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Peacekeeping in Colombia - with TV
Integrated expert
Marco Berger
E-Mail: marco@canalu.com.co
Canal U

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TV for peace

A Colombian reporter and photographers view their project work on a camera monitor following a workshop. Photo: Integrated Expert Marco Berger.
The context Officially, there is no war in Colombia; yet armed confrontations, terrorist attacks and kidnappings take place every day.
Objective Through the medium of TV, the Colombian people learn to participate more actively in peace work and to engage in conflict prevention.
CIM assignment A German journalist is advising the director of a university TV station on how to establish a network for broadcasting topics that are relevant to peace; he also trains TV journalists and camerapersons.
The first step was just to show some civil courage and take a stand for what they thought was right. Right away the closing of Colombia’s independent local TV stations was prevented. Thirty broadcasters –  all threatened with being shut down –  joined forces with the university broadcaster of Medellín, Canal U, and defended themselves against increasing control by the state television commission. Their success was immediate. Senseless obstacles and conditions were dropped, and fees for licenses were drastically reduced. The second step, too – a common programme orientation – is a clear sign of civil society involvement. With television as the medium, the population is to become intensively involved in peace work for Colombia and to learn a culture of non-violence in dealing with others. To this end, local TV stations broadcast examples of successfully resolved conflicts to their viewers, inform them about human rights, and promote knowledge of the principles of rule of law. The TV journalist Marco Berger supports the director of the university channel in her efforts to establish a network. He advises her on how to professionally conduct research on topics and stories that are relevant to peace and to translate them into pictures that move people. The training of journalists and camerapersons serves to make programmes ultimately saleable to commercial stations abroad, so that people there become aware of the difficult situation in Colombia.