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First Mapping of Community Media in Europe

Community radio and community television is global but the third media sector is also a vivid part of the European media landscape. However, the activity of community media differs a lot between countries. In some countries community media has been along for more than 30 years and in some countries community media is still not recognized or even not permitted. Up till now, European institutions as the European Union and the Council of Europe looking into this field have not been able to get a complete picture for basis of policy decisions.

During 2012 Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) has conducted a total mapping of community radio and community television in European countries. A survey has been made with the committed assistance of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) and its members as well as some national federations. The survey targeted 49 countries and data is now available for 39 of these countries. The figures are based on collected survey forms as well as CMFE expert reports and estimations. CMFE is now able to present the first complete computation of community media in Europe.

January 2012 there were 2237 community radio stations and 521 community television stations in Europe. Most stations are located in EU member countries especially in France, Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Germany and Sweden. Only 122 radio and 9 television stations are located in countries outside the EU. As a majority of the countries also not responding to the survey are in Eastern Europe an optimistic conclusion is that community media is very much on the threshold of its introduction here.

In 17 countries (including four non-EU countries) the community media sector is regulated in the media law and as such this third media sector is recognized. In some European countries the community media sector is supported by government funding. Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands have substantial funding systems for both community radio and television. Belgium, Italy, Norway and Switzerland to a lesser extent. In France community radio is financed up to 40% by government funding. CMFE Mapping & Rating workgroup will now continue on its second leg; rating each European country in order to enhance further development of community radio and community television in all 49 European countries.

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