February 13 is World Radio Day!
"World Radio Day was established by a resolution during the 36th General Conference of UNESCO in 2011.
On the first celebration of World Radio Day in 2012, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya emphasized the importance of community radio of the world's Indigenous Peoples,
"Radio has been a fundamental means for Indigenous Peoples to maintain their languages and to exercise and defend their rights. As recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 16 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and access to all other non-Indigenous media without discrimination. 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that the media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity."
Cultural Survival is working hard to make Article 16 a reality.
We stand in support of Bill 4087, Community Media Law, which is currently being considered in the Guatemalan Congress.
Currently, the Guatemalan telecommunications law does not permit licenses for non-profit community radio, despite promises made by the Guatemalan Constitution and the 1996 Peace Accords. This lack of access to non-profit community radio broadcast licenses is in direct opposition to citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and Indigenous Peoples’ right to operate their own media in their own languages. Numerous recommendations from the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Guatemalan Constitutional Court have urged the passage of revised legislation to provide access to broadcast licenses for non-profit, community radio stations.
Community radio stations, which currently operate in a legal grey area, with the risk of police raids and jail time for radio volunteers, serve the vital function of distributing information about important news and educational programing like emergency disaster relief, voter registration, public health campaigns to listeners in their own local languages, reaching even the most rural areas where radio is the only affordable form of communication. For Indigenous communities, community radio provides access to programming in their own languages and promotes their cultures, traditions, and belief systems."
Thanks to our friends at Cultural Survival for their leadership on this issue.