Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mario Murillo's report on Radio in Colombia

Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia September 25-27, 2008Like most conferences focused on media that I’ve participated in over the years in the U.S., Colombia and around the world, the Sixth Encounter of the Network of University Radio Stations of Colombia, RRUC, provided an interesting mix of social/cultural discussion and debate, with the more practical concerns of economic sustainability and technical/normative issues affecting the many stations participating in the network.

There was a lot of talk about future collaborative projects for the network, and considerable attention was paid to RRUC’s relationship to state entities like the Ministry of Communication. A diverse mix of representatives from every region of the country was present at the conference, sharing experiences and concerns about the state of University Radio in Colombia, and its outlook for the future.

What I was surprised – and a bit disappointed, I might add - not to hear too much about in the three days of meetings that took place in the Universidad del Norte in the Caribbean coastal city of Barranquilla, was information about the internal political dynamics within the country’s many campuses, relating to student activism and mobilization, and how these issues may or may not unfold in the radio signals that are emanating from those distinct locales. Indeed, there was an almost total absence of student participants in the conference, even though it was held on the beautiful campus of one of the most important universities in the country, home to Uninorte Estereo, the university station celebrating its 25th anniversary this week.....
......In essence, of all the many presentations and panels at the event, only two focused on the issues of community and citizen involvement at the university radio stations. The first was the talk by Jaime Abello, the national coordinator of the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano, FNPI, the press association founded by Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez. Abello painted a broad landscape of the state of news media today, not only in Colombia, but on a global scale. He made a strong case for the need for University radio stations in Colombia to strengthen its commitment to comprehensive journalism, one that goes beyond the already solid cultural reporting that is common in many of the older college stations in the country. He reminded the audience of the social responsibility the stations and universities have to their localities, and that one of those responsibilities include providing the audiences with investigative and well-researched information that can offset, even if on a small scale, many of the inherent flaws of mainstream, commercial news organizations.

The second presentation that addressed the social responsibility of university radio stations was provided by, well, yours truly. I had been invited to present a keynote speech about this broad topic by the current national director of the RRUC, Guillermo Gaviria, a Julliard School graduate and seasoned musician who happens to be the head of the Javeriana Stereo in Bogotá, one of the strongest university stations in all of Colombia. I focused on the role of the students in the spaces of broadcasting, keeping in mind that as educators and as broadcasters, most of us working in University radio have dual responsibilities: one to our audiences, and two, and perhaps more important, to our students.Just as community radio can contribute to the building of citizen participation in local settings by engaging volunteer programmers in the creation of their own messages, university radio can and should do the same, albeit under different circumstances. Challenging the notion that students were generally incapable of thinking critically and producing responsible news and information programming content for a broad audience, an opinion expressed to me by several station directors in the room prior to my talk, I discussed the importance of hearing the voices of young people in these spaces. It opened an interesting discussion amongst the participants, many of whom openly acknowledged the limited participation of students in the broader direction, production and planning of the respective stations.

For the complete presentation by Mario Murillo go to MamaRadio .

Monday, September 22, 2008

Congressional Hearing on Public Access

Barbara Popovic, ED of Chicago Access Network testifies about the problems confronting PEG (public, educational and government) access in the new digital environment.
Last week the US Congress held hearings about public access.

Women in Community Radio Congress

Amina Marix Evans, pioneer free radio producer, Amsterdam, NL
Amina's program, Love Supreme, was on a free radio in Amsterdam for decades, a broadcast for justice and truth. Among the subjects she has focused on are treatment of immigrants, the death penalty in the U.S., and the rights of women. She is also a book publisher and has printed (in 63 languages) a poem about Kerwin, a black youth who was beaten by skinheads and bled to death in Dam Square when a taxi refused to take him to a hospital.

In October 17th and 18th women journalists and community radio makers from France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Spain in will meet in Madrid at the first European Congress of Women in Community Radio to share experiences in gender and feminist programming and to reflect on the role of women within community media.
This congress is promoted by the women’s group of the Free and Community Radio Union of Madrid and co-organized by the Women Institute of Spain. It will have five main themes which pretend to visualize and empower the diversity of women’s voice:
Panel 1: Women’s right to communication: a skill for equity.
Panel 2: Gender politics and community radio legislation.
Panel 3: The political impact of women’s voice in community radios.
Panel 4: The radio: a skill for women’s empowerment.
Panel 5: The radio: a bridge of communication with the women of the world.

