ANTIGUA, Guatemala – Against the background of turbulent times in Latin American politics, a second regional encounter between representatives from Central-American Political parties, media and several academic institutes took place last week in the Guatemalan city of Antigua.
During the two-day meeting, approximately 60 professionals gathered to further discuss the dynamic, but often troubled relationship between the media and the political world. The setting provided an ideal opportunity for reflection on the role of each party in the Central American democracies.
As a means of providing input, a number of studies shedding light onto the regulatory situation in each of the seven countries were presented. Apart from exchanging the different experiences in each country, the, at times heated, debate focused on the political situation in the region and the functioning of the media in reporting on these political events.
On the second day, the participants divided themselves into four groups, which were challenged to design concrete proposals for improvement in specific areas, including: new regulatory bodies, additional law-making, codes-of-conduct and educational reforms. An occasional bout of mud-slinging aside, the discussion was characterized by a great deal of self-reflection, with participants proving themselves exceptionally willing to develop and improve on their respective democratic traditions.
The seminar was hosted by the Spanish Cooperation Agency AECI, and formed part of the broader ‘Media, Politics and Democracy’ program. This program is an initiative of NIMD and its partners, including the Radio Nederland Worldwide Service, Freevoice, and UNDP.
Having run the Latin American political parties and the media programme for two years, NIMD is set to publish a multimedia report documenting the experiences and lessons learned over the period. Partially due to the positive experience with this project, NIMD intends to continue seeking new ways to contribute to the development of this theme in the future.