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AMARC, Senate passes community radio broadcasting bill

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The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), the Uruguayan Senate has approved a Community Broadcasting Bill that recognizes community broadcasting in its own right and says television and radio frequencies should be more equitably distributed.

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The bill acknowledges the importance of the third broadcasting sector alongside the state and private sectors, and stipulates that one third of the AM and FM radio airwaves and television broadband will be reserved for community-based media outlets. A new council includes, government, media, university and free expression representatives and they will play a part in granting and renewing frequencies and ensuring that the government does not use frequency allocation to indirectly censor broadcasts. The bill does not impose limits on the geographical range and signal strength of community media outlets, unlike laws in Brazil and Chile. Instead, the bill says the range of coverage will depend on the outlet’s purpose and the audience it is trying to reach.

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