DATES: Friday 17th october 2008: Open Conference
Centro Cultural Conde Duque. C/ Conde Duque, 11
Saturday 18th october: Workshops only for women who work and have an active participation in community radios as well as women’s organizations. Hostal Persal, Plaza del Ángel, 12 Madrid, Spain

If you participate in a women’s specific radio program or in a women organization that make radio in Europe, we want to know about it. Please contact us to: tel. (00 34) 91 777 33 24

Community radios history in Europe goes back to the first popular experiences of the workers radio clubs in Germany in 1921. Since then, the same right to create media for the citizenship persists for the need of freedom expression and participation of many social groups. I front of the monopolistic presence of big media enterprises and the partial ethical role they play, the right of communication of the society rises as a human right. It takes its base in the fundamental freedoms gathered by the majority of national constitutions of many countries and by various recommendations of the international organizations.

The paradox in the European Union is that, on one hand, exist different legal and legitimate forms of community radios where the States and some governments support and recognize the need of these community media created by civil society. On the other hand, are situations of “no law” (non specific law but is not prohibited) and administrative pressure on these media. These unequal circumstances must move us towards an European model of promotion of the community radios.
While in Spain, the community radio actual situation stands in a “no law”, the “Equity Law” (one of the most advanced laws in Europe) was approved by the parliament (December 2004) and it confirmed the compromise of the government regarding women’s rights (mostly promoted by feminists an other women organizations) to transform sexist speeches and images in the mass media. This determination must be gathered into our women's communication projects to constitute a real non-sexist alternative in community media.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Indigenous Center Attacked in Colombia

Guardia Indigena
Informe desde la Emperatriz 09/19/2008

Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca]
Llamamos a quienes son solidarios con nuestro compromiso con la vida y la justicia a acompañarnos en esta situación y a ayudarnos a esclarecer la verdad y a que se haga justicia, sin permitir que nos involucren en un conflicto armado que es el mecanismo fundamental para atacar nuestro proceso.

En estos momentos, ha retornado la calma en el Municipio de Caloto y en el Resguardo de Huellas-Caloto, en particular en la hacienda La Emperatriz.

Hechos recientes
A lo informado en comunicados anteriores agregamos hasta el momento lo siguiente:
1. La vía de Santander de Quilichao a Caloto se encuentra cerrada en la vereda de San Nicolás, exactamente en la cima de la colina desde donde se desciende al casco urbano de Caloto. Esto se debe a que allí explotó una bomba a las 4:19 a.m., según informes preliminares de soldados presentes en el área. Allí murió un soldado y otro herido fue trasladado a un hospital.

2. No hay presencia evidente de fuerza pública en la vía Panamericana que comunica a Caloto con El Palo. Dentro de la hacienda La Emperatriz, hay presencia de soldados y arribó el CTI.

3. Según versiones de comuneras y comuneros presentes en la vía Panamericana frente a La Emperatriz, personal del ejército venía recogiendo vainillas y otra evidencia alrededor de las 6 a.m.

4. Una versión de comuneros locales se refiere a que una camioneta se detuvo en el área donde hubo combates unos 15 minutos antes de que comenzaran y se retiró del lugar de los hechos antes de que se iniciaran los disparos y explosiones.

5. Al parecer hubo un soldado muerto y otro herido en las piernas en la Emperatriz

6. Hasta el momento no ha sido posible documentar ni descartar la presencia de otras personas, ajenas a la Fuerza Pública en la Emperatriz. Esto es motivo de indagación e investigación por parte de las autoridades indígenas.

7. Caracol Televisión informó que alrededor de las 2 de la mañana, la Policía Militar adjunta al Batallón Pichincha fue atacada con explosivos y disparos en la hacienda La Emperatriz, donde murió un soldado y resultó gravemente herido otro. Hacia las 4 de la mañana cuando refuerzos del ejército se dirigían hacia el sitio de los hechos, fueron víctimas de un atentado con explosivos en el sitio de San Nicolás donde murió un soldado y otro quedó herido. Los dos heridos fueron transportados a la Clínica Valle del Lili en Cali. Las versiones que viene dando RCN son tendenciosas en la medida en que insinúan una agresión por parte de indígenas contra la Fuerza Pública sin que hasta el momento exista evidencia de que este sea el caso.

