Media role in development processes

At present, business interests, commercial commitments and political pressures deviate, in many cases, the truth of media messages. However, the New Technologies have given way to alternative communication platforms that are more independent and can work openly.

This "freedom" which has sometimes meant new enemies and false accusations, has led them to be close to the most deprived sectors of society, being their spokesmen and supporting their causes.

Radio Marañón, 32 years of service for the citizens of Peru

Radio Marañón is an example of loyalty to the truth. This radio station has been working for 32 years. Paco Muguiro, S.J., its Director, has been recently accused by several national newspapers for encouraging native revolts that heve been taking place since last August in defence of the Peruvian Amazonia. But he has a clear conscience knowing that he did what he thought was necessary.

This Jesuit from Sevilla, has been living in Peru for more than 50 years and the last 9 leading Radio Marañón which is also in internet. He lived through the hardest years of violence with Sendero Luminoso and he is now witnessing the native population defending their rights.

LastAugust, the native populations of the Peruvian Amazonia called a strike to demand Government to abolish three Law Decrees that threatened the property of their land. These decrees were passed without taking into account the native population's opinion, a right by law.

During several days, thousands of Peruvians, politicians and authorities, paid attention for the first time to their voice." The jungle is not for sale, the jungle defends itself", was the main slogan.

Radio Marañón has transmitted these events since the beginning, with debates, communications and interviews regarding the demands of the native population. "We have had many problems because we were telling the truth" says Paco Muguiro."The radio is the main communication channel in Peru, since neither the newspapers nor the television reach the rural areas. Everyone hears the news through the radio."

The Ministry of Interior has denounced us for telling the truth, for saying that the Law Decrees which were passed to change the use of the native lands were unconstitutional (since they did not take into account the native population's opinion as stated by the Agreement 169 of the OIT). We have been accused of encouraging the natives to mobilize, when the truth is that it was their own decision to organize themselves and take the streets. However, the government does not consider them capable of such things and they are convinced that we are behind it, that we have manipulated them. This is not true, we have just reported what was going on".

At present, the Peruvian natives have succeeded in abolishing the Decrees that endangered their lands. Now they are trying to abolish the 1090 to prevent their lands from being taken over by multinational companies.

"The natives have been very grateful for our communication support. This may be subject to false interpretation since it may lead to think that Radio Marañón has been the cause behind this movement, but we have only reported what was going on".

"I realize that communication is essential for development. I think that many of the problems in the world are due to lack of communication, lack of understanding. And this lack of communication and understanding fosters competitiveness and misunderstandings which is in the end what hinders cooperation between countries and the development of so many populations".

Radio Marañón