Training workshop. Photo Credit: Altermidya
Altermidya and WACC partnered to implement a capacity building and advocacy project in The Philippines in 2016/2017. The project, entitled “Broadcasting for Change”, brought together 65 community radio broadcasters from the regions of North Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao for capacity building, joint planning, and knowledge exchange. It also resulted in policy-oriented advocacy to better position the country's community media sector to play a more active role in transforming their communities and advancing human rights.
The initiative was part of Altermidya’s ongoing efforts to contribute to a more enabling environment for community radio broadcasting as an expression of people’s communication rights. The project included the development of region-specific and national level plans for collaboration, the launch of a national online platform for content sharing, and the collaborative drafting of a policy document to guide the development of a law for community broadcasting in the Philippines.
Networking-wise, a system of coordination for joint coverage, exchange plans, and campaigns such as the enactment of a community radio broadcasting law, among others, has been put in place. At the national level, the formation of the National Radio Committee facilitated a regular exchange of updates and planning together of products and campaigns. One of the main projects identified in the committee, for instance, is a monthly radio documentary that discusses issues of nationwide scope but explains the particular impact on the ground through the participants’ segments. At the regional level, participants came up with their own programs of action and region-wide systems of coordination, as well as identified local Issues and forms of support. Another important outcome was the establishment of an exchange program for first-time broadcasters to hold internships in more established radio stations/programs, an initiative that will benefit many of the participating stations.
Regional workshop. Photo Credit: Altermidya
Project participants considered the initiative as extremely valuable. They saw the activities as an opportunity to improve on their practice collectively, and address common issues and challenges in their work and their communities. As a result, community radio programs now share broadcast content materials with each other, such as interview clips, podcasts, news reports, and other products. Although there have been efforts in the past to consolidate community broadcasters, it was the first time for many of the community radio practitioners to collaborate and coordinate with each other and discuss shared goals and visions. Content produced by community radio practitioners who benefited from the project is now being shared online and popularized through Altermidya's online platforms podcasts, interviews, and reports from community radio programs were likewise used by other media practitioners for print, online and audio-visual news reports. Samples of the content can be accessed here.
Community radio broadcasters also actively contributed to the drafting of a policy document on community radio broadcasting, entitled the “Community Radio Broadcasting Act.” The network successfully drafted a proposed legislation based on the articulated needs of members. The proposed bill has been submitted to the then-chairperson of the Congressional committee on public information, who fully supported the draft legislation. Congressional legislative officers are currently working on revisions to the draft in preparation for its filing in the next Congressional session.
With the level of coordination and organizational mechanisms established among community radio broadcasters as an outcome of the project, Altermidya believes that the community radio sector in the Philippines is poised to become an increasingly active agent of social change. The first step, of course, will be the passing of a law by the Philippine Congress to support the sector.
Rhea D. Padilla is the National Coordinator of Altermidya - People's Alternative Media Network
This project was supported under WACC's Communication for Social Change capacity building programme. For more information WACC's programme, please contact Lorenzo Vargas at LV@waccglobal.org
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