[FoME] Alternative media support

Radiobridge at aol.com Radiobridge at aol.com
Do Mär 24 10:42:46 CET 2011

This is a contribution by Klaus Jürgen Schmidt / RBO
"The tragedy is that of expanded communication and diminishing dialogue."  
The noted Kenyan scholar, Ali Mazrui first said this while hosting the BBC  
series, "The Africans". Professor Mazrui touched on one of the most 
underrated  gauges of the disparity between the North and the South; the measure of  
self-expression. It is this lack of understanding that Boutros Boutros 
Ghali, a  former UN Secretary-General, said would pose the greatest threat to 
world  security. It does seem unfortunate that advances in technological 
hardware have  not necessarily meant improved communication or understanding 
among the peoples  of the world ... There is a need then, for another kind of 
technological  revolution. One that does not seek to improve the technology 
but to distribute  it.
Access to a growing range of sophisticated communication software, free of  
charge or at low cost, allows people around the world to use the Internet  
individually as a medium to interact with each other. They are able to share 
and  to exchange information, they can talk to and see each other. However, 
the  majority of the world’s population is disconnected from this mode of  
communication, especially in rural areas. At best, they may perceive their 
view  of the world through their local radio station. A battery run radio is 
their  window to the world. Connectivity is the privilege of people 
participating in  Northern dominated economies, whether in the North itself or in 
urban centres of  the South where celluphones (handies) have already replaced 
the traditional  media.
The emergence of celluphone-services (e.g. "twitter") as fast and mobile  
tools of communication in a world of urban-based political and social 
upheaval  seem to have triggered a new interest of international (Northern) 
media-agencies  to support training in the efficient use of this technology. There 
are, for  example, on the FOME-list already a good number of calls for 
respective  international workshops and conferences. This trend may, 
unfortunately,  perpetuate "the tragedy of expanded communication and diminishing 
dialogue"  because storytelling is something else than microblogging with not more 
than 140  characters.
If a wider scope of local and international community is to be involved in  
real communication, 4 major factors need to be addressed:
> You have to bridge cultural differences
> You have to break language barriers
> You have to make the content accessible to an audience without  
> You have to make such a regular event sustainable 
... is an attempt to involve partners in Africa and Asia, targeting the  
local use of multimedia technology at the outset rather than the Internet  
itself. RBO believes that mastering digital technology will create a new  
interest in young people with regard to their own local culture; in mostly  
orally oriented societies, they will become empowered to create links between  
generations by recording and processing pictures, poems, tales, songs, and 
music  in simple digital formats which they can than turn into attractive new 
local  media-formats. They may – for example – create a regular 
multimedia-show which  can be viewed from the hard disk or from a self-produced CD-ROM 
through  data-projection on a large screen at a school or in a 
Such  experiences may see the emergence of a new type of local 
entrepreneurs:  School-leavers who turn into local information providers, making the use 
of new  technologies at schools and within their communities sustainable by 
charging an  entry-fee for such shows. They may further incorporate results 
of Internet  research translated into the local language, and thus making 
Internet-content  accessible to their community. With the acquisition of 
skills and know-how it  may then become feasible for young people to present 
aspects of their own  cultures to a worldwide Internet-audience in a way which 
has shed any feelings  of inferiority as values may have been evaluated and 
revised in a local  discourse. Local art and culture could be proudly 
promoted, developing them even  further in a virtual context. ... more: 
_www.radiobridge.net/rboissue.html_ (http://www.radiobridge.net/rboissue.html) 
... is an online-tool for emerging storytellers and voices of the South —  
in Africa, Asia and Latin America, devised and actively supported by Klaus  
Jürgen Schmidt based on his thirty years of intercultural media practice in 
the  southern world. It provides practical hints and online-links with 
regard  to:
The latter is for storytellers who may be in need of consultation  with 
regard to planned or finished programmes; they can contact K.J.Schmidt via  
email to receive feedback if their approach is convincing in a professional  
sense. The RBO-Editor is also prepared to offer for selected programmes of his 
 choice an award of 7 US-$ per minute; such programmes being presented — 
under  RBO-copyright — for free download from an already installed website. 
... more:  _www.radiobridge.net/rbomanual_ 
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