In Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, DW Akademie supports media outlets and networks in forging new alliances with civil society organizations to raise decision-makers' awareness of environmental conflicts.
Colombia and neighboring countries in the Amazon basin have become the scene of serious environmental conflicts, where illegal mining and deforestation have resulted in the disruption of local livelihoods and intensified the impact of global climate change. Colombia, for example, is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental activists who, if they dare protest, face threats or violent repercussions. Violent groups also target media workers who report on environmental destruction and human rights abuses.
While local and community journalists and their media outlets are often the first to learn about emerging conflicts, many are ill-prepared for reporting on sensitive issues. When they do, their reports have mainly a local context and fail to gain the attention of decision-makers or others responsible who are based mainly in the capitals.
DW Akademie's current regional project aims to build bridges and forge alliances between local and community media and organizations that advocate for environmental protection and the rights of local populations affected.
Innovative solutions and spaces bring local and community journalists together with civil society organizations whose partnerships are vital for journalists, especially for those working under precarious conditions. In return, civil society organizations have better access to first-hand information that has been researched and documented by local media workers. Through this collaboration, local conflicts can be made visible and presented to political decision-makers for concerted action and change.
In Colombia, DW Akademie works with Agenda Propia, an innovative digital media organization and journalist network that is primarily made up of women and that specializes in collaborative intercultural journalism, particularly in the Putumayo region in south-western Colombia.
Exploitation of the Amazon region, however, does not stop at national borders. As a result, DW Akademie promotes a regional strategy with partners in Ecuador and Peru. In Ecuador, CORAPE, a community media network, offers public dialogues which bring together decision-makers with those affected and which are recorded for public radio. In Peru, Servindi, an intercultural news agency, puts indigenous topics on the national news agenda via its network of indigenous journalists and community media practitioners.
DW Akademie has been active in Colombia for more than two decades, and in 2020 opened a regional office in the Colombian capital, Bogota. The office implements regional projects and since 2021 has also been responsible for DesenreDatos, an Ecuadorian project funded by the GIZ, and which trains local journalists on data-journalism in order to further transparency and prevent corruption.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director Colombia, Ecuador and Peru: Magnus Kossmann
Focus: Environmental communication and journalism, advocacy, access to information, participation of socially disadvantaged groups, (local) participatory media formats and community media, journalism training, intercultural and indigenous communication, cross-field collaboration