Voice of the Church: A Debate about Religious Radio Stations as Community Broadcasters

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Voice of the Church: A Debate about Religious Radio Stations as Community Broadcasters


  • Gabriella Velics Department of Communication and Media, University of West-Hungary, Hungary
  • Urszula Doliwa Department of Humanities, University of Warmia and Mazury, Poland


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Abstract:  In the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the role of community media in promoting social cohesion and intercultural dialogue passed on 11 February 2009 by the Council of Europe, stations run by religious institutions were explicitly excluded from the community media definition, as being too dependent on the Church. But the reality seems to be far from this definition. In practice, in many countries the religious radio stations officially belong to—or even dominate—this sector. In 2011 a new period began for community broadcasting in Hungary. While most of the former community media broadcasters could not find resources with which to operate, the community media landscape was dramatically overwhelmed by religious broadcasters both on regional and local levels. The legally-recognised third tier of broadcasting in Poland called ‘social broadcasting’ is actively and exclusively used by religious radio—seven stations broadcast locally and one is a powerful nationwide radio station called Radio Maryja. The authors gathered information and points of views from radio experts, organizations and activists living and working in different EU and non-EU states about the place of religious broadcasting in the community media sector. Two case-studies (Hungary and Poland) may be of interest for countries considering the introduction or reorganisation of regulations regarding community broadcasting.

Keywords:  community radio; Hungary; media policy; Poland; religious broadcasters

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v3i4.344


© Gabriella Velics, Urszula Doliwa. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.