Thematic Areas

Empowerment

E 4 - People-centred media

E 4 - People-centred media

Increasingly we need to move beyond basic communication skills to critically explore and enhance people’s access to different means of communication and their capacity to understand and engage the audiences they want to reach. Community radio stations and participatory video can be used to powerful effect to support local and national struggles for rights.

New technologies and developments in the mass media create new opportunities. Corporate media have immense power over the news agenda, which is in the hands of a few press barons and state outlets. But the growing Right to Information movement means there is space for people-centred media models. People from all walks of life are increasingly involved in compiling, sharing, filtering, discussing and distributing news. Video phones, SMS and social media can bring new information, new perspectives and new forms of dissemination. The internet and the rise of citizen journalism is making news more participatory, social, diverse and partisan, reviving the discursive ethos of the era before mass media.

Indeed, there is a marked decline in people’s trust of formal institutions as sources of information. This is matched by the rise in person-to-person communication through SMS, mobile-to-radio, community radio, user-generated content, citizen journalism, blogging, recommendations, crowd-sourcing, transparency and anti-corruption initiatives and social-media-as-news. Online and offline, communities are increasingly using mass communication tools and platforms to tell their own stories, mobilise support, reach decision-makers and advance social change. And within companies, governments and NGOs, in-house newsrooms, multimedia teams and feature channels are growing in number and sophistication.

Resources

Resources

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Tools in this toolbox

Citizens' voice

Citizens' voice is an approach to citizen journalism that can support the extension of communities’ capacity to pursue their own …