International NGO calls for action to strengthen community radio for indigenous people

    | August 13, 2012

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    In 1994, the United Nations designated August 9 as International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. To mark the occasion this year, the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) is calling on civil society organizations and governments to support community radio in an effort to advance the democratic participation and active citizenship of Indigenous peoples.

    The focus of this year’s International Day will be Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices. See: http://www.un.org/en/events/indigenousday/

    In a call for action issued from its Toronto office, WACC argues “that community media can encourage open dialogue and transparency at the local level, highlight good practices and expose weak governance and corruption.”

    While WACC acknowledges that “some countries have introduced laws and regulations supporting the work of community radio stations, much more needs to be done.”

    “Many countries lack legal recognition of community broadcasting, accessible licensing systems, allocation of affordable frequencies and appropriate mechanisms for financial support of community radio, especially with respect to Indigenous people,” said WACC in the statement.

    According to the statement, “Indigenous peoples face the particular challenge of cultural survival in contexts where political, social and economic pressures and discriminatory policies are forcing them to replace tribal languages with the dominant languages of the larger societies in which they live. One way of tackling this problem is through community radio, which can become the authentic voice of the people, preserving and revitalizing cultural practices and restoring a sense of dignity to their lives.”

    The full statement is available on WACC’s website at:  http://waccglobal.org/component/content/article/3131:wacc-calls-for-action-to-strengthen-community-radio-for-indigenous-people.html