media and the 
difficult conditions which exist today not only in the countries which 
have recently joined the European Union, it is high time that the 
European institutions take measures to support this sector. At the same 
time it should not be forgotten that the EU has a particular 
responsibility for its neighbours along the newly created external border.“


Contact: Helmut Peissl (+ 43 650 49 48 773), Milos Vojte(chovský (+ 420 
604434632)

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