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Radio © René Mansi

Radio broadcasting in minority languages: where we are, where we should go

Public conference
From 16 October, 10:00 to 17 October 2013, 12:30
European Parliament, Brussels, Room A3E2 (am) - Room A5E1 (pm)
AMARC Europe, Brussels


16 October 2013 - European Parliament Brussels


Meeting room am : A3E2

Opening -  Community radio and minority languages in Europe

  • Iñaki Irazabalbeitia, Member of the European Parliament
  • Sally Galiana, President AMARC Europe

Panel – Regulation frame of Minority languages in Europe

Moderator: Sally Galiana, President AMARC Europe

  • François Alfonsi, Member of European Parliament:  the recent draft report to the EP and the language policies within the EU 
  • Venus Jennings, UNESCO : UNESCO recommendations about Minory languages and community broadcasters
  • Nils Torvald, Member of European Parliament : cultural diversity and minority languages in Europe

Panel – Community Radios and Minority languages

Moderator: Iñaki Irazabalbeitia, Member of European Parliament

  • Davyth Hicks, CEO Eurolang, ELEN Vice-President, ‘Radio, language revitalisation and the European Language Equality Network (ELEN)
  • Mikel Bujanda, The case of Euskalerria Irratia 
  • Fergus O'Hir, Radio Failte : The project Peace and radios 


  • Maria Pia Matta, President AMARC International: community radios and indigenous languages

Meeting room pm : A5E1

Open meeting - Assessment of the situation of minority languages within the community radio movement: opportunities and threats.

Moderators: Iñaki Irazabalbeiti, MEP and Davyth Hicks

Collecting testimonies and best practices exchanges between European Radios

Rapporteur: Davyth Hicks

17 October 2013 - AMARC Europe, Rue de la Linière 11, 1060 Bruxelles

Opening:  Presentation of AMARC Europe and AMARC International working activities on minority languags and community broadcasters: Sally Galiana

First European Encounter of Community Radios in Minority languages.

Moderator: Agus Hernan, Antxeta Irratia

  • How to enhance a minority language network within AMARC
  • Demands at the European level
  • European possible strategies and synergies



“Half of the world’s estimated 6,000-plus languages will likely die out by the end of the century without urgent efforts to protect minority communities and their languages”. This is the evaluation of United Nations independent experts , noting also that “Language is particularly important to linguistic minority communities seeking to maintain their distinct group and cultural identity, sometimes under conditions of marginalization, exclusion and discrimination.”

The protection of linguistic minority rights is a human rights obligation and an essential component of good governance, efforts to prevent tensions and conflict, and the construction of equal and politically and socially stable societies. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO urged the use of books and textbooks in local languages to support education in mother tongues. UNESCO said translation into and promotion of local languages supports linguistic and cultural diversity and serves as the foundation for all social, economic and cultural life.

Today globalization, the growth of the Internet and web-based information is having a direct and detrimental impact on minority languages and linguistic diversity, as global communications and marketplaces require global understanding. Nevertheless, community media are a tool that reinforces pluralism and diversity not only through radio content production, but through participatory and democratic processes that support and reinforce the European identity and cultural wealth through the use and promotion of minority languages in Europe.

In 2010, the General Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) gathered in La Plata, Argentina to celebrate its 10th World Conference, unanimously adopted a resolution with the aim to enhance a specific work in the area of community broadcasters and minority languages. Moreover, in 2012 AMARC welcomed the International day of the World Indigenous Peoples, issuing the Declaration “Right to communicate, indigenous peoples and minority languages”: AMARC stresses the need to express the support of the global network of community radio stations to the thousands of indigenous community radios, to the indigenous peoples who suffer from the marginalization and the prohibition of their right to express themselves in their own languages. The defence of cultural diversity and the expression of minority languages or legally hidden languages is a prerequisite for the effective recognition of the condition of those peoples and the right to self-determination, which will make the effective exercise of citizenship of the indigenous populations possible. AMARC affirms that the effective exercise of the right to communicate makes the languages of each people a form of exercise of the individual and collective identity right that makes the right to access to radio and television frequencies a preferential right for the less powerful groups that make up the cultural and ethnic diversity of all territories and peoples of the world.£
AMARC also considers that any recognition of the dignity of the indigenous peoples, in any part of the world will not be be complete if it does not ensure the conditions for the full exercise of the right to communicate, because the full realization of this right is an essential part of cultural sovereignty, which allows the full participation in the public space.

The European Charter for Regional and Minority languages, adopted by the Council of Europe in 1992, recommends Member States to undertake any measure in order to encourage and/or facilitate the creation of at least one radio station in the regional or minority languages, or to encourage and/or facilitate the broadcasting of radio programmes in the regional or minority languages on a regular basis (art. 11). The charter also invite Member States to cover the additional costs of those media which use regional or minority languages, wherever the law provides for financial assistance in general for the media, or to apply existing measures for financial assistance also to audiovisual productions in the regional or minority languages.

In the same direction goes the European Parliament resolution proposal by the MEP Francois Alfonsi (Draft Report on endangered European languages and linguistic diversity in the European (2013/2007(INI)), which calls on the European Union and the Member States to pay more attention to the extreme danger that many European languages are in, and to commit wholeheartedly to a policy of protection and promotion that is up to the job of preserving the diversity of the Union’ linguistic and cultural heritage by supporting ambitious protection policies within the language communities concerned. The draft report also calls on the Commission and the Council to adapt EU policies and programmes so as to support endangered languages and linguistic diversity using EU financial support tools for the period between 2014 and 2020 and takes the view that a language revitalisation policy is a long-term effort that must be based on a diverse, coordinated schedule of activities in various fields such as the media, the arts, education (including pre-school education) and in all areas of public life. Finally, the report calls on the Commission to provide constant support, via its various programmes, for transnational networks and European-level initiatives and activities that are designed to promote endangered languages, and emphasises that active participation is needed in order to ensure that UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger remains a permanent fixture.

The objective of the public forum is to provide an overview of the work for the promotion of minority languages from the community media perspective, best practices exchanges between media experiences of the third sector and the institutional frame put in place by International Organizations with a legislative approach.

More information:

Elisabet Nebreda Vila

EFA Advisor on Foreign Affairs, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Tel. Brussels +32-2-28 30982