Dealing with the past and the role of the media - themes that sparked lively debate in Medellín, Colombia. DW Akademie Director Christian Gramsch took part in the discussion.
How can and how should journalists report on conflict? DW Akademie and the University of Antioquia in Medllín, Colombia invited participants to an animated discussion.
On Monday, October 5, 2015, DW Akademie and the University of Antioquia hosted a panel discussion in Medellín titled "Public Service Broadcasters and a Culture of Remembrance." The discussion was part of a symposium organized by the Federation of Latin American Faculties of Social Communication (FELAFACS), and examined the role of Colombia's media and media professionals in working through the country's past. Germany's own experience in this area was held up as a model.
Peace reporting and narrating history
From left to right: Patricia Nieto, journalist and lecturer, University of Antioquia (Medellín), Omar Rincón, media critic, University of Loa Andes, Bogotá, Christian Gramsch, Director DW Akademie, Olga Castaño, National Television Authority, Carlos Carmona, Teleantioquia, Mirjam Gehrke, DW Akademie
An unstoppable force
The discussion also acknowledged the importance of testimonials from victims. "The government, journalists and the media were not the driving force behind the process of coming to terms with the past. It was the victims themselves. They are an unstoppable force," said journalist Patricia Nieto, who has published a number of books that give voice to survivors and the family members of victims. Carlos Carmona from regional public television broadcaster "Teleantioquia" admitted that Colombia's media are now facing the huge challenge of raising public awareness of survivors' stories.
As debate on the role of the media continued, DW Akademie Director Christian Gramsch said that all media professionals had an obligation to bring a varied and balanced perspective to their stand on the conflict.
Other participants included Olga Castaño, representative of public and private universities at Colombia's National Television Authority (Autoridad Nacional de Televisión) and David Hernández, Dean of the Faculty of Communications at the University of Antioquia, who gave the opening address. Mirjam Gehrke, DW Akademie's country coordinator for Ecuador, moderated the debate before opening the floor to questions from the audience.