With apologies for cross-posting

Press statement:

*AMARC Asia-Pacific strongly objects to the closing down of community radio
FMYY and other community radios in Japan*

April 1, 2016, Kathmandu. AMARC Asia-Pacific is gravely concerned to learn
that Radio FMYY of Kobe, Japan – a community radio station that has played
pioneering role in promoting disaster risk reduction has been forced to
close down due to prohibitory provisions in the community radio regulation
of Japan.

The regulation, following an amendment in 2011, imposes a highly
restrictive condition on community radios, according to which a station
cannot stop broadcasting even for a short time. In order to comply,
community radios are required to make large investments on backup equipment
and infrastructure, and remain unsympathetic to difficulties faced by staff
members and volunteers. Stations considered to be in violation are dealt
with severely.

On March 31, 2016, FMYY returned its broadcasting license back to Ministry
of Internal Affairs and Telecommunication of the Government of Japan due to
its inability to cope with this severely restrictive regulation. Several
other radio stations including those serving tsunami prone areas have met
with similar fate.

One of major roles of community radios in Japan is to respond to natural
and human-caused disasters. Despite strong demand from community members
for community radios, especially during reconstruction and rehabilitation
phases of recovery, the prohibitive community radio regulation has posed
serious challenge to survival of community broadcasting in Japan.

While community-owned radios such as FMYY are forced off-air, there is a
growing trend in Japan for local governments to run radio stations through
public-private venture companies. Even though such stations are called
community radios, they are neither community owned nor can they be expected
to defend people’s communication rights.

Junichi Hibino, Director of FMYY and Treasurer of AMARC Asia-Pacific board
and other community radio stakeholders in Japan have resolved to continue
their struggle for achieving community radio friendly regulations. “We have
embarked on a journey to bring community broadcasting back to citizen’s
society. By returning FMYY’s broadcasting license, a serious first blow has
been delivered,” Mr. Hibino said.

Commenting on the situation, Ramnath Bhat, Acting President of AMARC
Asia-Pacific has called upon the global fraternity of community radios to
raise their voices against the unfair conditions being forced upon
community radios in Japan. “AMARC members from the Asia-Pacific region and
beyond join hands with our members in Japan in their struggle to revive
community broadcasting in Japan,” he said.


*Through service to members, networking and project implementation, the
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) gathers more than
4,000 community radios, federations and community media stakeholders in
more than 150 countries.*

For further information, please contact:

Suman Basnet

Regional Coordinator, AMARC Asia-Pacific

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Kathmandu, Nepal.

Office phone: +977 1 5554811