Wednesday, 5 August 2009

[creative-radio] CMFE pays tribute to Thomas Kupfer

---Apologies for cross-posting---

CMFE pays tribute to Thomas Kupfer
(5 August 2009)

Monday afternoon we received the sad news that Thomas Kupfer, a founding
member of the Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE), also currently
serving as a member of the board of the Forum, had prematurely passed
away the day before, on Sunday 2 August 2009, at the age of 45. Our
first thoughts go to his family and friends.

Thomas has made an invaluable contribution to the foundation and the
work of CMFE, and has been a central figure in helping to establish
community media as the third media sector at the European level in
recent important policy achievements. He was the organiser, motivator
and supporter of a number of focal community media events at the
continental level in Germany, Austria and across Europe in the last two
decades. We will all miss him, as a media innovator, a fighter for
democracy, but, above all, as a very dear friend and incredibly kind person.

On behalf of the board of CMFE,
Pieter de Wit (President)



Thomas Kupfer
28 February 1964 - 2 August 2009

The introduction and the creation of certain kind of critical media was
for Thomas Kupfer a long term feature of his political work. In 1989 he
was a co-founder of the 'Initiative for a United Left' (Initiative für
eine Vereinigte Linke) in the the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and
was actively engaged in the discussions at the local and the regional
level in the Halle area.

A graduate in Pedagogy, until 1996 he was a Researcher at the Martin
Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, later specialising in Media
Pedagogy and working a wide range of projects with a focus on Eastern
Europe, free radio, media and political literacy, as well as working as
a freelance journalist. He was the initiator and director of a number of
radio production projects, including InterAudio, Radio Revolten, 'the
festival for the future of the radio', as well as 'Halle's Schools
without Racism' (Hallesche Schulen ohne Rassismus, pdf). With the
establishment of an interregional bureau for the programme Kopfstoß FM
he also brought a new dimension to the free and non-commercial media
present in the area.

Since 1997 Thomas worked for Radio Corax, first towards the station's FM
licensing and later for the set-up and the development of the free radio
station based in Halle, Germany. From 2000 to 2005 he was its Managing

A founding and board member of the Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE),
he contributed substantially to the work leading to the recognition of
the sector by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, with
two important documents in 2008 and 2009, which helped to position
community media as the third pillar of broadcasting at the continental

He was the co-founder of the journalist network medienOst e.v. and
worked for the promotion of free radio also through the Förderkreises
Freies Radio in Halle (FFK), through which he helped to built up a solid
conceptual and financial basis for free media in the city and its
surrounding areas.

Thomas initiated and promoted also the Federal Association of Free
Radios in Germany (Bundesverband Freier Radios, BFR), laying the ground
for the conceptual and strategic debates over the possibilities and
perspectives of emancipatory radio work and the improvement of
co-ordination and networking of the free radio stations across Germany.

He also actively contributied to the concept and development of several
projects in Austria, together with Helmut Peissl and the Austrian Free
Radio Federation, including projects hosted also by the Salzburg-based
RadioFabrik with, among others, the successful Civilmedia conferences,
an important European gathering of the sector that has taken place in
the Austrian city since 2006.

Recently, he had also organised the Community Media and European Policy
workshop, bringing together in Halle practitioners, activists
researchers and policymakers from Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany and Europe.

In a tribute to his work, the Medienanstalt Sachsen Anhalt, the media
regulatory authority for the Federal State of Saxonia-Anhalt, recognised
Thomas' role in developing community media in the region
'Thomas Kupfer was not only considerably involved in the setup and
development of Radio Corax, but his ideas and conceptualization of
citizens' active participation in electronic mass media was particularly
valuable within the context of a lively community media landscape in the
Federal state Saxonia-Anhalt and in the overall context of the
development of radio as a medium. The Medienanstalt Sachsen-Anhalt loses
an extraordinarily competent partner, whose intelligent and always
active engagement in the development of democratic and participatory
medium models can't be undestimated'.

Colleagues at Radio Corax, also stated
'What this loss means for Free Radio in Halle, in Germany and Europe
can't be surely measured for the moment. For the people that knew and
loved him, what remains is the loss, but also the memory and the
responsibility to continue to bring forward and to realise our common


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