What Is Community Media?

Community media is described by Ellie Rennie (2006), in a wide sense, as”community communication.” Fundamentally, it’s elusive to define the word in a complete manner as it can take so many forms, be implemented by so many distinct groups of individuals and be directed at such a broad selection of issues. The assumption, however, that community media is a facilitative tool for debate and involvement of the ordinary citizenry has some inherent consequences.

A significant implication is that community media is for the most part independent of their market-driven commercial and mainstream media outlets. The essential features of community media communicate a more clear understanding of its definition in addition to its depth and dimension concerning how it takes shape in the civic The South African definition is that community websites are a geographical community or a community of interest.

Ideally, community media are created, owned and managed by, for and about the community they serve, which may be a geographical community or one of curiosity. It seems easier to posit a perfect definition of community media than to extrapolate a definition in the true community-based media initiatives present on the floor (McQuail, 1994). The media used are different and, as is true for video, sometimes the medium used itself poses challenges to the idea of community involvement.

The ownership and management patterns are varied, despite the fact that they may be broadly defined as non-governmental and non-corporate. And the goals are rather specifically different, although again, generally, the goals are for some aspect of community development. The notion of community media suggests that for communities to be heard at the national level, they need to be heard at the grassroots level.

The capability to communicate and get communication is a social good, that should be fairly, universally and strictly equivalent. Curran and Gurevitch (1991) say that the complete idea of citizenship presupposes an informed participant body of taxpayers, most commonly, if we assume there to be a right to convey then it implies an equivalent individual claim to hear and to be heard.

Likewise, Freire (1990) finds that fewer people are consulted, the less democracy a country has. Community broadcasting attempts to foster debate about, reach consensus and build solidarity in protecting and promoting human rights and achieving sustainable development, such as peace and reconciliation (McQuail, 1994). Community broadcasting is all about both access to and dissemination of information.

It functions as media for the flow of information to and from communities, on the one hand, and the national and worldwide levels, on the other hand (McQuail, 1994). It offers access to needed external information in addition to advocacy on issues of concern, with applicable policy-making levels informed by experiences at the community level and alternatives generated therein.

In a wider sense, community broadcasting enables greater involvement by communities in domestic and global affairs. It has a dual role – that of a mirror (representing the neighborhood back at itself) and of a window (allowing the outside world to check in at its Fraser, Colin and Sonica Restrepo Estrada (2001) assert that community media provide an essential alternative to the profit-oriented agenda of corporate media.

They’re driven by social objectives rather than the private, profit motive. Ownership and control of community media are rooted in and accountable to the communities that they serve, and they’re suitable approaches to growth, (Buckley, 2000). The character and purpose of community media initiatives ought to be the main determinants. Resource shortcomings of any sort could be addressed through alternative strategies. Steve Buckley (2000) finds that communication and democracy are inextricably linked, so much so the presence or otherwise of certain kinds of communications could be a measure of the

constraints to which democracy has developed or has been held back. Curran & Gurevitch (1991) say that the essence of community media is participatory and its objective is development,” procedures of public and private dialogue through which people define who they are, what they need and how they could get it.

Community involvement is thus viewed as both a means to an end and an end in itself. The processes of media creation, management and possession are in themselves empowering, imbuing critical analytic skills and optimism about interpretations reached and alternatives found. The medium selected must, therefore, be one which enables, enhances and sustains community involvement.

In the above considerations, it follows that the choice of media to be utilized at a local community is always specific to this community. What works in one community may not work in a different (Lesame, 2005). By way of instance, age and gender are factors to be taken into consideration when discussing sexuality, but the way they are taken into consideration differs across communities. Literacy levels, access to radio receivers in the community at large, familiarity with symbolism and other visual devices used in audio-visual media are different considerations. The selection of theater, local language newspapers, radio or movie – or any combination thereof – is and ought to be determined by both internal and external variables (Bessette, 2004).

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