community media browsing by tag


DKY FM, Community media with many faces

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Lovik and Sehle (2005, p. 5) talk about different actors that continue to promote different visions of info-development and of ambitious info-development projects that struggle to find a role for themselves.

DKY FM is a youth radio programme that indeed uses many channels to get their message out. You could say that the programme falls within the definition of both Community media and New Community media.

The radio programme was founded in 2008 by the Fundación Puntos de Encuentro, a feminist NGO in Nicaragua, to approach subjects as sexual health, sexual identity and diversity and power issues in relationships. The target audience is young people across the country (

DKY FM is broadcast live simultaneously by five radio stations across Nicaragua, providing national coverage. DKY FM’s radio studios are mobile, moving around to find young people where they live. (ibid). The idea is that the audience, the radio listeners, becomes broadcasters for a day, transmitting from their school, the center of their town or other public place.

baner 2012

As mentioned earlier, DKY FM is more than a radio programme. It is also a radio magazine that offers information about sexual health. DKY FM has created a network of youth correspondents in Central America that propose new ideas to the situation of women and youth rights and arranges promotional tours that open up spaces for reflection and debate. Besides this DKY FM is a social network using Facebook and mass SMS text messaging to promote the program and to send messages and advice and encourage debate and interaction.

So is the DKY FM struggling to find a role, not sure which method that works the best or just using as many channels as possible to reach young people? On this question I would say the latter. If the DKY FM was just struggling to find a role it could have stopped struggling a long time ago. Fact is that the radio programme is a huge success – a survey made in 2009 indicated that just 6 months after the radio programme started broadcasting, it reached 1 out of 10 between 13 and 24 years of age in Nicaragua ( Thirty-eight per cent of the audience members surveyed said that as a result of listening to the programme they had taken initiative and talked with someone about sexual health.

As written in Cammaerst and Carpentier (2007, p. 217), media can be understood both as a medium to communicate, propagate and interact, as well as a battlefield – a ‘symbolic arena’ – for the struggle of making sense of the world. This is what the DKY FM does. It is not about struggling to finding a role, it´s about struggling for the world to make sense for young people in Nicaragua. This by communicating and interacting. As stressed on their homepage, DKY FM is, little by little, modifying attitudes, changing behaviours and increasing the interpersonal communication of adolescents and other youth concerning women’s rights and autonomy, HIV/AIDS, sexual diversity and gender violence.


Lovink, Geert & Zehle, Soenke (2005) the Incommunicado Reader. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.  (Chapters by Lovik and Sehle.)

Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. (eds) (2007) Reclaiming the media: communication rights and democratic media roles. Intellect: Bristol, UK.

The Digital Divide—Should we Bridge It?

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 20.31.34

There has been an explosion of new technological solutions in recent years, and as West has becomes more tech-centered is has also become on of the areas in which the developing world is lagging further behind. The idea of the digital divide as one of the main factors for underdevelopment has shifted the development discourse in to a path where ICT’s in general and ICT4D in particular is described as has gained the status of universal solution the development issues of today (Pieterse 2005).

According to Howley (2005) the main purpose of community media is the participatory aspect. To empower the underprivileged and raise the voice of the poor, the media whether it’s television, radio or just community education is that is has to be both of and by, and not just for a particular community (ibid).

Pieterse (2005) challenges the idea of ICT4D as an answer to underdevelopment and refers to the digital divide a “deeply misleading discourse”. He goes as far as to call it “digital capitalism” and simplification that fails to see the underlying problems (Pieterse 2005:12). Instead he sees how the tech-focus in development risks to just another area of dependency for the developing world (Pieterse 2005:14). Or to use one of Pieterse’s examples “Once the illiteracy problem is solved […] cheap books are a great boon, but giving illiterate people cheap books does not solve illiteracy”, (Wade 2002 as quoted in Pieterse 2005:14).

Cisles (2005) shares the concern, that the tech-focus fails to see underlying problems. On one hand  we have the demands from donor countries and the IMF to cut public spending, on the other hand we have the demand to improve public services such as healthcare and education. To demand computer accesses for every student in an environment that lacks many of the more basic conditions for education makes little sense, especially as computers demands costly infrastructure and updates which oftentimes results in long term expenses without adding any real benefits to the community. The dogma of the ICT4D discourse risks to lead away from transparency and open discussion between partners by promoting unrealistic demands on instant success as a condition for long term commitments, nurturing a culture where  “doing well by doing good” rules over actual change and sustainability (Cisles 2005:156).

