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Human RightsGuatemala

Speaking up: Indigenous journalism in Guatemala

Anke Rasper
February 1, 2023

Topics: Dangerous reporting: covering indigenous issues in Guatemala is difficult and comes with a high price -- Why care about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)


Neglected diseases threaten billions and climate change spreads them further

More than 1.7 billion people are at risk of contracting a so called neglected tropical disease, or NTD for short. They mostly affect people in Africa, but also in other tropical regions around the globe from South East Asia to South America.  Global warming and tourism increasingly transport them to other regions as well, including Europe and the US, with growing risks. 

The 20 different NTDs - are all debilitating, can become chronic and even deadly for humans. Trachoma, Dengue Fever, Leishmaniasis and others: It's easy to contract them - just a mosquito bite, or exposure to a tiny parasite in the water or soil - but infections can lead to blindness, permanent disfigurement, or or massive organ failures. 

The head of the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute of Tropical Medicine in Hamburg explains why more efforts to combat the NTDs is important in a globalized world. 

Interview: Anke Rasper 

Dangerous reporting: covering indigenous people in Guatemala

In Guatemala, about half the population are of Mayan descent. While their ancestors ruled across central America for centuries in a thriving culture, the situation changed with the Spanish colonization in the 15th century - with dire impacts on indigenous languages, cultures and livelihoods. Since then, control of the government and ownership of most of the land has been limited to a small elite of Spanish descent. Today, there are huge disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous population in employment, income, health, and education. But here's hardly any reporting on rights issues and injustices in the media.

To counter this, a number of local journalists are using social media and local radio to report about the injustices that indigenous people face. But that can be dangerous for the reporters. 


Author: Andreas Boueke / Presenter: Natalie Muller





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