.Montreal, 17 March, 2009. The regulatory body, Conseil National de Régulation de l’Audiovisuel (CNRA), ordered last Saturday and Sunday, the sealing off of the transmitters of 3 community radios : Radio Oxyjeunes, Radio Afia and Radio Djolof which broadcast respectively from the working class neighborhoods of Pikine and Grand –Yoff in the capital city Dakar and from Liguere, a rural city in the north east of the country. The 3 community radios will be off the air for 2 months. The regulatory body accuses the 3 radios of intervening in the present political campaign and thus infringing on article 18 of the specifications the community radios have contracted and which prohibit them from broadcasting any program with a political content. But the Community radio journalists and presenters along with the network organization of the Community Radios of Senegal, the Union des Radios Associatives et Communautaires, claim that to allow citizens to understand what is at stake, elected officials at the local level to be brought to account and candidates to present their programs is at the heart of the mission of community radios.
They point out also that during the past 10 years they have approached both the Ministry of Communications and the regulatory body to advocate the revision of the Community Radio Specifications and Contract, notably its Article 18, in order to make it more conducive to the mission of community radios while insulating them from party politics.
The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) expresses its support to Radio Oxyjeunes, Radio Afia and Radio Djolof as well as to the federation of the community radios of Senegal, the Union des Radios Associatives et Communautaires du Senegal.
AMARC calls on the government of Senegal, notably on the Ministry of Communications and on the CNRA to lift off immediately these undue sanctions and urge them to organize as soon as possible a forum with all concerned parties in order to develop and implement a regulatory and legal framework which could contribute more to the reinforcement of citizenship and to local economic development.
Through service to members, networking and project implementation, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters AMARC, brings together a network of more than 4,000 community radios, Federations and community media stakeholders in more than 115 countries. The main global impact of AMARC since its creation in 1983, has been to accompany and support the establishment of a world wide community radio sector that has democratized the media sector.