Brazilian authorities have proposed a National Plan for Community Radio Concessions, with the aim of expanding community radio stations and facilitating the licensing process, according to the Communications Ministry.
In a press conference, Minister Paulo Bernardo said the goal is for all towns in the country to have community radio by midway 2012. “We have made a plan that, if successful, this year alone will allow 85 percent of cities to be covered by community radio," he said. Currently, Brazil has about 4.200 licensed community radio stations that reach about two-thirds of the country, explained the newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
Authorities have committed to giving technical assistance to stations during the process. Bernardo did not specify whether auditing of community stations would increase in order to avoid such stations being used for political, business or religious reasons.
Community radio frequency concessions in Brazil are free. However, the stations have to comply with a series of technical and operational requirements laid out in the current law. For example, the stations cannot broadcast commercial advertising, and their antenna reach is limited to one kilometer.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.