Strengthening women and communities: challenges for communication in Latin America
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Men and women sit in a circle in a conference room and listen to one man in the group speaking.

Strengthening women and communities: challenges for communication in Latin America

Participants at the WACC partner forum “Communication: Cornerstone of Social Justice” agreed on the need to strengthen technical training processes to enhance women’s participation in content production and access to communication technologies such as the internet and community radio.

WACC Latin America brought together communicators from across the region to discuss challenges and grassroots experiences in Indigenous communication and community radio, environmental communication, citizen internet, and communication for migrants—all projects to contribute to social justice.

“The work of WACC regional partners is really important,” said WACC General Secretary Philip Lee, “since it underlines the struggles and aspirations of different peoples in different contexts. Strengthening their right to communicate helps restore their autonomy and human dignity.”

During the forum, experts denounced the corporate interests that threaten nature and the environment, thus undermining the life and cosmovision of Indigenous communities from Mexico to Patagonia and directly affecting the peoples of Abya Yala (“land in its full maturity” or “Continent of Life”).

Maribel Sontay of the Asociación de Mujeres Mayas Majawil Qíj Nuevo Amanecer of Guatemala highlighted the economic sustainability of community radio stations and the criminalization of human rights defenders.

The digital monopoly and even androcentrism in the media were pointed out as a constant in the region.

With regard to community media, participants highlighted the communication processes developed from the point of view of migrants and the Aymara, Garifuna, Mayan, and native peoples of Latin America.

Alfedro Rax, from the Central American Network of Community Radio Broadcasters of Guatemala, pointed out that “in most community radio stations there is little participation of female colleagues, so we need to open spaces and opportunities for them to participate in the creation of content… to ensure that there is at least one female technician in each radio station.”

Such experiences reveal the difficult yet valuable work of Indigenous communities that, despite the distances and gaps, sustain work towards forms of communication that represent them and reflect their contexts.

“The progress made by our Indigenous brothers and sisters in each country is a beacon for us to strengthen the struggle of our peoples in terms of strategies and proposals for inclusive communication,” concluded Rax.

Mabel Quinto of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca Colombia called for respect for the work of communicators in indigenous territories. “New forms of communication are necessary for the defence of not only human rights but also environmental and natural rights.”

Sandra Díaz represented Grupo Comunicarte, Colombia, an organization that focuses on the communication needs of migrant communities with contextual, localized information and through community radio stations in this region.

For Diaz, this type of meeting “allows us to create a continental integration of local work with steps towards global policies that envisage greater advocacy for our rights and respect for our mother earth and those who inhabit it.”

Based on the Spanish-language original article for cimacnoticias by Cirenia Celestino Ortega. Photo by Marcela Gabioud.

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