MEDIAFORUM Archive 1998

Literacy and Adult Education in the DR of Congo; Alley to Awareness
by Herman Kronenberg (4/1998)

Fr. Herman Kronenberg presents here his experiences in the Mbujimayi Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he started an adult literacy programme twelve years ago. These courses expanded into three other dioceses and today more than 4,000 people, especially women, participate in the scheme. Groups meet three times a week to learn reading and writing. The learners frequently declare, ‘I never thought I would be able to learn'. The newly literate participants regularly submit their ‘little stories' to a bulletin which is published as part of the scheme. One of the fundamental outcomes of the course is the participants' greater awareness of their personal situation and that of their community. Illiteracy in the DRC has always been a tool of political oppression. With these first steps in literacy comes, therefore, a lasting education in favour of development and liberation.

Le paysage radiophonique à Madagascar: Un Laboratoire
by Michel Philippart (3/1998)

The air of the island republic of Madagascar is suffused with the perfumes of vanilla and spices ...and with the sound of radio. In 1998, Madagascar counted some seventy stations, of which six were Catholic. All the problems which plague independent and community radio in continental Africa also apply to stations in Madagascar. These include economic viability, programme quality, professionally trained staff and, for Catholic radio in particular, the desire for national coverage. Should such coverage be achieved via the Internet, by relay or by satellite? The choices and experience of Madagascar will probably provide a testing ground for continental Africa.

Pluralism and the Internet: Chances for Local Radio
by Bruce Gerard (3/1998)

Are the new information technologies (NITs) leading us towards a world where we will all share the same cyber culture and speak the same language? The standardising and globalising effects of the NITs are well known. But is this their only possible impact? Initiatives in Latin America, combining the NITs with radio, support the development of a more democratic form of communication. Bruce Girard describes here the experiences of the Agencia Informative Pulsar, whose various services illustrate how the Internet can be used to reinforce the local and community character of radio and facilitate the exchange of programmes among radio stations and peoples.

The New Way of Being Church in Asia: Communication Challenges
by Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD, Executive Secretary FABC/OSC (2/1998)

Based on the final considerations and experiences of the First FABC-OSC Bishops' Meet ‘96, July 8 to 12, 1996 in Tagaytay City (Philippines), the second assembly of bishops and secretaries responsible in Bishops' Conferences for Social Communication (BISCOM) discussed in a special way the communication challenges of A New Way of Being Church in Asia (5th FABC Plenary, Bandung 1990). The 35 participants from 14 different countries, assembled in Samphran (Thailand) from November 24 to 28, 1997, took up the FABC considerations of the New Way of Being Church. Such a church is: a communion of communities, a participatory church, a witnessing and dialoguing church, a prophetic church.

L'industrie du livre en Afrique: Libraires Cherchent Editeurs
par Sr. Amélie-Rose Ateba, Abbé Yves-Marie Joseph Tanga et Michel Philippart (2/1998)

All over Africa, booksellers report how extremely difficult and mostly impossible it is for them to continue their activities: «People don't buy books!», «Books are too expensive»... Besides the economic reasons which affect the book industry in Africa, perhaps there are wider and more fundamental problems: the tremendous lack of locally produced and appropriate books! There are too few book publishers in Africa who offer the market - the booksellers - relevant material. By «relevant» we mean books on the one hand dealing with daily life and concerns of the people, and on the other hand attractive books at affordable prices.

Communication Technologies and the Human Person: An Unbalanced View
by Gaston Roberge S.J. (2/1998)

In our world of high-technology communication, the key to liberty, internal peace and personal integrity is self-discipline. To this end, we must take positive action to create an inner space, an inner silence. Simple, non-violent acts can be positive symbols and signifiers for the person who engages in them, to the point where they assume a personal sacramental value in our society.

Languages in North East India: Peoples Powerful Property
by George Plathottam SDB (1/1998)

Language is one of the most fundamental means of human communication. It is also the means of transmitting and conserving culture and values. The North-East of India provides a significant instance of the problems involved with language: this region has a population of 31.5 million and more than 440 languages and dialects. While there is no denying the difficulties and problems associated with such linguistic diversity, it is these languages which create an extraordinary cultural richness. In a world drawn towards globalisation, there is a need to seek a balance between the use of such languages as English and Hindi, which are the only way to overcome the isolation of different language groups from each other, and the need to protect distinctive traditions, which are the vehicles of indigenous culture and a force for resisting the cultural uniformity of mass media societies. The Church in this region attaches great importance to the preservation and advancement of these dialects and indigenous cultures.

New Catholic Radio Network in Poland: PLUS with additional C(ompetence)
by Andrea Sofie Jannusch (1/1998)

With the formation of the new National Catholic Radio Network PLUS S.A., 15 stations are setting the course to a remarkable shift in the structure of the Catholic radio scene in Poland. The largest (and most successful) diocesan stations, we submitted under the label Commercial - Catholic - Competitive (see article in IB 3/1996) want to emphasise a fourth C - for Competence - with the creation of a network which will also include some smaller radios in strategical places like the capital Warsaw.