Bolivia: New Cooperation Project | Latin America | DW | 26.04.2012
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Latin America

Bolivia: New Cooperation Project

It's a worldwide premiere: DW Akademie and the German Development Service (DED) are cooperating in a journalists' training program in Bolivia.

Gerda Meuer, DW-AKADEMIE director (second from the right), with project partners

Gerda Meuer, DW-AKADEMIE director (second from the right), with project partners

The auditorium at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (UASB) in La Paz is almost full. But instead of students, Bolivian journalists and staff from international development organizations are filling the seats to listen to Gerda Meuer (DW Akademie) and Hans Schoenenberger (DED) officially open their first cooperation position for media development. The university is the project's local partner.

#geosmall#"Our country needs good journalists," says Karen Longaric. The UASB director in La Paz welcomes this new cooperation project which she hopes will improve the journalistic quality in the country. The problem? Media in Bolivia polarize. Almost every newspaper, radio station and television program are associated with a political power - and this spurs political confrontation. Information is usually mixed with opinion. "We have great hopes this project will help journalism in Bolivia emerge from a crisis," says Erick Torrico, academic head of the university's communications department. He, together with representatives from journalist and media organizations, had been urging the German partners to introduce practice-oriented advanced training and consulting for journalists.

Support for stations and universities

And this is the goal of the new cooperation project, explains Gerda Meuer, director of Deutsche Welle's Akademie. On the one hand it will support the country's universities in designing practice-oriented journalism training. On the other, DW Akademie will also increase its cooperation particularly with select local radio and television stations, helping them to convey relevant information to the public in a clear and understandable way. Trainer and journalist Peter Deselaers will coordinate these activities and head the new coordinating position at the La Paz university.

Strengthening journalism means supporting democracy

For Hans Schoeneberger, DED's country director in Bolivia, working together with DW Akademie is ideal. "We're combining the strengths of both organizations," he says. The DED has more than 40 years of experience in local development cooperation and the DW Akademie offers longstanding expertise in international media development. DW Akademie director Gerda Meuer agrees, adding "We're continuing our goal to work even closer with other German development organizations in long-term media development projects."