Celebrating the Alternative Media Movement in Venezuela
arts and media |
Friday July 06, 2012 13:33 by pat c
As Hugo Chavez faces another election the capitalist media has gone into overdrive. Its message is that dissent is crushed in Venezuela. Yet from below comes another meme: the story of alternative media. Full text at link.
Today we celebrate the national day of journalists in Venezuela. Because of this day, it’s worth remembering a phrase that was written in the streets of Argentina during the December 2001 crisis: “They piss on us and the press says it’s raining”. This aphorism captions the situation of the social media today. Readers are reading, listening, or watching the information they receive more and more carefully.
However, the people of Venezuela have gone beyond that. Thanks to legal, technological, technical, and formative support from the government of the president, Hugo Chavez, and because of the determination of citizens after 2000, a national system of community and alternative media started to be born. It’s a system which, even though it has a long way to go, it is a symbol of collective organisation and the satisfying of everybody’s right to communicate.
So, today from 10am, alternative and community media will march from Venezuela Plaza to Llaguno bridge in support of collective organisation, grassroots communication, president Chavez’s project, and against media manipulation.
Vindicating the people’s struggles
The director of alternative and community media with the communications ministry, Reinaldo Escorcia, explained that “popular (grassroots) communication, a name we give to the non profit community and alternative media is what is happening in the hearts of the communities to promote social organisation and historical and cultural heritage in the geographic space where it’s being developed”.
The civil servant said that this type of communication aims to vindicate the struggles of the people and strengthen popular power. “A fundamental characteristic of this media is that they have a direct relationship with the people. Further, they promote the creation of the content with the listeners through regular community assemblies,” eh said.
The general coordinator of the Community Foundation Burate Arriba, in Bocono, Trujillo state, and communicator with Radio Libertad 99.3 FM in that area, Valentia Blanco, believes “popular communication came out of the need to give the communities a voice so taht they could practice their right to communicate... it was necessary to counter the private media which doesn’t transmit correct or opportune information”.
Before, they were persecuted
Escorcia considers the Regulation of Radio Difusion and Community Open Television for Public Service and Non Profit 2002 a landmark in popular communication: “That was the first tool that gave those types of media legality. From that moment popular communication began to grow”.
He said that, even though popular communication existed during the Fourth Republic governments, it was persecuted.
One of the founders of Catia TV, Leafar Guevara, agreed on that point: “Community media at that time was illegal”. She commented that that through such media the possibility to show the struggles and achievements of communities was opened up.