Las Autoridades de la ACIN, reafirmamos nuestro compromiso con la posición del proceso en el sentido de no involucrarnos ni tomar parte en el conflicto armado y en consecuencia exigimos respeto por nuestras comunidades y proceso. Esta agresión, venga de dónde venga, es un ataque contra nuestra dignidad, territorio y resistencia pacífica. Lamentamos la muerte y heridas de las víctimas. Extendemos nuestras condolencias a sus familias.

Llamamos a quienes son solidarios con nuestro compromiso con la vida y la justicia a acompañarnos en esta situación y a ayudarnos a esclarecer la verdad y a que se haga justicia, sin permitir que nos involucren en un conflicto armado que es el mecanismo fundamental para atacar nuestro proceso.

Resguardo de Huellas, Caloto, Cauca
Septiembre 19 de 2008.
Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca
ACIN-Cxab Wala Kiwe
From Democracy Now's Report:
The community is called Cauca and it represents one of the largest indigenous agrarian reform movements on the continent. Its leaders say their community serves as a powerful example of popular peaceful transformation in the midst of war. Last September, tens of thousands of people from the region marched on Cali in a mass protest against Uribe, sparking a broader national nonviolent opposition to his government. They are opposed to devastating free trade agreements with the US, as well as the massive military aid. They are also opposed to the FARC, who they call authoritarian.

The Cauca region is a key area near the Atlantic Ocean and has gold, oil and gas. This April, the FARC came into the Cauca community of Toribio and killed a child, injured 20 people and basically razed the community to the ground. That in turn provided cover for the government to send in its forces to “secure” the area; in other words occupy it. Now, the leaders of Toribio say they fear a dirty war is beginning that could produce further massacres. Some of the leaders of the community have traveled to the United States to try and avert what they fear could be a major outbreak of violence.URGENTE!!! Ataque en “ La Emperatriz ”-Caloto-Cauca
09/19/2008 Autor: Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones para la Verdad y la Vida
A la 1:33 a.m. y hasta la 1:55 a.m., se escucharon disparos de fusil y armas cortas en ráfagas intensas, al igual que explosiones que parecían provenir de morteros y posiblemente un cilindro o granadas. En este momento, siendo las 2:25 a.m., no se escuchan más explosiones ni disparos. Parece ser que una ambulancia salió de La Emperatriz con destino al Hospital de Caloto.

La información proviene de autoridades, comuneras y comuneros que se encuentran en cercanías del lugar de los hechos. En la hacienda “ La Selva ”, se encuentran unas 30 mujeres con sus hijas e hijos en un encuentro que se viene desarrollando allí por parte del Programa Mujer de la ACIN. La Selva se encuentra frente a la hacienda La Emperatriz, separada de esta por la vía Panamericana que de Caloto conduce a El Palo en el municipio de Caloto. Estas mujeres y sus hijos se encuentran asustadas por la intensidad de las explosiones y disparos y no se han asomado.

Durante todo el día 18 de Septiembre se observó un vehículo sospechoso, marca Mazda, con vidrios polarizados de modo que sus ocupantes no pudieron ser identificados, que pasó en repetidas ocasiones frente a las sedes de la ACIN y el Tejido de Comunicación en Santander de Quilichao. Generalmente un vehículo de la Policía Nacional seguía al Mazda cada vez que pasaba. Se ha notado la presencia de vehículos con vidrios polarizados, sin placas, parqueados frente a la URI de la Fiscalía en el centro de Santander de Quilichao. Simultáneamente, comuneros de Huellas-Caloto, observaron vehículos y motocicletas sospechosos pasando por la vía Caloto-El Palo durante todo el día. Se trata de vehículos costosos, nuevos, que circulan lentamente por esta vía.

