Segment 8:

¿Todas las Voces?: Media After the Peace: Community Radio in Guatemala

Senior Reporter: Maria Martin
Associates: Maria Flores, Luciana Castro, Humberto Rodas

It's been said that "On a worldwide scale it is the medium of radio that has been man's most potent communication innovation since the development of writing." Even in the age of the Internet, in most of the developing world, this remains true. This is the case in Central America, where rural and indigenous campesinos have endured decades of exclusion from the mass media. We call this next report: "Todas las Voces": "All of the Voices". In it we examine the phenomenon of community radio in Guatemala, where the peace accords signed in 1996 created great hopes of change, that long excluded Mayan communities will now participate in the world of media.

¿Todas las Voces?: Media After the Peace: Community Radio in Guatemala

After decades of exclusion from the mass media in their countries, indigenous people and other rural campesinos in Central America are beginning to gain access to the media, especially through the medium of community radio. So perhaps it is no surprise that in negotiating the 1996 Guatemalan peace accords, the Mayan intellectual Demetri Cojti Cuxil made this demand: "...each Maya community must be able to organize its own radio station, and participate in television production." Our report looks at progress made in this direction over the last six years in Guatemala--including the flourishing of hundreds of pirate Mayan language community and religious stations, as well as barriers to media access.

For more information about the issues raised in the segment Todas las Voces: Media After the Peace: Community Radio In Guatemala, see the following books and articles.
(Note: this is not intended as a complete list. Check back for more recommendations and an opportunity to make your own recommendations soon.)


Brintnall, Douglas E., Revolt Against the Dead: The Modernization of a Mayan Community in the Highlands of Guatemala.
New York: Gordon and Breach, 1979

Cojtí Cuxil, Demetrio, "The Politics of Mayan Revindication"
in Edward Fischer y R. McKenna Brown, eds., Mayan Cultural Activism in Guatemala.
Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966, pp. 19-50.

Gardner, Mary A. The press of Guatemala
Association for Education in Journalism, Lexington, Ky., Journalism monographs (Austin, Tex.) no. 18., 1971

Heuvel, Jon Vanden, and Dennis, Everette E., Changing Patterns: Latin America's Vital Media
Inter American Press Association, Press Freedom in the Americas: 1997 Annual Report.

Jonas, Susanne, The Battle for Guatemala; Rebels, Death Squads, and U.S. Power
Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1991

Lowrey, Wilson Hugh, Radio in rural Guatemala : three case studies
Cox Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 1990.

McAnany, Emile G., The Role of Information in Communication with the Rural Poor: Some Reflections
In E.G. McAnany., Ed., Communciations in the Rural Third World
Praeger Publishers, New York, 1980

McAnany, E.G. and Jamison. D.T., Radio for Education and Development
Sage Publications, London, 1978

Moore,Don, "The Sociolinguistics of Guatemalan indigenous Language and the Effect of Radio Broadcasting."
Unpublished ms., 1989

Rohter, Larry., Guatemala's Maya Majority Flexes its Political Muscles
N.Y. Times News Service, Guatemala City, Aug. 11, 1996

Warren, Kay B., Indigenous Movements and Their Critics: Pan-Mayan Activism in Guatemala.
Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1998

Yashar, Deborah. 1996 "Indigenous Protest and Democracy in Latin America" En, Jorge I. Dominguez y Abraham Lowenthal, eds. Constructing Democratic Government: Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1990s: Themes and Issues. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 87.

Funded by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Photo at top left © 2004 Donna DeCesare