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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 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