Estos hechos se dan en el contexto de un ataque por parte de sicarios de la Policía, plenamente identificados por la comunidad y las autoridades indígenas en el día de ayer, en el que resultó herido un joven civil. Estos dispararon ráfagas contra civiles a plena luz del día, desde una motocicleta sin placas que ya había sido utilizada por un agente encubierto de la Policía la semana pasada. Ambos hechos fueron reportados oportunamente por nosotros. Los miembros de la fuerza pública (ESMAD y Policía) involucrados en estos hechos, manifestaron su ira y una actitud agresiva contra la comunidad en la tarde de ayer. Tememos que se trate de una retaliación o de un montaje como reacción de la fuerza pública frente a lo descubierto y denunciado.

Hasta este momento, nadie ha podido acercarse al lugar de los hechos para corroborar lo sucedido ya que se teme por la seguridad de civiles. Aclaramos que las autoridades no tienen información de que haya indígenas o comuneros dentro de la Hacienda La Emperatriz. En consecuencia, los hechos no involucrarían a comuneros indígenas. A esta hora, la gente del resguardo que habita en las inmediaciones, se encuentra aterrorizada, fuera de sus casas. Esperando la presencia de delegados de instituciones humanitarias y medios de comunicación.

Denunciamos este hecho de guerra en inmediaciones de la población civil rodeada por una fuerza pública que ha sido descubierta en acciones ilegales de terrorismo. No podemos descartar una confrontación entre grupos armados.

Llamamos con urgencia a quienes reciban esta nota a exigir por parte de los medios, los organismos de derechos humanos, la Defensoría del Pueblo y la Procuraduría , hacer presencia de inmediato en el lugar de los hechos, exigir un esclarecimiento de la verdad y movilizar todos los recursos y medios en respaldo de la comunidad y nuestro proceso.

Nos atacan de manera sistemática en todo el territorio en los últimos meses, en acciones que se intensifican y que combinan el terror, acciones de guerra de todos los grupos armados, agresiones legales, económicas, propaganda difamatoria contra el proceso e inclusive infiltraciones por parte de sectas religiosas que promueven la disolución del proceso, en el marco del Plan Colombia Fase II.

Revivimos lo que sentimos la noche del 16 de Diciembre de 1991, cuando se escucharon ráfagas y explosiones y quedaron masacrados 20 comuneras y comuneros en la Hacienda El Nilo, en masacre cometida por paramilitares, hacendados, la fuerza pública y narcotraficantes. Entonces, como ahora, habíamos sido víctimas de amenazas de terratenientes, falsamente encubiertos como campesinos (Campesinos Embejucados de Colombia). El 11 de Agosto recibimos una amenaza racista de exterminio contra el pueblo Páez. El lenguaje utilizado coincide con el que usaba el Gobernador Juan José Cháux en público y en privado para referirse a nosotros, fomentando odio y agresión. El mismo Cháux que ahora se encuentra implicado por su complicidad con paramilitares, quienes le ayudaron a llegar a la Gobernación y en cuya compañía llegó recientemente a la Casa de Nariño en hechos que conoce la opinión pública. Todo esto bajo el Gobierno de un Presidente de la República que ha ofrecido recompensa por nuestras cabezas y nos ha llamado criminales por denunciar agresiones y violaciones a nuestros derechos.

Vengan de donde vengan las bombas y las balas, la intención es destruir nuestro proceso. Convocamos una amplia denuncia Nacional e Internacional y les mantendremos informadas e informados.

Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones para la Verdad y la Vida
ACIN Cxab Wala Kiwe Santander de Quilichao Septiembre 19 de septiembre de 2008, 2:58 a.m.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Amazing Map of Community Media

This Alternative Media Atlas was posted by Benjamin Ferron (University of Rennes in France.) * This map is part of a wider project, called "ALTERNATIVE MEDIA GLOBAL PROJECT" (AMGP), which actually benefits from the support of the OURMedia Network. The project became, this summer in Accra, Ghana, during the VIIth OurMedia International Conference, one of the five working groups of the OURMEDIA network. This project is based on three axes : a global BIBLIOGRAPHY on alternative media, a global MAP, and a global CHRONOLOGY.