Magic Bus and the end of gender inequality in rural Indialogo

For this assignment I have chosen to look closer at MARD and their initiative with the Magic Bus to see how they have worked with new community media in order to educate youth in gender issues to change cultural patterns of abuse and discrimination towards women.

“Every time I look into the mirror, I want to see a man whose mother, sister, wife and daughter are proud to call their own.” – Farhan Akhtar co-founder MARD

The Magic Bus is a community mentorship program sprung out of the organization Men Against rape and Discrimination (MARD) they aim to educate rural children in gender equality.

I think this project is a good example of how organizations tries to combine the ideas of ICT with old fashion analog learning. By solely educate mentors via online learning the project relies less on capital intensive solutions which in turn them gives accesses to spread the program to rural areas (where it’s needed the most) that lacks infrastructure and financial means for electricity and internet connection.

The local knowledge on the mentors facilitates the efforts to design classes to target the main issues of the particular area (Howley 2005). Despite the lack of tech media and online learning, the children both girls and boys gains valuable lessons in team building, gender awareness and leadership that lets them graduate with tools to fight traditional gender roles in their community. Participation in the  program also gives an equal opportunity to graduate with the chance of become future mentors and educators in their community.


Magic Bus


Howley, Kevin. (2005) Community Media – People, Places, and Communication Technologies. Cambridge Univ. Press.

Lovink, Geert & Zehle, Soenke (2005) the Incommunicado Reader. (Chapters by Pieterse and Cisler.) Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures. Chapter by Cisler;  Available online:

Pieterse, Nederveen, Jan. Digital capitalism and development: The unbearable lightness of ICT4D

Cisler, Steve. What’s the Matter with ICTs

New community media – joining the community against HR violations and bridging the digital divide?

Thursday, October 24th, 2013


New community media is being used worldwide for different reasons and in different ways. As written in Cammaerst and Carpentier (2007), they are developed to meet local needs, by the community itself. In the case of, a homepage managed by the NGO Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), anyone can contribute with their own experiences and information or share news from other sources. It has been awarded with the Communication for Social Change award of Queensland University in 2013 and Information Society Innovation Fund in the category of Rights and Freedoms in 2011 ( 2013). In this post I will discuss its success in joining a big NGO community in the fight for human rights in Cambodia, also for those who do not have access to new technology. – a source of human rights information in Cambodia

This portal has two main purposes according to its About Sithi-page:


First, to encourage civil society organisations and others working on human rights in Cambodia to be more effective by providing information and resources to encourage greater professionalism, specialism and collaboration. Second, to provide information on the human rights situations in Cambodia to increase awareness and understanding of human rights in Cambodia in order to mobilize action to protect and promote them. ( 2013)


To get help in fighting HR-violations, information and evidence must be gathered and spread in order for the global community to act and donors to finance development programs in order to protect the citizens of Cambodia. The country hosts over 400 NGO’s ( but many have limited resources and are of course tied to the aims and financial restrictions of their donors. Many of these organization can upload their own content on, as long as it is connected to HR-work. There is a map of HR-violations, a free hotline phone number to call in news of violations or events and all information is accessible both in English and Khmer. This makes it possible for people that normally would not connect with social media due to language, economical, educational or infrastructural difficulties to actually get their experiences shared with the NGO’ and the local community – they get a voice online.


Bridging the digital divide?

But, is this way of connecting people and spreading information bridging the digital divide? I would say yes, and no. Civil society is today an important part of global politics (Lovink & Zehle 2005) but the voice of civil society is still not the voice of those affected by, for example, HR-violations or immense floodings caused by dams or climate change. Organizations like CCHR, founder of, actually don’t bridge the digital divide in the meaning of giving more people access to new technologies. However, they are doing something that may be  more important; they are giving marginalized people a chance to voice their experiences to the world and thus have access to the audiences on new media. As stated in Cammaerts and Carpentier this kind of new community media have a development-oriented function “in giving access to information and communication for the large parts of the world population that continue to live on the ‘other side’ of the digital divide’” (2007:253).


Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. (eds) (2007) Reclaiming the media: communication rights and democratic media roles. Intellect: Bristol, UK.

Hemer, Oscar & Tufte, Thomas (2005) Media and Glocal Change. Rethinking Communication for Development. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Online at:

Lovink, Geert & Zehle, Soenke (2005) the Incommunicado Reader. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.  Available online:

Pact Cambodia (2013). Retrieved at the 21/10 2013 (2013). Human rights information portal of Cambodia. Retrieved at the 14/10 2013.

