Building an Indigenous Communications Agenda

Building an Indigenous Communications Agenda

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October 30, 2007

Under the theme “Building an Indigenous Communications Agenda,” the 2nd Seminar for Indigenous Communicators began in Mexico yesterday, bringing together 60 communicators from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Russia and Nicaragua.

The seminar aims to discuss indigenous communicators issues and technology (community radio, film and video, the Internet); government policies and indigenous Peoples right to information and communication, and access to the media.

Aswell, perhaps most importantly, they are also working to develop strategies and coordinate action on issues of common interest., for instance, an International agenda for Indigenous Peoples communication rights.

The initial seminar was held in Buenos Aires last year, where they discussed ‘the technology challenge;’ During which participants agreed on the clear need to strengthen the link between indigenous communicators in an open and inclusive framework.

The current event is taking place at the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, next to the archaeological site where, on August 13, 1521, the bastion of Cuauhtemoc was taken prisoner by Hernan Cortes after 80 days of indigenous resistance.

Below, you will find a google translated version of a recent article about the Seminar, published on La Journada

They represent the only alternative to media controlled by conservative sectors
by Karina Avilés, October 30, 2007

Faced with media highly conservative and without the slightest criticism, communicators indigenous people play a vital role to enforce their claims, disseminate their reality, make complaints and generate opportunities for reflection own functions of a social nature to those who have renounced the traditional media, said Alejandro Parellada, coordinator of Indian Affairs for Latin America of the International Working Group for Indigenous Peoples.

In turn, acknowledged that although Mexico was one of the main supporters of the National Nations declaration on indigenous rights, this country, like many in Latin America, had not fulfilled its commitment to provide indigenous peoples the right to media.

“Just as there is a digital divide, there is a gap instrumentation rights; There are laws, regulations are not met, “he said.

Interviewed on the occasion of the second Communicators Indigenous Seminar, which began yesterday with the presence of more than 60 representatives of media different languages, pointed out that a breach of these commitments by governments has forced communities to pass on radio pirates, and a good example is Mexico.

Currently, he added, there is a new trend to close radio and not give licenses and frequencies. “Unfortunately, the State does not provide any form of support” and the efforts being made are based on voluntary work and international cooperation, which in some cases is more convenient to the temptations of interventionist governments.

Therefore, proposals have been made to build up a network of pirate radio stations, because if the State fails, it does not prevent people communicate and communities are ingenian to meet these goals.

He recalled that in Peru there are 2 thousand community radio, and in the jungles of that country are the most popular alternative media. However, there are instances of other nations, such as Chile, where the press is controlled by the most conservative sectors.

In most Latin American countries, there are media that forget their social role, and can be counted on the fingers of the hand those who are not controlled by the conservative sector actors.

That is why indigenous communicators play a role that is not made by traditional means, he added. In this regard, he said that one of the objectives of this meeting is to define a common agenda around the proposals of the various communication projects.

Among the priority issues is that of the digital divide. In this connection, he recalled that Internet connections in Manhattan are the same as in the whole of Africa. She also said that the issue of training is critical, because the products must be of good quality, and another point to debate is whether the indigenous communications should only be directed to the Indian peoples, or should be intercultural.

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