Benjamin Ferron explains: I want to stress the fact that the Alternative Media Global Project is not "Benjamin Ferron's one" nor anybody's one, but belong to its contributors. It has been founded and is administrated by me, Clemencia Rodriguez and RE Davis (University of Oklahoma), but the website is a WIKI, which means that people interested in contributing can get involved, easily and collectively. If you want to contribute to this project, and add informations or create new pages in the website, please send an email to : AMGP@RISEUP.NET[7]

The list of the Alternative Media Global Project correspondents all over the world will be posted at :

*CONCERNING THE WORLDMAP OF ALTERNATIVE MEDIA, you have to know that we are looking for correspondents all over the world. We already have 50 persons working on it in the 5 continents, but we hope to find much more ! For the moment, we only have Chico Sant'anna in Brazil, but it would be better to have a real "BRAZILIAN TEAM" (as a French, I know they can be really good...), working collectively on brazilian alternative media (bibliography + map + chronology)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Violence and racism quell the indigenous film festival in Santa Cruz

La Paz, Sept. 10, 2008

The violence experienced on September 9 in the city of Santa Cruz has forced organizers to suspend, for security issues, the events planned in this city to launch the IX International Festival of Indigenous Peoples Film and Video. Following occupations by "civic" groups of the opposition of different public institutions and communication media centers related to the government, fearing potential attacks to participants of the festival. These have (been the) reasons (which) forced the indigenous organizations to suspend the Festival in Santa Cruz.Racist thugs roam the streets of Santa Cruz.

Since 1985, the Coordinator of Latin American Cinema and Communication Indigenous Peoples, CLACPI, alongside indigenous organizations and allies of different countries, promotes the development of International Film and Video Festivals of Indigenous Peoples. In this edition, violence and intolerance have silenced the message of Indigenous and originating in many parts of the world.

After the triumph of violence and unreason, the festival has little choice but to now move on to the city of La Paz, where the film "The Cry of the Jungle", the first indigenous feature film produced in Bolivia, was planned to start next Sunday September 14. This film narrates the struggle of indigenous peoples defending their territory in the Bolivian Amazon in the face of subjugation suffered at the hands of large landowners. These landowners and other opposition groups are precisely those who now seek to halt the process of empowerment of indigenous
peoples living in our country.

However, hardline opposition violence will not prevent the Ninth International Festival of Film and Video of Indigenous Peoples from: asserting full social, political and cultural recognition of indigenous peoples; highlighting the value
of images and communication that uphold a pluralistic world in which Indigenous peoples can build the future we seek; motivate the production of film and video works that give voice to indigenous peoples and that portray indigenous peoples
with dignity; strengthening the ties that bind and Native and non-indigenous people from different continents fighting for a more just world and for the full recognition of self-determination rights.

Organizing Committee, IX International Festival of Indigenous Peoples´ Film and Video.

Comment from Wilna Quarmyne, host of the Our Media meeting in Ghana this year:
"A strong reminder, as Jethro says, of the importance of OURMedia in creating - and maintaining - supportive spaces. Heartbreaking for the organizers to suspend the opening, but they did well to choose to protect Festival participants - and to continue to move on. "

Monday, September 8, 2008

Community Media Study Released by Council of Europe

The Council of Europe recently released a study, 'Promoting social cohesion. The role of community media', authored by Peter Lewis.
The pdf is located at:
In the report, it is suggested that the Council of Europe should encourage member states to:
• create legislative infrastructure, without which community media cannot develop;
• preserve analogue frequencies that may in some countries continue to be needed after the digital switchover, and to ensure that community media are not disadvantaged in the digital environment;
• recognise the social value of community media and its role as a form of local public service by committing funds to support the sector, both directly, with schemes such as the French levy on the commercial audiovisual sector (FSER), the allocation of a portion of the licence fee (Ireland, some German Länder) or by lowering the cost of licences, and indirectly, through funding
projects as part of government programmes directed towards health, community development, education, social inclusion, support for minority ethnic communities, etc.
• commissioning studies of best practice in community media, surveys of emerging needs such as multicultural programming
and audience research on the Australian model;
• supporting a trans-European network to monitor policy, a community media observatory;
• encouraging training schemes as part of lifelong learning and media literacy;
• supporting programme exchange within the European community media sector and beyond, with regions which are the “homelands” of diasporic communities;