Alternative and Community Media: Strong leverage for democracy and citizenship

The right to communication for all is at the forefront of demands and mass protests for change and implementation of the universally recognized human rights, especially in Southern societies. This right which expands the "right to information" guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is at the heart of all forms of social and political mobilisation that animate the public space.

Youth, women and minority or marginalized groups are at the forefront of these mobilizations, claiming the right to communicate, through ownership of various means of communication provided by traditional and new media.

The claims for this modern right follow basically from the right of every citizen to access information, provided for by laws in nearly hundred countries. This right is the center of gravity around which the right of “communication by all and for all” can be extended and developed.

Such democratization of communication, without which no democracy can claim credibility or continuity, supposes primarily the ownership of any means of information and communication by anyone who desires it.

Communities, groups, associations are the main actors who are capable of achieving and ensuring ownership of media and ICT. Without such ownership neither the "right to information" or the "right to (participatory) communication” can be implemented and effectively anchor democracy in Southern societies..

This is the reason for which many community and alternative media activists have congregated in networks to conduct strategies, advocacy, trainings, coordination, active solidarity, networking and exchange of skills and content to advance their cause.

The World Human Rights Forum is a great opportunity for all stakeholders of alternative and community media. It will provide a forum for exchange of experiences, coordination, cooperation, awareness and advocacy for the consecration of the right to communication and the development of alternative and community media. In this perspective, the associations initiating this theme, plan to setup a space dedicated to alternative and community media in the MFHR. This will be entitled "The right to communicate for all" with the catch line: "Alternative and Community Media: Strong leverage for democracy and citizenship."

This project is supported by (but not limited to) the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC); FMAS / Portal civil society Maghreb Mashreq "E-joussour" (Morocco); Tunisian Union of Free Radios (Tunisia); Panos Institute of West Africa (Senegal); Ciranda, Intervoces (Brazil); Ritimo (France); UPP, Cospe, Yabasta (Italy); Andalus Centre (Egypt); Radio Dahria (Palestine); Net Amman (Jordan); Women in Communications (Algeria); International Opinion ....