What is the CMFE?
The “Third Media Sector” is made up of non-profit-making media serving a local community and has as such a clearly distinct identity alongside the national public service sector and private commercial media. CMFE is a common platform for networks, national federations, and projects active within this sector. On the one hand, it enables the participating organizations to bring up their concerns on a European and international level and, on the other hand, it represents a channel through which European institutions can spread information on relevant questions to CMFE participants.
The CMFE was founded on 5 November 2004 in Halle (Germany) after a series of European and international conferences held over the previous two years which had made clear that there was a lack of information and participation of the Third Media Sector on a European level. As a first step, the CMFE took part in the consultation process launched by the Council of Europe for the Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy in Kiev on 10–11 March 2005. The proposal of the Community Media Sector was endorsed by over 50 national federations, networks, and media initiatives from throughout Europe.
The European Parliament Resolution of 25 September 2008 On Community Media in Europe and the 2009 Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe On the Role of Community Media both acknowledge the social value of community media as a source of local content, cultural and linguistic diversity, media pluralism, inclusion, and intercultural dialogue. They recommend to Member States to give legal recognition, access to spectrum (analogue and digital), and funding to the sector.
According to a joint mapping by CMFE and the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (Epra) in 2012, a total of 2237 Community Radio Stations and 521 Community Television Stations were active across Europe.
Since July 2020, CMFE is a Member of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD). It represents the interest of the Community Media sector in various working groups at the pan-European level, alongside other associations representing the public and the commercial media sectors, as well as media and civil society stakeholders.
CMFE will be continuing its lobbying action to strengthen the community media sector in these arenas. CMFE’s network is spreading and, to date, has a total of 98 members from 25 European countries.