Freedom of expression in Colombia has become highly restricted after decades of conflict between the government, leftist guerillas and right-wing paramilitaries. Polarization, marginalization and the exchange of insults between the opposing sides are the norm, and when media professionals venture to address sensitive topics they quickly find themselves harassed and threatened by illegal armed groups. Just a few carefully executed public murders suffice to intimidate entire categories of professionals. The most influential media outlets are in the hands of a few large corporations and are closely aligned with economic interests. Members of ethnic minorities are barely represented in the media.
DW Akademie projects in Colombia focus on providing support for local initiatives that aim to increase media diversity. For example, the establishment of an indigenous media center is being facilitated in one of the country subdivisions called the Cauca Department, which has been a flashpoint for armed conflict over the past decades. The goal is to lend a voice to the victims of violence and to marginalized minorities. The processing of current and recent conflicts is one of the key challenges facing journalists and the media in Colombia. The Antioquia Department with its capital Medellín sees the highest number of victims. Here DW Akademie supports the local media and victims' initiatives in their remembrance efforts. Plans are being made to establish a center of excellence for journalism and historical reappraisal at the public University of Antioquia.
Country coordinator: Matthias Kopp
Locally deployed specialists: The country coordinator is currently a guest lecturer at the University of Antioquia in Medellín.
Local partners: Consejo de Redacción (CdR), Universidad de Antioquia, Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca, Radio Vokaribe