DW Akademie's projects in Colombia focus on providing support for local initiatives that aim to increase media diversity.
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.
In Colombia, DW Akademie helps media and citizens' initiatives deal with human rights crimes that were committed during the armed conflict. What happened and how can we prevent the horrors of the past from happening again? DW Akademie brings together members of different social groups, like media and journalist organizations, victims' associations, universities and ethnic minorities.
Moreover, DW Akademie works on projects that focus on providing support for local initiatives that aim to increase media diversity. An indigenous media center, for instance, is being established in the Cauca region, hot spot for armed conflict over the past decades. The goal is to lend a voice to the victims of violence and marginalized minorities. Processing current and past conflicts is one of the key challenges journalists and the media face in Colombia. The Antioquia region with its capital Medellín has the highest number of victims. This is where DW Akademie helps local media and victim groups' memorial initiatives. Plans are being made to establish a center of excellence for journalism and historical analysis at the public University of Antioquia.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country Coordinator: Matthias Kopp
Locally deployed specialists: The country coordinator is based in Medellín and currently a guest lecturer at the University of Antioquia in Medellín.
Locations: Medellín, Bogotá, Barranquilla y Popayán
Main focus: Professionalization and viability of the media sector, civic engagement, participation of disadvantaged groups, participatory media services, journalism education, conflict-sensitive reporting, networks in journalism, remembrance and reconciliation