Latin America's longest-running armed conflict has effectively come to an end. The goal now is to prepare Colombians for a post-war era. DW Akademie is supporting local media in areas most affected by the conflict.
Historic handshake: Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos (left) and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño
DW Akademie works together with journalists reporting for community media such as Radio Vokaribe, located in one of Colombia's main conflict areas
For several years now, DW Akademie has been supporting local media in applying journalism skills to address and process the country's violent past. The armed conflict was conducted mainly in remote areas, and a final peace deal will mean that thousands of former rebels will have to be reintegrated into civil society. This means that local journalists and media in these areas need to get ready for playing an important role in the reconciliation process and working through the past.
The national media are in the hands of just a few large corporations and now need to carry responsibility – but so do the journalists themselves, points out Ginna Merelo, a journalist from the leading daily newspaper El Tiempo and director of the journalists' organization Consejo de Redacción.
"We can change the media because we're the ones producing the stories," she says. "The media will be playing a major role in building a more open and just society, so they can't abdicate responsibility and continue peddling polarization as news."
Consejo de Redacción is a DW Akademie partner that conducts workshops and provides consulting on conflict-sensitive reporting. There are new and exciting times ahead. Although the signing date of the final peace accord hasn't yet been set, it's generally thought that it will be signed within the next few months.
But for the journalists working with Consejo de Redacción and other DW Akademie partners it's already clear that over the next few years, they will be playing a key role in the peace-building and healing process of their war-torn country.