MEDIAFORUM Archive 1992

América Latina: Nuevos Desafíos para las Radios Populares
by Humberto Vandenbulcke (4/1992)

In Latin America, a continent - media-wise - still dominated by radio, the popular radio stations have been playing a central role in evangelisation and development for decades already. The growing influence of neo-liberalism confronts the Church, as well as popular movements with new challenges concerning their specific service to the people. Humberto Vandenbulcke, Executive Secretary of ALER (Latin American Association of Radio Education) raises severa1 questions and offers some guidelines towards an actualised concept of popular radio which takes the massive character of communications far more seriously.

Why Calculating Makes Sense: Don't Abandon Printed Materials to their Fate
by Karen Watermann (3/1992)

A manuscript is far from being a completed book, and editing work is a profession in itself, requiring skills and experience. For this reason alone, particularly within the Churches in so-called Third World countries, the existence of publishing houses is vital and must be encouraged. In addition to the selection of 'good manuscripts', their preparation, promotion and distribution, the work of an editor also includes the calculation of production costs, estimating print runs and fixing prices. We think that the two formulas offered in the following article will be useful tools in completing these tasks.

Medios Grupales: Encuentro con la Experiencia
by Franziska Moser (3/1992)

In collaboration with the Universidad Salesiana and the Universidad Gregoriana, both located in Rome, PROA, the Latin American organisation working in the field of group communications, invited, February last, students from al1 over the world "to meet the experience" or: to gain own experiences on how to use group media in daily pastoral work. Eight 'pioneers' with a broad background in this field were present mainly as ‘resource persons': facilitating the interchange within the group to gain the necessary background information on the theme, and helping the fifty participants to build bridges between theory and practice by realising small productions on their own. The following article from Dr. Franziska Moser, PROA President, allows an insight into the objectives and realisations of the course, its methodology and content. Preparations for the next course in Rome are already underway. And it might be that the impulses of "meeting the experience" will also bear fruits in other places.

Des Radios Chretiennes en Afrique: Un Défi à Haut Risque
by Michel Philippart (3/1992)

Radio activities always have to be part of the pastoral plan for the social communication of each diocese and local Church. Now in Africa, under the present circumstances and the possible results of democratic waves, perhaps, for the first time, the dream of having private - and Church - radio stations could soon become reality. And so, in many African countries the Churches would like to create their own. Nevertheless, before implementing such activities, one has to reflect, plan and carefully prepare radio projects: not only on the technical aspects, but also the programming, and the administrative, organisational and financial implications. Furthermore other questions have to be raised: Is radio the most appropriate way to communicate with and educate the people according to the objectives and circumstances? Are there no other alternatives: reinforcement of the Christian presence on the national broadcasting corporation, collaboration with other groups such as NGOS, co-operatives or communities which have perhaps similar projects, encouragement of lay people for taking initiatives towards the creation of private Christian radio stations...?

Christian Radio in Africa: Today's Challenges
by "Catholic International", vol. 3 no. 13, 1-14 July 1992 (2/1992)

The initial period of democratisation and the emergence of multi-party systems on the African continent was accompanied by a 'springtime for the press' (see CAMECO Information Bulletin 2/1991). Today, however, it is in the radio field that major changes are being mapped out on the communication landscape of Africa. National radio and television monopolies have been broken up. This is a consequence not only of new radio projects, be they private, local, community-based, rural or educational, but also of pressure from international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB), whose requirements have forced governments to privatise semi-public structures such as radio and television. These developments in the radio and television sector will have considerable impact, particularly on the Churches. Already in some countries, in particular in the context of national radio and television stations in the process of privatisation, increasingly choices are having to be made between drastically reducing the airtime currently devoted to religious broadcasting, or paying for it. Self-financing and commercial viability is responsible for this development. The prospect of deregulation of the audio-visual media has stimulated a veritable explosion of proposals for radio projects: in the last few months alone, CAMECO has heard of more than twenty-five proposals for FM stations in the Catholic Church in Africa. An additional indicator is the proliferation of colloquia, seminars, meetings, symposia etc. devoted to the theme of radio in Africa. In this context, prior to reviewing this subject at greater length in a future issue of our Information Bulletin, it seems useful and appropriate to publish here the final communiqué of the Ecumenical Consultation which took place last April in Limuru, Kenya at the initiative of the Kenya National Council of Churches, with the support of the World Association of Christian Communication, London (WACC, Great Britain) and the Evangelisches Missionswerk, Hamburg (Germany).

Daughters of St. Paul: You Yourselves Give Them Something to Read
by Sr. Teresa Marcazzan (1/1992)

'To use all means of social communication, the press, radio, television and cinema to spread the gospel and to promote the dignity of each individual person' is the declared vocation of the Daughters of St Paul. To further this aim, they began building up the publishing house of St Paul Publications-Africa (SPPA) in East Africa in 1980. SPPA's list currently offers more than one hundred titles in three languages (English, Portuguese and Swahili) and distributes in more than fifteen African countries. However, for the vast majority of people in Africa a book is still a luxury item, unaffordable even when subsidised. Under these conditions, how can books promoting humane and Christian values be disseminated? To this end, the Daughters of St Paul launched the concept of the mini-library in Uganda in 1985. All that this requires is a cupboard for storing books, a box for filing readers' cards or a room where people can come to read. Today more than 1500 mini-libraries, with at least sixty titles each, have been opened in more than fifteen African countries, in an extremely wide range of premises: parish buildings, schools, hospitals, youth clubs, organisations, prisons, pastoral centres, old peoples' homes, etc. CAMECO asked Sr. Teresa Marcazzan, head of St Paul Publications-Africa, Nairobi to tell our readers about the mini-libraries project initiated by the Daughters of St Paul in Africa.

El Riesgo Financiero de la Radio Actividad Educativa
by Roberto Tapia (1/1992)

No global schemes exist which could solve the problems of financing community, popular or educational radio stations. Each case has to be carefully examined, considering the working frame and national or regional regulations. Applications should be made, wherever possible, for commercial licences, even if this is beyond the objectives, in order to assure part financing e.g. by sale of airtime. Due to political or other pressures it is often the case that only licences for educational and/or cultural activities are granted. It is very difficult to make a station self-supporting in such cases since financia1 entries have to be strictly non-commercial, such as subsidies from benefactors, government or fundraising. An educational or social radio having commercial entries, should keep these below 50% of the budget to be shared among different clients in order to avoid financia1 dependence or indirect control of the programme content. Advertisements containing elements against the (educational, social) po1icy of the radio have to be rejected (alcohol, tobacco, promotion of consumerism, etc.). A popular radio generally involves its target audience in its preparation and maintenance, which should also be the main source of income. This however is not possible everywhere due to unemployment or poverty of the people. In this case the funding agencies are requested for support to overcome these real needs. To solve the economical situation of educational radio stations, the ECCA system could be used as an example, in which the scholars and governments contribute financially to the educational plan. In order to balance the various possibilities of financing, an appropriate training of the staff, not only in its technical aspects but also at administrational level, must be considered to be able to locate first, local sources of income - audience, local Church or organisations, publicity - before applying for externa1 aid. Reaching financia1 autonomy will remain the Utopia of educational and cultural radio in certain countries, but the risk of externa1or local dependency should be minimised by a variety of sources.