Local public forums

Local publicity and its development


Public communication of a municipality (or part thereof) about matters that may affect the local community in any way. Local publicity relies on information – information made publicly available, received, processed, actively discussed –, and on the communication of opinions and positions thus shaped. Communication runs among the locals or between the locals and/or the other participants, in all directions.

Purpose of the activity

Publicity makes possible an exchange of opinions and the transfer of information, and may help in processing that information, thus making people more self-conscious. It may contribute to the evolution of self-expression and self-determination, it is a precondition to self-organization and collaboration, it may help to mobilize reserves in human resources and foster the development of public agreement and more rational decisions.

The significance of publicity – especially local publicity – lies in the fact that it offers people the opportunity to exercise control over public authorities in some way, locally as well as on state level. Good publicity also lies in the interests of the executive powers as it provides better insight into the citizens’ interests and problems.

Development is an activity which consciously shapes, sustains and assists this process. On the one hand, it makes the stakeholders aware of its significance, and that the most important precondition for the participation of the individual and of the community is the ability to understand it, and thus to shape and widen it.

Key terms

information, dialogues – forums, local media, public spaces, interference, social control


Locals need to have a will to find out about local events and an intention to make a difference. Local public forums/community spaces are needed, which provide help in learning about views and entering into dialogue.
Various possible channels of local publicity should be operated if needed, such as local papers and radio channels; social (community) media may also be used for this purpose. To have access to the already existing channels, to be able to influence them. To be able to create such channels, if needed.

Through their initiatives, community developers can largely contribute to the development of local publicity, making the various channels available to the community.

  • personal: community cultural organizer, local organizations: local government, representatives of non-governmental organizations
  • material: meeting rooms, computer capacity, projector, flipchart and pens, post-it blocs, note paper and pens, printer, A4 sheets
  • financial: room rental fee (if needed)

Substantive components

Public spaces, typical areas of community meetings and civil publicity: cafés, institutions functioning of as forums. Media as well: traditional ones (printed and broadcast) and digital channels via the internet.

Applied tools and methods

Places, spaces, institutions and channels available locally for the generation and forwarding of information need to be taken into account. Where do people meet to discuss local causes, what forums, spaces and media are in place for that in the given settlement (or part thereof)?

One also needs to consider those who control publicity to find out how the local community can become a participant and have a say.

Preparations are needed to make sure that the local community is able to create and operate such channels. Technical skills and a basic knowledge of journalism and of communities are necessary requirements.

Results, expected outcome

Ideally, local publicity guarantees the functioning of local democracy, making sure that informed citizens can enforce their will and can control public authorities.

If people and communities can become the shapers and participants of local publicity, they will have a say in the development of their environment as initiators and bearers of responsibility.


Angelusz, R.: Kommunikáló társadalom. [A communicating society]. 1995, Ferenczy Kiadó
Péterfi, A. – Péterfi, F.:Hogy rátaláljunk a helyi közösség hangjára… – A kisközösségi rádiók esélyeiről. 39.sz. [Giving voice to a community… – Prospects of small communities’ radio channels]. 2009, Budapest, Alkalmazott Kommunikációtudományi Intézet [Institution of Applied Communication Studies]. http://www.akti.hu/dok/fuzet39.pdf

This article based on the following document: Community development methodological guide