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Friedsky: Authentic Media from Below in Bolivia

Friedsky: Authentic Media from Below in Bolivia


July 4, 2005
Please Distribute Widely

Narco News publishes a story of independence on this July 4th: a report by our correspondent Jean Friedsky in Bolivia on that country's blossoming independent media movement. Friedsky leads a tour of Bolivia's many grassroots media outlets - "media from below" - that together form an informal, decentralized network that was vital to the social movements' victories in last month's conflicts. With numerous examples of these media's vital role in the mobilizations, Friedsky gives a vibrant, living image of what could serve as a model of authentic, popular communication for other peoples and nations around the world who are facing the oppressive power of the commercial media middlemen.

Friedsky reports:

"On June 7, the day after President Carlos Mesa resigned, the capital of Bolivia was nearing a breaking point. The police had grown intolerant of the month-long street protests, and by mid-day the air downtown was heavy with gas. Gathered on a corner two blocks from the Plaza San Francisco, five older indigenous women huddled around a radio. One of Radio Erbol's reporters was calling in live from the Prado, where, she said, the police were sending out contingents to clear the streets, block by block, to the south and west of this main artery. A group of younger men leaned in to hear as she continued: the police's advance was being challenged by groups of protesters who were re-filling the area, beginning with San Francisco. Before signing off to let her colleague in El Alto report on the conditions above, she confirmed that Congress had again not met, despite the now urgent need to choose a new head of state.

"Heads shook, cigarettes were passed around and within moments, decisions based on what was just reported were made. Everyone would maintain a presence in the streets - the men would descend to support those confronting the police lines, the women would ascend up and away just one block.

"This scene was typical of the streets in those days. 'During times of conflict, the entire structure [of the radio station] changes... we suspend all other normal programs to bring continuing, live coverage of what is happening in the streets,' states Gladys Mita, the lead social reporter (as in social movements) for Radio Erbol. Operated by a consortium of 70 churches nationwide, Erbol is one of Bolivia's largest national radio networks."

Read the full report in The Narco News Bulletin, here:

http://www.narconews.com/Issue38/article1373.html

From somewhere in a country called América,

Dan Feder
Managing Editor
The Narco News Bulletin
http://www.narconews.com

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