European Manifesto for minority media
Thousands of media organisations for and by immigrants are active
in the European Union. However, their existence is frequently threatened.
This is why interest groups from fifteen member states initiated
the European Manifesto for minority media. These organisations have
joined forces in the network Online/More Colour in the Media. The
Manifesto will be presented on 29 April to European Parliament Chair
Pat Cox, along with signatures that were collected digitally.
The minority media offer information and amusement via radio, television,
press and internet, collectively reaching a potential audience of
millions of EU citizens that have immigrated from all over the world.
The lack of political recognition, financial means and access to
the traditional broadcasting channels for radio and television are
problems that immigrant media experience in most EU countries. Esther
Lubenau, coordinator of the European secretariat for Online/More
Colour in the Media, explains: 'The situation is growing worse in
most countries, including those countries that led the way in the
area of media diversity. Many public broadcasting companies have
lost their minority programming, and minority media are not receiving
anymore funding.' These organisations are often not qualified for
subsidies that mainstream media can use because they fail to satisfy
the 'mainstream' criteria. The Manifesto advocates making existing
funds better accessible for these organisations.
The authors of the Manifesto also urge EU policy makers to guarantee
freedom of speech and the right to communication and information
as basic rights for all, including the right of minorities to receive
media in their own language. Ethnic media can make an important
contribution to the emancipation of immigrants as European citizens,
as well as to knowledge and understanding between population groups,
according to the authors. Lubenau: 'Immigrant editorial staff often
have access to enormous alternative networks of spokespeople and
experts, and are on top of the news. Why aren't the traditional
media utilising this more? With the Manifesto we want to emphasise
the bridge function that minority media can fulfil. The reality
of today's society reflects a special need for this now.'
Those who are interested can declare their support for the European
Manifesto by surfing to www.multi cultural.net. Digital signatures
submitted prior to 15 April will be included in the presentation
of the Manifesto to Parliament chairperson Cox. Signatures are also
welcome after that date, until the conclusion of the European elections
Miramedia is the partner in the Netherlands for the Online/More
Colour in the Media network. Platform Allochtone Lokale Media (PALM)
is one of the co-authors of the European Manifesto.