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Frederick Noronha: Background from Columiba: websites...

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Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 21:40:27 +0500
From: Frederick Noronha <>
Subject: Background from Columiba: websites...


1. Colombia is a multicultural country of 40 million people. 70% live in 
urban areas. Commonly identified with drugs, in general, Colombia has a 
solid economy, democratic politics, high literacy and innovative 
development programmes. From 1997 there has been an economic crisis with 
high unemployment. There are 25,000 violent deaths a year, mostly from 
criminal, including intrafamiliar, violence. NGO and civil society 
organizations are strong. The 1991 Constitution put consultation and 
participation at the heart of political and civil life. A long term war 
between the armed forces, guerillas and para-militaries continues.


98% of people access TV. 50% of educational institutions have TVs and 
VCRs. Children watch 2.5 hours of TV a day. 30% of programming is imported. 
Radio reaches everyone. There are many newspapers. A strong cultural 
tradition exists across the many ethnic and geographic communities. 
Ownership and control of media are rapidly moving to the private sector. 
The two main TV channels no longer have public service slots. In 1998 3 new 
TV national channels were allocated to major economic groups. There has 
been a similar trend in radio. The major newspapers are now becoming 
involved in large scale multi-media operations.

 Fundacion Social - national - Mission includes: "to aid social, moral 
and economic improvement of the working classes - help the poor develop 
their potential...with initiative, decision-making capacity and control..." 
The Fundacion's work is not the sum of 'small or local' developments, but a 
"way of seeing" development ("una mirada del desarrollo"). Focus is on 
"construction of Integrated Local Development". 200 "workers for change" in 
marginal communities in seven cities support people having a voice and 
influence in development planning - eg the city government. Communication 
is integral to all action, including: Education for community "formation" 
through dialogue with leaders/decision makers and community communication 
based on "ludico" [artistic, expressive, playful].

Dario Angel/German Rey

PROYECTO 2000 - national - The Minister of Communication, Mrs. Claudia 
de Francisco, is guiding Proyecto 2000, a policy shift from a focus on 
telecommunications to a "Ministry of Knowledge". Special attention is being 
paid to training decision makers in communication for development and 
access to information, including facilitating community access to 
information technology. Compaq donated 200 computer "nodes" for access to 
the Internet for schools and community centers.

Alberto Lopez

Medios para la Paz [Media for Peace] - national - brings together 
journalists for reflection on the role of journalism in a country in 
conflict. Seeks to disarm language (desamar la palabra) and break the 
passivity and indifference of the mass media and civil society on armed 
conflict and peace. Action includes: workshops providing journalists space 
for discussion and reflection on their profession; tertulias (discussion 
groups) with experts on conflict and peace issues; 'Press Club' for 
off-the-record discussions with key 'actors' in the conflict; and 
'encounters' with Directors and Owners of the Media.

Gloria de Castro

Colnodo - national - provides electronic communication services and 
facilitates exchange of information and experiences with sustainable 
development and human rights organizations. Two main projects are: The 
Sustainable Development Network; and, "Neighbourhood Information Units" - 
placing new technologies in low income barrios to facilitate telling the 
stories of the barrio, sharing community experiences and participating in 
the relationship of the barrio to the city.

Julian Casabuenas

The Escuela de Communication Social - Universidad del Valle - Cali - 
For the School, communication "is not the space of a discipline 
...[but]...the centre of a philosophical, aesthetic and sociological 
reflection...on the crisis of contemporary reason and modern society". The 
academic programme 'forms' social communicators who [can] not only 
understand the problems and processes of communication, but also offer 
solutions that coincide with social needs and social demands...are able to 
value and stimulate processes of cultural production...and, can handle 
critical analytical tools to approach the communication process... The 
School is also involved in: Telepacifico, the regional public service 
broadcaster; and the community radio network on the Pacific coast.

Contact - Fernando Calero

Telemedellin - Medellin - The only local public service TV channel in 
Colombia - funded by major public institutions in Medellin. Since 1997 it 
has developed a reputation for alternative, quality programming that 
facilitates space for dialogue and cultural self-recognition. Participation 
and dialogue are central to all of Telemedillin's locally produced 
programming, which include: Telemedelin es una nota' - Telemedellin is cool 
- supporting homework activities; Metropolitanas' - positive, analytical 
treatment of the 'news of the day'; and 'Vida en Video' (Life on Video) - 
open  space for videos made by the viewers.

Ana Cristina Navarro

 Dr. Jesus Martin-Barbero is a distinguished communication scholar. He 
challenges the dominant thinking and paradigms in this field. Excerpts from 
the full interview on the web site include: "communication was really never 
the starting point. The starting point ... was a political project. I 
generally perceive in the First World some sort of belief that 
communication processes are the same all over... In Latin America we have 
been always be able to understand communication one can only do 
it from the specific culture of those that "do or make" communication".

Full interview:

Thanks for these inputs to:
Web Site:
Director: Warren Feek

Frederick Noronha Freelance Journalist Saligao 403511 Goa India  Phone 0091.832.271490 / 27 86 83