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Tunis, March 12th, 2012 (AMARC REPORT). More than a hundred associative and community media representatives, freedom of expression activists and delegates from international organizations supporting media called for the institutionalization of the right to communicate for democracy in the region during the closing of the first AMARC Conference in Mashreq and Maghreb on "Community Media and the Arab Spring", that was held in Tunis, on March 9 and 10, 2012.

Tunis, March 12th, 2012 (AMARC REPORT). More than a hundred associative and community media representatives, freedom of expression activists and delegates from international organizations supporting media called for the institutionalization of the right to communicate for democracy in the region during the closing of the first AMARC Conference in Mashreq and Maghreb on "Community Media and the Arab Spring", that was held in Tunis, on March 9 and 10, 2012. The conference brought together representatives from associative radios and production groups of countries from all over the region (Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Palestine and Tunisia) and from all AMARC’s regions, especially Sub-Saharan Africa.

The event was organized by the Syndicat tunisien des radios libres, the Middle East and North Africa Community Media Working Group, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) the Community Media Network (CMN), International Media Support (IMS) and Inter Press Service, with the support of Oxfam Novib, UNESCO, EED and Open Society Foundation (OSF).

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The conference allowed for a review of the Tunisian experience and more broadly of the whole region in the light of international communications standards, to analyze the use of social media in the process of speaking for media pluralism and the relations between media and civil society. A particular attention was given to the women’s situation and to the necessary conditions for the fulfilment of democracy, pluralism and freedom of expression, which constitute a prerequisite.

Patricia W. Elliott is a magazine journalist and assistant professor at the School of Journalism, University of Regina. You can visit her at patriciaelliott.ca.