Four steps to community media as a development tool

Community media represent a crucial input in development processes, playing an important role in democratisation, social struggles, and awareness raising. But they often face difficulties on the financial and legal levels due to the constraints created by national media laws. This paper shows the link between community communication and human development. It provides suggestions for development advocates and communities regarding advocacy for a policy environment supportive of community media. It reflects on the licensing process and financial sustainability of the projects. In demonstrating how practically media policy can be reshaped to meet civil society needs, two case studies are considered: the UK, where the communication regulator has opened a process to license community radios; and Brazil, where thousands of ‘illegal’ community stations are facing repression, but where the regulator has inaugurated a consultation process with practitioners.