The polarization of the media landscape is more pronounced in Latin American than just about anywhere else; radio stations demonstrate political bias, siding either with the government or the opposition, large, financially strong media corporations subsume financially weaker media organizations and privately-owned media outlets stand in direct opposition to public broadcasters. The media industry's battle for market share has an enormous potential for conflict. But at the same time, Latin Americans are some of the most active social media users in the world - topics ignored by the fragmented mass media are often debated on the Internet.
In a bid to counter this increasing polarization, DW Akademie is working primarily with local and regional media partners in Latin America. Our organization has implemented a range of long-term projects to support balanced and independent reporting in countries such as Columbia, Ecuador and Bolivia.
In addition, DW Akademie has set priority topics in several partner countries. In Nicaragua, where rampant deforestation is a huge challenge, DW Akademie is assisting with the training of journalists enrolled in a Masters of Environmental Reporting at the University of Managua. With this measure, DW Akademie anticipates increasing the visibility of environmental reporting in the media and also heightening the environmental awareness of the broader population.
In Bolivia, DW Akademie is focused on strengthening vocational training for journalists. In La Paz and Santa Cruz, we are helping institutions establish training structures incorporating both theoretical and practical components. This will permit young Bolivian journalists to have vocational journalism training for the first time.
In Guatemala, DW Akademie has prioritized youth as a topic. Currently, the project "Radio Joven" is supporting young journalists and other young people to create programming for their own age group. The long-term goal is to establish a media production center where youth can produce informative and entertaining radio and multimedia content. The plan is for the production center to be self-supporting in the future.