We are DIVER­SI­TY. We are (Grass­roots) RADIO!

The Grass­roots Radio project joins its voice with com­mu­ni­ty radio sta­tions world­wide to cel­e­brate World Radio Day 2020. Accord­ing to UNESCO: radio is a pow­er­ful medi­um for cel­e­brat­ing human­i­ty in all its diver­si­ty and con­sti­tutes a plat­form for demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­course. At the glob­al lev­el, radio remains the most wide­ly con­sumed medi­um. This unique abil­i­ty to reach out the widest audi­ence means radio can shape a society’s expe­ri­ence of diver­si­ty, stand as an are­na for all voic­es to speak out, be rep­re­sent­ed and heard. Radio sta­tions should serve diverse com­mu­ni­ties, offer­ing a wide vari­ety of pro­grams, view­points and con­tent, and reflect the diver­si­ty of audi­ences in their orga­ni­za­tions and oper­a­tions.”

The Inter­net has helped to bring peo­ple togeth­er from all over the world, but it has not helped neigh­bor­hoods or com­mu­ni­ties near­ly as well. The Grass­roots Radio project is pilot­ing solu­tions for com­mu­ni­ty infor­ma­tion plat­forms and media plu­ral­ism, work­ing to low­er the bar­ri­ers to start and sus­tain a com­mu­ni­ty radio sta­tion, cre­ate region­al and Euro­pean-wide net­works of sta­tions that can pool com­mu­ni­ty-lev­el resources, co-inno­vate col­lab­o­ra­tive media ser­vices, increase the per­me­abil­i­ty and impact of those sta­tions through a com­bi­na­tion of exist­ing dig­i­tal and nondig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies

The Grass­roots Radio project is diver­si­ty: diver­si­ty in the con­sor­tium of part­ners (aca­d­e­m­ic, com­mer­cial and non-prof­it NGO part­ners), diver­si­ty in the approach to new forms of inter­ac­tion between mobile tele­pho­ny and tra­di­tion­al radio, diver­si­ty in the engage­ment process of remote com­mu­ni­ties in Roma­nia, Ire­land and Por­tu­gal. As an ICT-based project, Grass­roots Radio is proud to be diverse in the gen­der bal­ance of con­sor­tium mem­bers as well, oper­at­ing with­in a field – that of ICT – which still suf­fers from strong gen­der gaps.

The com­mu­ni­ty radio move­ment is dif­fer­ent from the pub­lic and com­mer­cial broad­cast­ing sec­tors, but also diverse with­in the non-prof­it sec­tor itself: local­ly root­ed anten­nas, cam­pus radios, city radios or rur­al radios, reli­gious radios, social­ly dri­ven expe­ri­ences, infor­ma­tion or sim­ply enter­tain­ment expe­ri­ences, all this rep­re­sents the diver­si­ty of the sec­tor

Accord­ing to Chris Csik­szent­mi­ha­lyi, the Grass­roots radio project coor­di­na­tor, “the diver­si­ty of the project is espe­cial­ly evi­dent with the exper­i­men­tal side of the use of new tech­nolo­gies, includ­ing the aux­il­iary use of Text To Speech tech­nolo­gies, tai­lored on the needs of local com­mu­ni­ties and local lan­guages includ­ing Roman­ian, Madeiran Por­tuguese and Gael­ic Irish.”

Nowa­days inde­pen­dent, local and com­mu­ni­ty-ori­ent­ed jour­nal­ism is more and more exposed to polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic threats and pres­sure. In this con­text, com­mu­ni­ty media remain cru­cial actors and artic­u­la­tion plat­forms to ensure the par­tic­i­pa­tion of diverse com­mu­ni­ties in pub­lic dis­cus­sion, pro­vide access to local infor­ma­tion and give a voice to under­rep­re­sent­ed com­mu­ni­ties.

The Grass­roots Radio project con­sor­tium wish­es our col­leagues and friends around the World a hap­py World Radio Day 2020!

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