By Valentina Auliso
The radio station environment
When I first walked into the community radio station at the Brightelm Community Centre last week, I was not expecting to find such a small and vital environment. Yet, the room was on the lower ground floor and space was quite packed. , There were wall to wall pictures of both young and elderly volunteers whose moments of action were captured during their live radio shows, all with a big smile on their faces. All around there were memories, bits and pieces of their projects and many papers of past events. What a colourful and vital room for a Radio Station!
The technical arrangements seemed to me very well organised, and as I entered the room, one of the Euromernet volunteers kindly invited me to take a seat.
We were supposed to broadcast online at 2pm, the usual time for the weekly show, Radio Euro-Mernet. The hour-long show informs the local community about international events, local news, and provides space and freedom of speech to the local community groups so as to let them have their voice heard on air.
Radio Euro-Mernet project
The Radio Euro-Mernet project is a local initiative launched in 2010 by the Brighton-based charity Euro-Mernet. The main radio show in English is aired every week and it is hosted by Brighton and Hove Community Radio. The project aims to gather information on local and international news and events on social and community issues. There is a wide range of topics and it brings together members of local organisationas and promotes international activities for young people. The Radio Euro-Mernet project is part of the activities that Euro-Mermet organises regularly and it is an open platform for listeners and contributors from across the world, not solely for Brighton and Hove residents.
Euro-Mernet, the organisation
Founded in 2001, Euro-Mediterranean Resources Network (Euro-Mernet) is a not-for-profit, independent, non-aligned and non-partisan regional organisation, specialising in news and information gathering, strategic research and training on environment, development, social justice and civil liberties in the countries across the Euro-Mediterranean region. It is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, registered also as a charity with the UK Charity Commission.
The Euro-Mernet mission and vision statement says: “We believe that peoples of the Euro-Mediterranean region deserve to unconditionally exercise the right of living in a just, tolerant and sustainable environment. The organisation solely provides the opportunity of a platform for debate on the issues under the light of the news and information compiled. Euro-Mernet does not take sides on any of its fields of activity, since it believes that the judgement and decision-making must fall upon the peoples of the region.”
Debora Barletta, project manager of Euro-Mernet, prepares and delivers the radio show together with volunteers such as Federica, Arianna,Debora“” Andrea and Matteo. They are committed to deliver a radio show with rich and diverse content every week. They start early in the week and they look for the news, list of local events and compile a song list with inspiring music from around the world. “What I really enjoy, is to give people information of the international events, to help people be aware of worldwide cultural issues and to research on that”, says Federica to me during a song break. Umit Ozturk, a co-founder of Euro-Mernet, who has a huge and incredibly vast background in journalism, human rights, social issues and current affairs, coordinates the group. Most of all, he is a great coordinator and is a local resident with an interest and concern also on global issues. He has expressively a lot to share, just like all Euro-Mernet volunteers do in an excited and heartfelt fashion when the word “community” is mentioned.
Importance of local media organisations and local radio projects
In today’s world, a local organisation is a very important reference for the community as a mutual space for debates, sharing and learning. When institutions cannot or do not address to all of the social issues, local organisations are out there to help, support, and guide the people in need. It is also a special place for young volunteers who explore their competencies, their passions, and their skills through voluntary work. In particular, Euro-Mernet hosts volunteers from around Europe and Mediterranean regions, as it is a partner of the European Union projects.
You can find out about the latest Euro-Mernet events through their Facebook page, Twitter, and website. There are regular events such as free movie screenings at Euro-Mernet Film Club, poetry readings, cultural and festive events social nights, talks and debates, and courses and classes such as creative writing, cultural heritage, nonviolent communication against hate speech, and community media skills.
Stay tuned, and join the international family of Euro-Mernet. I did, and we look forward to seeing many of you doing the same.
“Radio Euro-Mernet: global voice of the local communities and the local voice of the global communities.”
Maybe one day, you will also be in one of the pictures in the wall of the Brighton and Hove Community Radio, and so, part of a great, enriching local project with international outreach.