24.07.2002 -

Community Television for Fostering Cultural Diversity

- Media should give local communities the possibility to express themselves without being forced to "standardize their thoughts, songs, languages or any other form of expression" said the participants of the first Caribbean seminar on community television last week in San Pablo de Yao, in the remote Sierra Maestra mountains of Cuba.

Hosted by Television Serrana, a local community television, the seminar brought together more than 20 media experts who all appreciated the possibility to interact with community members during the seminar.


The recommendations of the participants of the seminar include the following issues:


· Need for widest freedom of community members to express themselves without hate, racism and the imposition of behavior that might be extraneous to their own cultures, taking into account the highest level of professional ethics; widest dissemination of cultural expressions of all ethnic groups within the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean without having to standardize their thoughts, songs, languages or any other form of expression;

· Preparation by Latin America and Caribbean countries of policies governing technical and human approaches to access to information and knowledge for all, particularly in the public domain;

· Encouragement of access to electromagnetic frequency for transmission with respect to community television and facilitate the means to access financial and technical resources for their installation and development;

· Formulation of legislation to enable mainstream media to broadcast realities of the way of life and well being in communities;

· Promotion of specialized and in-service training; carry out increased research on (community) media, new technologies and social implications.


The proposals for immediate action included:


· Creation and expansion of communication networks for information and exchange;

· Preparation of a directory of best practices, and technical and human resources existing in each institution;

· Continuous organization of fora, seminars and meetings between community media organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean.


UNESCO was requested to carry out research into the political, cultural and social consequences of the application of technologies and communication media, with the participation of indigenous communities, rural and remote communities, etc.


A multimedia report on this event is being prepared to include a series of documentary clips on this novel experience made by participants to be broadcast on national, regional and international television.


The seminar was sponsored by local institutions including the Cuban Institute for Radio and Television (ICRT), the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), the Press Information Center (CIP) and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO (CNCU), and enjoyed the support of UNESCO.

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