Building the Capacity of Community Radio Broadcasting Services to Cover Local Socio-Political Issues

Project country:

Year when project approved: 
2009
Approved budget: 
US$17 600.00

The preliminary survey carried out by the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression revealed poor coverage of social and political issues by the regional media in Armenia. Local politics were largely neglected by the national media in the past and the voters from local communities had to rely on local and community media. Meanwhile, self-government elections are to take place in Armenia in September 2008 - July 2009. TV coverage of elections in the regions rarely goes beyond political endorsements of pro-government candidates. Regional newspapers are all struggling with miserably low circulations, unable to cover production costs, and often seek governmental funding or support of government-connected businessmen, thus losing their editorial independence. Regional radio companies are the most financially independent media: they don't need considerable initial investments to start up and stay a popular means of advertisement because of low cost and wide coverage. Regional radio broadcasting services offer entertainment programmes and rarely cover political issues. Poor sociopolitical content of local radio programmes is mostly due to the lack of skilled professionals caused by few possibilities of training in the regions. The Armenian Constitution was amended in November 2005, significantly strengthening local selfgovernment in the country. However, the media audience in the regions has little access to independent and objective information on political and social development of local communities, which is essential for ensuring truly open and democratic development of the society. In this regard, relevant training for radio professionals working for community radio companies is a matter of urgent importance. The project aims to enable 10 regional radio professionals to acquire the necessary skills for producing socio-political radio programmes for local communities as a result of trainings and workshops. Also, a series of radio programmes covering local political and social content in the regions of Armenia will be launched as part of the hands-on trainings/workshops. The local communities will have enhanced access to high quality, independent and objective information.

Documents
Project details
IPDC Bureau meeting nÂș: 
53

Implementation status :

Project evaluated:

Project scope:

Budget
Budget code: 
354 ARM 5081

Source of funds:

Beneficiary
Beneficiary name: 
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression
Beneficiary address: 
Apt.27a, 9b, Gh. Parpersti str, Yerevan

Beneficiary country:

Beneficiary phone: 
+ 374 10 53 35 41
Location and contacts
UNESCO
Responsible UNESCO Regional advisers: 

Marius Lukosiunas, Advisor for Communication and Information, m.lukosiunas@unesco.ru;

UNESO Field Office:

Project contacts: 

Ashot Melikyan, Chairman, cpfe.armenia@gmail.com;

Project place: 
Yerevan

Project region:

Follow-up and achievments
Summary of the project implementation: 
One legal commitment (Activity Financing Contract) was signed with the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression in October 2009. It foresaw obligations of the Contractor to implement the activities according to the objectives of the project. The contractor has submitted the developed training module, including theoretical and practical components; the list of five regional radio companies of the Republic of Armenia, participating in the project (Shirak [Shirak region], Shant [Shirak region], Radio Hay Kapan [Kapan region], Mig [Lori region], Radio Hay [Gyumri]; training kit, including training programme and training materials. The training took place during December 2009 ? March 2010. The participants were also provided with post-training assistance. It was noted that staff of some of the community radio stations had a relatively low professional level which resulted in delaying the launch of pilot radio programmes covering socio-political issues. However, post-training assistance ensured their successful launch and broadcasting by all the radio stations that participated in the project. The project has now been successfully terminated. Final report was submitted to the UNESCO Moscow office. The approach combining on-the-spot practical workshop resulting in the launch of radio programmes and post-training support should be expanded to similar capacity-building projects.
Achieved outputs: 
The results achieved corresponded to the objectives of the present IPDC project: Five training courses were organized and ten regional media professionals participated and acquired necessary skills for producing socio-political radio programmes for local communities; The project contributed to the professional development and capacity strengthening of community media specialists and received a very favourable assessment by the beneficiary group; The project provided community members with access to community-orientated quality information on social and political issues. Five weekly radio programmes covering local political and social content in the regions of Armenia were launched as part of the 'hands-on' training.