05 / 1993
Known by its French acronym, AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, is an international non-governmental organization serving the popular radio movement.
At AMARC’s first world conference in 1983, participants from places as diverse as Europe, Africa and Latin America discovered that they shared the objective of making use of radio’s potential as a medium of social change, cultural development, and democratisation. They also discovered that they faced common problems that had common solutions. For example, indigenous broadcasters in Canada’s north had developed inexpensive low-powered transmitters and studio kits that were ideal for rural areas of Africa and Latin America. It has been since this first conference that AMARC has worked to provide a forum for the democratization of communication via radio.
AMARC is a network which seeks to facilitate cooperation, exchange, and communication among broadcasters worldwide. It has hosted a total of five world conferences, the most recent of which was held in Mexico in August, 1992. It is directed by a ten-member board of directors with representation from all continents. Following AMARC’s third world conference in Managua in 1988, a permanent secretariat was established in Montreal, Canada. The following is a brief presentation of some of AMARC’s projects and plans:
REGIONAL OFFICES: AMARC offices in Peru and England, and a partner organisation in Burkina Faso (CIERRO, the Interafrican Centre for the Study of Rural Radio in Ouagadougou), play the essential roles of local promotion of community radio, and the coordination of exchange projects.
INTERADIO: Published 3 times a year, INTERADIO is a newsletter exclusively devoted to community radio. It features news, profiles of radio projects, technical tips and reviews, and information about AMARC activities. It is distributed in Spanish, English and French to AMARC members and to a total of 5 000 individuals and organizations around the world.
RESEARCH AND PUBLISHING: AMARC has published a number of studies, conference reports, articles, and a book (A Passion for Radio: Radio Waves and Community, edited by Bruce Girard). Plans are to expand this activity by inaugurating a publication series about community radio.
PARTICIPATORY RADIO DIRECTORY: AMARC is currently using the DPH system to compile a directory of the stutus of particpatory radio in as many countries as possible in the world. The aim to to have completed the sections on Africa and Latin America by Novemer, 1993.
ELECTRONIC MAILING CONFERENCES: AMARC makes extensive use of electronic mailing systems to build and communicate with network.
SOLIDARITY ACTION NETWORK: Set up in January 1993, this network aims to mobilize the worldwide community radio movement in support of community radio broadcasters whose right to freedom of speech is threatened.
WOMEN, INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, AND YOUTH NETWORKS: These three networks have been established within the framework of AMARC to recognize the specific needs and interests of each group, and to initiate special projects to meet those needs. There is currently a women’s representative and a representative of the indigenous people’s network on AMARC’s board of directors.
A POPULAR RADIO NEWS SERVICE: AMARC is currently working on a project to make such a service available to its members. The first phase will make the service available in spanish to radio stations in Latin America and English and French services will be available shortly afterwards.
ANOTHER CONFERENCE: The Sixth World Conference of Community Radio Broadcasters will be held in Africa in early 1995, the first time an AMARC conference will have been held on this continent.
CONCLUSION: In the ten years since its first world conference, AMARC has attempted to make a contribution to the democratization of communication and to what might be called a new LOCAL information and communication order, one that recognizes the importance of democratizing the airwaves in order to democratize society at large.
Bruce Girard, ed. "A Passion for Radio: Radio Waves and Community", Montreal, Canada: Black Rose Books, 1992.
Also available in Spanish: "Radio Apasionados: 21 experiencias de radio comunitaria en el mundo", Quito, Ecuador: Black Rose Books, 1992.
Available in French under the title, "La Passion Radio", France: Syros Publishers.
The majority of this article came from: Girard, Bruce. "Organizando las Voces de Babel", Chasqui, No.45, Abril 1993, pp.4-5. "Chasqui" is a publication of CIESPAL, Apartado 17-01-584. Quito, Ecuador. Tel:506-149. Telex: 22474 CIESPL ED. Fax: (593-2)502487. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
AMARC=ASSOCIATION MONDIALE DES RADIODIFFUSEURS COMMUNAUTAIRES, 1993 (CANADA)