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Broadening boundaries: Members of WACC Southern Cone and Brazil discuss communication as a right

Gathered in Buenos Aires from February 21-23, the Sub-Regional Workshop of the World Association for Christian Communication – Latin America (WACC - AL), comprising the Southern Cone and Brazil, discussed the theme: “More rights, less gaps: broadening boundaries for the democratization of communication,” according to the project approved by WACC to be implemented in Latin America.

Buenos Aires, Saturday, March 1, 2014

The central objective of the workshop attended by some 30 participants from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil, was the articulating of a sub-regional working mechanism in Latin America for knowing, valuing and exchanging local experiences that take advantage of digital means and information and communication technologies oriented toward strengthening the right to communication and information.

The main panel discussions focused on digital gaps: the right to communication in the Southern Cone and Brazil regions, and the frameworks for the regulating of communication and information in Latin America.

The presentations in the first of the panel discussions looked at identifying and reflecting on the communication gaps in the Southern Cone and Brazil region, and how they affect excluded groups: women, children, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, migrants, the LBGTI population, and others. Dennis Smith, World President of WACC, spoke on “The WACC Vision of Digital Gaps and Communication in Relation to Excluded Groups.” Verónica González, a public television columnist on persons with disabilities, and part of the NGO REDI and the PAR Network, spoke on “The Right to Communication as Seen by Persons with Disabilities.”  Vera Vieira, Executive Coordinator of the Brazilian Women’s Education Network, who holds a Doctorate in Communication/Feminism from the USP/ECA, and is also the Executive Director of the Association of Women for Peace, spoke on the theme of gender.

Two Argentinean government officials took part in the discussions of the second of the panels that dealt with a diagnosis of the current state of the frameworks regulating communication and information in Latin America, with the purpose of pointing out risks and opportunities. Representing the Argentinean government were Cynthia Ottaviano, Public Ombudswoman, and Cecilia Merchán, Coordinator of Strategic Articulation of the Ministerial Cabinet Office. The situation of Brazil in terms of the present regulating framework was presented by journalist, Dr. in Theology, and university professor, Antonio Carlos Ribeiro. Arturo Bregaglio, Director of Community Radio Trinidad, told of the historical and present experience with the media legislation in Paraguay, and Benjamin Rodríguez, Vice President of the Association of Community and Citizens Radios of Chile (ANARCICH), spoke on how the political and social reality of the media is experienced in that trans-Andean country.

Also sharing their experiences at the workshop were different projects supported by WACC in the sub-region: the De la Azotea Civil Association, Artemisa, ELA, and Nueva Tierra from Argentina, the Trinidad Association of Paraguay, Daily Woman from Uruguay, and the Women’s Education Network in Brazil. 

The last day of the workshop was dedicated to the preparing of a necessary tool with which to identify available information of the various experiences, which will allow visibility, recognition, and learning from successful practices and failures, to help reduce the digital gaps that do not allow or make difficult the right to communication and information.

“I feel very satisfied with this seminar because beyond working on the democratization of communication in its different variants, meeting with colleagues reinforces the need to continue working together in all of our Latin America. The participation of people of diverse origins helps to amplify the message and role of WACC and I believe that ALC Noticias has the challenge of being a vehicle on behalf of that contribution. There is a challenge before us to continue working so that communication be plural, a right that people should claim for the constructing of a better future,” said Marcela Gabioud , Secretary of the Regional Executive Committee of WACC-Latin America.

Photo: Participants at WACC-AL Southern Cone and Brazil Sub-Regional Workshop, February, 2014, Buenos Aires (WACC-AL)

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