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EurAV launches ‘micro studio’ to facilitate community voices

April saw the opening of a tiny, but fully functional audio visual studio at the offices of MLI members EurAV in Drogheda town centre. The three-camera green screen studio and training room is designed to train members of minority communities in the basics of community media production and provide them with the tools to create content for traditional and social media.

“Among the greatest challenges we face with regards to media literacy are the high production values of toxic content and the advent of increasingly convincing ‘deep fakes’. By providing a platform for community media and ensuring that members of the community can create the content, we’re facilitating grass-roots communication without the filter and layers that are vulnerable to interference. Training people in this ‘hands on’ way also makes it easier for them to spot the misinformation and disinformation out there.”

EurAV founder, film maker Declan Cassidy.

Declan, who, alongside his role with EurAV, also volunteers on the management committee of Dublin Community Television, has spent a lifetime working in community media. It is from his own experience that the idea for the community media studio came.

“I grew up in Finglas at a time when it had gone from a country village of 400 to a sprawling suburb of 53,000 in less than two decades,” he explained. “The only time we featured in the mainstream media was when something shocking happened. The hard work that was being done at community level was largely ignored. So we established our own community newspaper, staffed by local people, where we were able to publish balanced, honest information. It was trusted because it was ‘by the community, for the community’. The technology has changed beyond recognition, but this principle remains the same for community media.”

In collaboration with local multicultural support organisation ‘Hands 4 Unity’ and Louth County Council’s Integration Support Team, EurAV is now trainng the the first producers and presenters from minority communities in the use of the studio.

“There is a lot of talent within the minority communities that hasn’t had an outlet because due to lack of opportunity,” said Declan. “It’s looking very promising. It may be a tiny studio, but we’ve got big hopes for the role it will play in supporting media literacy and social integration.”