'Era mejor cuando éramos ilegales' (it was better when we were illegals): Indigenous people, the State and 'public interest' indigenous radio stations in Colombia

Diego Mauricio Cortés

Abstract


This article discusses the intervention of the Colombian State in the development of indigenous radio stations, focusing on the case of the Misak and Nasa communities. As shown, these radio stations have had different contributions in these indigenous communities, such as forging a new generation of leaders, promoting their languages, and encouraging political mobilisation. However, these media projects have also brought new challenges for these communities, calling for a more careful consideration of the complexities of state intervention in community radio projects. This article contributes to a better understanding of the impact of state intervention in indigenous media, by focusing on three main features that illustrate some of the unintended consequences of these projects: 1) contradictory state legislation that, instead of empowering indigenous media projects, tamed their political potential; 2) the ‘natural’ role of radio stations as a ‘modern disruptors’ (Appadurai, 1996) that may have positives as well as negative consequence in the changes they generate in indigenous communities; and 3) the internal political struggles within these indigenous communities.


Keywords


Multiculturalism; indigenous radio stations; Colombia; Programa Comunidad

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References


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