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May 3, initiated by African journalists only 28 years ago, gives us an annual occasion to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

In many realities community media and community broadcasters are those particularly targeted, often operating in very open and vulnerable reality, on purpose not having heavy gates and guards protecting the entrance to the studios. And every month we hear about community broadcasters killed in all corners of the world.

This year’s theme for the day is “Media for Democracy. Journalism and Elections in times of disinformation”. Even in Europe, media and journalists are under a lot of pressure, fighting for the right for information and the freedom to access information, defend sources and speak their mind against those in power.

“Press freedom is the cornerstone of democratic societies. All States, all nations, are strengthened by information, debate and the exchange of opinions. At a time of growing discourse of mistrust and delegitimization of the press and journalism, it is essential that we guarantee freedom of opinion through the free exchange of ideas and information based on factual truths. The theme of this 26th celebration is “media for democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”.” Said _Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day

For us in CMFE, our lobbying activities at the European Union and the Council of Europe, as well as in many European states, focus on the recognition of Community Media along with providing legal frameworks and funding schemes that enable independent media and journalistic practice. Our work is also recognized and our words heard in European projects, like New Neighbours and the recently completed Media against Hate []

National and regional support:Other activities concerned countries where Community Media is not recognized, not sufficiently funded or otherwise under pressure. CMFE experts consult on legal issues as well as political campaigns and we speak out for the not-for-profit initiatives to strengthen civil society. See two examples below:

CMFE is happy to support not-for-profit media and cultural initiatives in Croatia, struggling with what seems to be a systematic lack of funding for the third or not-for-profit sector. Despite very positive developments in Croatia, there is a severe lack of funding specially in connection with European funding schemes, i.e. the European Social Fund, where postponements have taken place and kept media initiatives without access to tenders. We wrote a letter to the ministry of Culture and we are hoping for a swift response to work together towards a sustainable, independent media scene!

The first national Community Media Forum of Ukraine took place on Friday December 15 in the capital city, Kyiv. The forum is a culmination of several years’ preparatory activities, working to learn from other European country experiences and to identify the best ways to introduce media channels into the hands of civil society in Ukraine. Continue reading →

Founded in 2004, Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) represents networks, national federations, projects and individuals active within the Third Media Sector often called community media, at the European level. There are many different definitions of the term community media . This variety has its roots in the diversity of the sector itself. Each station is “shaped by its environment and the distinct culture, history and reality of the community it serves” .

Community media play an important role in the promotion of media literacy, cultural diversity and democratization of communication and is one of the bulwarks against disinformation. They serve diverse communities as a local, trusted voice – also in periods of election and conflict. [Read more about our work here:]

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