New Community Media and the African Charismatic Church

Monday, October 7th, 2013
Inside the 'Charismatic' megachurches of Africa

Inside the ‘Charismatic’ megachurches of Africa

Berrigan (1979, p. 8), as cited by Howley (2009), defines community media as ‘adaptations of media for use by the community, for whatever purposes the community decides.’ (p.16) In the case of the Charismatic megachurches, the purpose is clear – spreading their ‘prosperity gospel’ which stresses ‘personal fulfillment and success as much as theology.’ (CQ Researcher, 21 Sept. 2007, p. 769)

The Case of KICC and the African Charismatic Movement

In 1992, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo a ‘reverse mission,’ or a mission to bring the Gospel from Africa to the West. He founded Kingsway International Christian Center (KICC), now the fastest growing church in western Europe. KICC was founded to serve the ‘socio-economic and spiritual needs of multi-cultural [Christian] communities.’

In terms of community media, KICC has ‘grown big’ by using every available medium to spread their objectives. Through Matthew Ashimolowo Media, KICC publishes Christian literature, as well as produces the internationally-broadcast Winning Ways media ministry which produces television and radio programs, as well as Christian literature and documentaries. New media has only enhanced this rapidly-growing community-based effort. On the church’s homepage, viewers can listen to podcasts, live streaming of sermons, blog and make purchases in the online shop. As the homepage declares, ‘We believe in using timely technology to teach the timeless truth.’ (, TV/Radio, 2013). This speaks directly of the level of engagement these churches are prepared to have with new media. Already characteristic of these churches is their by any means necessary approach to evangelism. Charismatic churches, such as KICC, have certainly envisaged new media as a frontier yet to be fully explored.

The engagement of these churches can be understood through the lens of institutions. Lievrouw (2011) explains that new media can be defined through the institutions whose governance mandates them to achieve a particular objective. (p. 6) The use of new media to reach the broadest possible audience in an effort to winning as many souls as possible to Christ fulfills an age-old expectation which resonates with a broad audience.

The aim of KICC, among many other African-led charismatic movements, seems to be to create a congregational environment where virtual members get the sense that they are receiving the same level of pastoral care as those present in the church buildings. In this way, the megachurches can be viewed as good examples of the instrumentalization of media and communication technology as an ‘integral aspect of communication itself’ rather than simply as a mean to an end or an intervention. (Lievrouw, 2011, p. 6) New media give the opportunity for the church to recreate the real experience of churchgoing in a virtual space. On at least five different megachurch websites, participants can receive counseling, send prayer requests, share testimonies, give offerings and donations, and get involved in the service of the church. The church members can build relationships through their links on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The ‘Charismatic’ churches serve as a positive example of the information society in terms of Rao (2005) 8 C’s; they have clearly considered the pressing issues of connectivity, content, communities, commerce, capacity, culture, cooperation, and capital. (pp. 275-279) The churches sustain themselves financially, offer a message that is far-reaching which resonates with local and virtual audiences, and capitalize on the technical knowledge base within their  membership.

The influence of the ‘Charismatic’ churches of Ghana and Nigeria cannot be underestimated or ignored. Religion’s impact, in the Ghanaian and Nigerian context, weighs in as a heavyweight force that arguably transcends that of political parties or ethnic affiliation. As these churches seem to understand the potential of ICTs to ‘create and unleash the developmental force of human socio-economic and political networks,’ governments in emerging economies could take note from the ‘Charismatic’ churches as they attempt to overcome the key challenge, as Rao (2005) describes, ‘to align the interests and strengths of various constituents of society and find their appropriate niches in the global information society.’ (ibid., pp. 274-5).

Literature Reference List

Colin, T. (m. ed.). (21 Sept 2007) The Rise of Megachurches. Congressional Quarterly Researcher. Volume 17, No. 33, pp. 769-792. Retrieved from


Howley, Kevin (2009). Understanding Community Media : SAGE Publications. Retrieved from

Kingsway International Christian Centre. Viewed on 4 October 2013 on website

Lievrouw, Leah (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Oxford: Polity Press

Rao, M.(2005)  The Information Society: Visions and Realities of Developing Countries. Hemer, O. & Tufte, T. (eds) Media and Glocal Change. Rethinking Communication for Development. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Ch. 16, pp. 271-284. Retrieved from