A big step forward for community media in Austria

Big step forward for CM in Austria – politics confirms public value of third broadcasting sector

Vienna – The Austrian media regulator, RTR, will continue to support all 14 Community Radio and 2 Community Television stations with relevant funds taken from the Fund for non-commercial lbroadcasting that was put in place in 2009.

The Secretary of State for the Media, Mr. Josef Ostermayer has stressed the importance of the third broadcasting sector in the Austrian media context. On 31 May 2010 RTR published the funding decisions for the non-commercial broadcasting sector (the community media sector is called this way in Austria) and 1.560.000 Euro were granted, meaning, for example, that community media outlets will receive an average of € 90.000 per station per year for their programmes production.

“These grants are a recognition of the enormous program diversity produced by our non commercial stations” – the Director of RTR, Mr. Alfred Grinschgl, stated – “We speak about public access to the airwaves and programs which aims at a wide spread public respecting different ages and migrants with all their languages!”

In Austria no other media offer a similar programming diversity as community media, wiith more than 25 languages spoken on air and involving more than 3000 volunteers in programme making. Community media are contributing to media literacy education and in many cases they are the only local media available in their area.

“Changing societies and commercialization of the media landscape led in many countries to a situation where traditional public service broadcasters are moving out of their former role. For a wide range of social groups Community Media fulfills the role of public service from below” – Helmut Peissl, chairman of the Austrian Community Radio federation and Vice-President of CMFE stated – “Community Radio stations create opportunities for social engagement and participation in the sense of active citizenship. The actual decisions in Austria underlines the important role of Community Media in delivering public value and its formal recognition.”

More information in German are available on the website of the Austrian Community Radio Federation.

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