Friday, May 18, 2012

DW Director General in Guatemala: “Break with Taboos”

DW Director General Erik Bettermann paid a visit to a youth radio project of DW Akademie in Guatemala on May 16. The next stop on his trip to Central America was El Salvador. 

“Why do we need a radio for young people?” was the theme of the discussion between Erik Bettermann and the staff of the youth radio “Radio Joven” - a project of the DW Akademie. Bettermann stressed that radio is the right way to reach young people in Guatemala in order to improve their access to education. The broadcasts must be in the language of young people.

“Radio Joven” works towards this goal. Young people produce programs for their own age group. Bettermann called on those making the broadcasts to pay attention to the different perspectives of rural and urban youth, as well as to the outlook of the indigenous population. Yesenia Pérez, who is a young radio moderator, shares his view. She herself wears a traditional Maya costume: a colorful woven skirt and an embroidered blouse. “People in the city often look down on me because of the way I dress. We don’t have the same opportunities as white kids,” she said.

“You can do something about inequality”
Bettermann stressed that this is precisely a field where the youth radio project can get involved. The more that young people’s cultural diversity is there for all to see, the greater are the possibilities to offset racism and prejudice. “Rural young people are also your country’s future. You can do something about inequality through well-made broadcasts.”

DW Director General encouraged the young people to take on taboo subjects, such as coming to terms with their country’s recent troubled past. Adults prefer not to talk to the younger generation about Guatemala’s civil war, which lasted for over 30 years.

Bettermann talked about his own experiences in postwar Germany. His generation called on their parents to talk openly about the Nazi era and gave priority to discussing and analyzing what happened during that dark period in German history. The goal of the DW Akademie’s youth radio project is to set up a production center for radio and for multimedia platforms aimed at young people.

(Source : DW Press Release)

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