In Ecuador, DW Akademie focuses on the empowerment of community media.
DW Akademie in Ecuador pursues the goal of making community media strong, as a profession and in the financial sense. The media landscape in Ecuador is generally divided into two camps: private media, which is critical of the government, and state-sponsored media, which essentially serves as mouthpiece of the government.
The extreme polarization means that the general public has little confidence in the media as a whole; journalists are often regarded as corrupt. In recent years, the government has increased its control over the media after a new communications law was adopted and a new media regulatory authority was created.
Reporters face substantial fines if the regulatory authority feels they do not adequately report on government activities or if their reporting is unduly critical of politicians. Mainly the populations of the two major cities, Quito and Guayaquil, enjoy access to mass media. Rural areas, such as the Amazon region, have little access to information. Another obstacle in providing information in rural areas is that the new law that forces all media providers to have at least one professional journalist with academic qualifications on staff. This poses a huge challenge for many community radio stations.
In Ecuador, the main focus is on strengthening the community media sector. DW Akademie provides consultation services to the radio network alliance CORAPE and its 24-member community media organizations on their programming strategies. This includes advising on alternative business models to help stations become financially independent of state funding.
It also encompasses social media training in order to encourage a wider audience, and young people in particular, to connect and interact with the stations. CORAPE is receiving support in its endeavor to establish itself as a center of excellence for community media in Ecuador.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country coordinator: Patricio Luna
Locations: Quito, Otavalo, Cuenca, Riobamba, Manabí
Local Partners: Coordinadora de Radios Populares del Ecuador (CORAPE), Escuelas Radiofónicas Populares del Ecuador (ERPE), Radialistas Apasionadas y Apasionados, Radio Católica de Cuenca, Radio Ilumán, Radio Runakunapak, Radio La Voz de Guamote
Main Focus: Professionalization and viability of the media sector, civic engagement, participation of disadvantaged groups, participatory media services and community media, networks in journalism