APC welcomes its first member in Paraguay

By APCNews     RISHIKESH, 28 April 2011

One of Paraguay’s most widely-listened to community radio stations, Radio Viva, has recently joined the APC community as a member through its parent organisation, Asociación Trinidad Comunicación, Cultura y Desarollo. Asociación Trinidad works towards the democratisation of communications and improving civil participation through solidarity in action, for a sustainable Paraguay. One of the many ways it achieves this work is through Radio Viva.

Radio Viva: The people’s voice

With the end of the country’s dictatorship in 2008 came the opportunity for change that people were starved for. But access to the internet, and therefore information, is still one of the lowest in Latin America.

With over fifteen years of experience, the station broadcasts 24 / 7 with varied community programming open to any sector, and has played an important role in the creation of community radios in the country, as well as what has been dubbed a “virtual radio school” for its work in radio education. The station places special emphasis on marginalised groups in the country with little or no opportunities to access ICTs or ICT training. Its programmes help civil society articulate their social, political and cultural interests, placing special emphasis on human rights, gender equality and reproductive health, protecting the environment, consolidating democratic values, fighting against corruption, and building the civil movement.

Radio Viva works on a variety of projects, such as “El Karaku de la cuestión” (the bone of the matter) and “Paraguay al mundo” (Paraguay to the World), programs that link activities with the Paraguayan diaspora in Spain, the United States, and Argentina. Cultural activities are channeled to governmental bodies, but the programmes also serve to document and address abuses that can occur against Paraguayan citizens living in those countries.

It also plays a role in helping make communications in the country more democratic. Radio Viva is a member of the working team for the approval of the Paraguayan Community Radio Regulations, formed in 2009, which works towards establishing communications norms for community and public radios in the country.

Helping women and children find their voice

Violence against women (VAW) is an issue in Paraguay that Radio Viva is working to bring an end to. It is currently developing a programme together with ALTER VIDA, that seeks to address VAW through mass media. Radio Viva also holds workshops, forums, and other activities that encourage women to participate as agents of change in decision- and policy-making processes.

It also participates in forums like the Coordination of Women in Paraguay, a feminist forum that takes place in Paraguay every other year, and acts as a communications resource for live broadcasting and feminist movement building.

Because children and teenagers also have something to say, Radio Viva supports the production of radio programmes that focus on children’s rights. The course, which is supported by UNICEF Paraguay, trains youth on how to conduct and produce radio programmes for other youth in ten of the country’s districts and provides youth with the space they need to express themselves – especially in times of crisis.

Human rights at the core

Asociación Trinidad aims for social and cultural “profitability” – a society that is sustainable and democratic. Its core values are freedom of expression, editorial independence, promoting citizen journalism and equality.

“…as an institution that is committed to the development of the country, we contribute to the creation of a basis for ‘cultural participation’, starting from a collective learning process that allows organised citizenry to participate in public processes, making use of their civil rights and duties. We do this through the radio and ICTs.”

Photo by Radio Viva