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May 3, 2023

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day!

Every year, on May 3, we celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom. World Press Freedom Day was first proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 in response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence. This year's theme is "Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for All Other Human Rights."

Today is an opportunity to highlight the essential role of Indigenous community media, journalists, and communicators, to inform of violations of press freedom, and to remind people that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are still censored, fined, suspended, raided, and shut down, while journalists, producers, editors, and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even killed.

Indigenous community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve. They provide a platform for communicators, groups, and communities to tell their own stories, to share experiences, and to become creators and contributors of media. They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local audience but is often overlooked by commercial broadcasters. 

Today is also a call to action for governments to respect their commitment to press freedom also serves as a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in telling the truth.

5 Things You Can Do Today!

1. Learn about the Indigenous Media and Communications Caucus and Get Involved.

At the 22nd Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) on April 17- May 28, 2023, journalist Jenni Monet (Laguna Pueblo) submitted an Intervention by the Global Indigenous Media Caucus highlighting the challenges faced by Indigenous journalists carrying out fully Article 16 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: the right to freely establish and/or access media that duly reflects Indigenous realities. Read more.

Lee la intervención conjunta de Cultural Survival y la Asociación de Abogados Mayas de Guatemala sobre las radios comunitarias Indígenas, que fue presentada en la Sesión 22 del Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas para las Cuestiones Indígenas.

2. Listen to a Message from Members of the Indigenous Media Caucus on World Press Freedom Day.

Also, watch Right to Access Media (UNDRIP Article 16) and Challenges Faced by Indigenous Peoples livestream from the 22nd Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

3. Learn about the State of Indigenous Community Radio in the World.

Radio is one of the most accessible platforms for Indigenous Peoples and, in many countries, this has resulted in an active community radio movement. Small, community-based radio stations may seem like an outdated mode of communication, but for many Indigenous Peoples the low cost of radio makes it the ideal tool for defending their cultures, lands, natural resources, and rights. Read more.  Read Are Indigenous Voices Being Heard? “A Study on the State of Indigenous Community Broadcasting in 19 Countries.”
En español

4. Listen to Radio Programs on the Importance of Indigenous Community Media.

Threats to Indigenous Journalists Must End!

Indigenous journalists around the world reiterate that Indigenous Peoples’ rights are also human rights. Listen here.

Freedom of the Press Is the Foundation of Justice

When Indigenous Peoples are facing injustices, it is Indigenous media and journalists who are at the frontlines to tell their stories, but many Indigenous journalists are facing obstacles with regard to free press in their communities. On this World Press Freedom Day, Francine Compton, Associate Director of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) speaks to Cultural Survival. Listen here.

Radio Is Still the Voice of the Voiceless

Radio has contributed to the resilience of Indigenous communities all over the world — hear some of these stories in this program commemorating World Radio Day. Listen here.

Broadcasting Is Not Easy - !Xun And Khwe Of Namibia

In this podcast, we hear from Disco Koki (!Xun), one of the trainees, who came to South Africa to receive training at XK FM, the South African government-funded radio station set up to amplify San people's voices. Listen here.

What Radio Means To Us - Eldos FM South Africa

In this radio program, we hear from field reporter Eldero van Heerden as well as news anchor and presenter Lucinda Borman, and they tell us about their experiences as broadcasters. Eldos FM broadcasts in Afrikaans and English. Listen here.

The Power of Community Radio

Dev Kumar, from Nepal, explains why the radio is a powerful tool for Indigenous Peoples to have their voices be heard. Listen here.

Radio Comunitaria y Días de Amar la Tierra

En este programa especial conoceremos de una Radio Comunitaria en Boca de Sábalo, Rio San Juan, Nicaragua quienes al igual que muchas Radios Comunitarias Indígenas están ocupadas en abanderar la lucha por la madre tierra y nuestros bienes comunes.Escucha aqui.

La Radio, Medio de Expresión y de Lucha de los Pueblos

Los desafíos que enfrentan los comunicadores para hacer de sus medios comunitarios un espacio legal sin tener que sufrir persecución del Estado como si la Libertad de Expresión fuera un delito.

Entrevistamos a Rosa Ajanel de Guatemala y Anelio Merry López, dos comunicadores Indígenas que nos cuentan la situación de las radios comunitarias en cada uno de sus contextos. También incluimos en este programa el mensaje que Irina Bakova, directora general de la UNESCO entre 2009 y 2017, lanzó en el marco del Día de la Radio. Las tres coinciden en la importancia que tiene la Radio para las comunidades y lo consideran un Derecho Humano que hay que defender. Escucha aqui.

5. Read about How Indigenous Community Media Is Uplifting Indigenous Rights.

The First Steps of Community Radio La Niña

"On November 26, 2006, more than 20 people met in Chuicaxtún, Canton Chivax, Totonicapán, Guatemala, to create the project of Community Radio La Niña 88.5 FM. Without any prior technical knowledge of radio broadcasting, production, programming, administration, or how to install a transmitter, we took our first steps in community communication." Read more. En español

Read about our 2022 Indigenous Community Media Fund Grant Partners.  En español

Learn about the Indigenous Community Media Fund. En español