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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.

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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.

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.