Media in the Crossfire: Communication in Contexts of Armed Conflict in Colombia
The presence of armed groups and the proximity of armed violence and war have a tremendous impact on a community’s daily life, social fabric, local political and economic processes, and inter-communal relationships and interactions. This talk will examine the different ways war impacts communities and how citizens’ media can counter these impacts. Through a series of examples from my fieldwork in Colombia, the talk will illustrate the complex and multidimensional roles citizens’ media have in contexts of armed violence. Instead of conceiving of media exclusively as tools for information or persuasion, I will explain how well-grounded community media can meet complex communication needs that include repairing torn social fabrics, reconstructing eroded bonds, reclaiming public spaces, resolving intra-community conflicts, fostering horizontal communication and interaction, and privileging aspects of community life that have not been hijacked by war.
About Clemencia Rodriguez
Dr. Clemencia Rodríguez is a Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University. In her book Fissures in the Mediascape: An International Study of Citizens’ Media (2001), Rodríguez developed her "citizens' media theory," a groundbreaking approach to understanding the role of community/alternative media in our societies. Currently she is continuing to explore how people living in the shadow of armed groups use community radio, television, video, digital photography, and the Internet to shield their communities from the negative impacts of armed violence. This involves fieldwork in regions of Colombia where leftist guerillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, the army, and drug traffickers make their presence felt in the lives of unarmed civilians. Citizens' Media Against Armed Conflict: Disrupting Violence in Colombia (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) reports many of her findings. She teaches in the areas of media studies, communication and social change, and gender.