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Minority Women Communicators Conference Looks To ‘Occupy the Media and Internet’ in Mexico

The official announcement has been made for the Second Conference of Women Communicators of Indigenous and African Descent. The conference, whose slogan is “We occupy the media, we occupy the internet”, will take place October 6-10, 2015, at the Centro de las Artes CASA (CASA Arts Center) in San Agustín Elta, Oaxaca, Mexico.

According to the announcement, the conference “looks to foster an exchange of experiences in order to reflect on the challenges and difficulties of the work of women communicators, to delve into topics such as gender and inter-culturalism in the media; community media and legislation; political participation and the empowerment of women, and the use of TIC (Information and Communication Technologies) for communication strategies”:

Mujeres que participan en proyectos comunicación, procedentes de comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes de México y Centroamérica, se reunirán para potenciar el uso de herramientas digitales y transformar la información en acción; generando estrategias de comunicación al servicio de sus proyectos…

Women who participate in communication projects, are of African descent or come from indigenous communities in Mexico and Central America, will gather to improve on the use of digital tools and to put the information into action by generating communication strategies to use in their projects…

The requirements for participation are:
  • Comprometerse a participar durante los 5 días del Encuentro.
  • Trabajar o colaborar en la actualidad y de manera continua en proyectos de comunicación (radio, fotografía, video documental, etc).
  • Pertenecer a alguna comunidad / pueblo indígena o afrodescendiente de México o Centroamérica.

• Commit to participating during the five days of the conference.
• Currently and continuously work or collaborate on communication projects (radio, photography, documentary video, etc.).
• Must be of African descent or come from an indigenous community in Mexico or Central America.

To apply, please fill out the online form available here.

Search Coordinator for Ayotzinapa Students Assasinated

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, coordinator of the search for the 43 Ayotzinapa teachers’ college students, was assasinated in Mexico.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, 45, was found dead last weekend in a taxi he owned with a gunshot to the head.

In response to authorities’ lack of action against organized crime, he founded a self-defense group in 2013 in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A year later, the group formed a commission to launch the search for the 43 students of the rural teachers’ college in the community of Ayotzinapa who disappeared on September 26, 2014.

The BBC interviewed him about the search:

The activist never found the students, but thanks to his efforts, the search discovered 129 bodies which have been turned over to the authorities for identification.

Global Voices Partners with Sin Embargo México

Global Voices Latin America recently join forces with Mexican news site Sin embargo.

Global Voices Latin America recently join forces with Mexican news site Sin embargo.

Global Voices Latin America and Mexican news site Sin Embargo recently agreed to join forces to spread original stories form Mexico and Latin America to a global audience.

Sin Embargo is a Spanish language news site based in Mexico that produces original journalism and investigative stories. The site was founded in 2011, under the slogan “rigorous journalism”, and is among Mexico's top news sites. Every month the site averages 4.6 million unique users and 10 million page views.

While many digital news operations aggregate content from other sites, founder and publisher Jorge Zepeda Patterson believes that “the only possibility for generating significant traffic is by creating your own content.”

Starting July, Global Voices will translate and publish stories from Sin Embargo on its Spanish and English language sites. Some stories may get translated into up to 30 languages through our Lingua translation project. This is the first story Global Voices published as part of the cooperation: Mexico Was Hacking Team's No. 1 Client for Spyware.

#IFellAsleepToo: Sleeping Latin American Doctors Go Viral

It's a trending topic under the hashtag  #YoTambienMeDormi (#IFellAsleepToo). In one week, there have been 17,500 comments on Twitter. The stories of tens of thousands of doctors in Mexico and Latin America who are sharing pictures of them sleeping during their long hospital shifts have gone viral.

It all started when a blogger criticized a physician whose photo showed him sleeping, according to the BBC.

“We know this work is tiring, but they have the duty to fulfill their responsibilities while there are dozens of sick people who need their attention at any moment,” Noti-blog site reports, showing the photo of a medical resident at General Hospital 33 in Monterrey, México, who fell asleep at 3 am while filling out the records of that night's patient number 18.

I Fell Asleep Too, because we are not machines but human beings like everyone else

In addition to showing solidarity, the spontaneous campaign has also been a way to put a face the sacrifices people in the profession must make, including long meal-less, sleepless shifts, which are not always financially compensated nor always provide the necessary basics for the job.

Keeping Minors Safe Online Is Everyone's Responsibility

We live in an age in which dizzying technological advances sometimes put minors in danger. In a post on blog Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), Gloria Serrato delves into society's responsibility to protect them and teach them the appropriate use of new technologies:

Diferentes organismos han emitido iniciativas para defender a los menores de edad con respecto a la protección de su información confidencial, […] para buscar la regulación pertinente que no lesione los intereses del acceso a la información ni a los menores.

El acceso a las redes sociales en internet es una oportunidad para el ejercicio de los derechos de las personas y es una herramienta para el aprendizaje y el conocimiento. Sin embargo es imprescindible saber que los […] adultos deben ser una guía que pueda orientar en los usos adecuados.

Several organizations have launched initiatives in order to defend minors and preserve their confidential information, […] looking for the pertinent regulation that does not harm the accessibility of information or underage children's interests.

Access to social media sites is an opportunity for the exercise of people's rights and a tool for instruction and knowledge. But is essential to know that […] adults should be a guide to direct them in proper use.

The writer states that such an education should take place in schools and family environments. She also lists the lines of work from the Montevideo Memorandum on protection of minors’ data:

a)    Recomendaciones en materia de prevención y educación
b)    Recomendaciones para los Estados sobre el marco legal
c)    Recomendaciones para la aplicación de las leyes
d)    Recomendaciones en materia de políticas públicas
e)    Recomendaciones para la industria.

a)   Recommendations in terms of prevention and education
b)   Recommendations to states on the legal framework
c)   Recommendations for the application of law
d)   Recommendations for public policy
e)   Recommendations for the industry

Continue reading Gloria Serrato's post here and follow her on Twitter.

This post was part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on April 13, 2015.

The Quest for the Mexican Miracle

Against the backdrop of elections scheduled for 7 June 2015 in Mexico, Fernando Vazquez blogging on Futuros Anticipados reflects on the quest for a miracle in development, growth and honesty, at times hindered by apathy and inaction of some.

 […] se firmó el TLC, se adelgazó al estado, se privatizó la industria pública. Creció la economía, pero no bajó la pobreza. Al contrario: cuando llegó el quiebre en el error (horror en realidad) de diciembre, la miseria se disparó a más de seis de cada diez mexicanos.

Ahora se ha reformado mucho, pero el impulso se ahogó en la pestilencia de la corrupción, la frivolidad, el abuso, la inmoralidad.

No habrá reforma exitosa sin código de ética. Ni inversiones sin ley. Ni democracia sin sanciones ejemplares a los partidos que han decidido violar la ley sistemáticamente con el cinismo absoluto que garantiza la impunidad.

Hay con todo, un signo alentador. Hay una minoría que no está dispuesta a seguir tolerando el abuso, la grosería, la arbitrariedad y la arrogancia. Esa minoría se ha unido en torno a un puñado de periodistas honestos, se ha autoorganizado, viraliza sus demandas en redes sociales.

[…] the free trade agreement was signed, the state was reduced, public industry was privatized. The economy grew, but poverty did not decline. On the contrary: When the breakdown came with the December error (indeed horror), misery soared to more than six in ten Mexicans.

Numerous reforms have been made these days, but the urge choked on the stench of corruption, frivolity, abuse, immorality.

Reforms will not be successful without an ethics code. Nor will investments without law. Nor democracy without exemplary punishment for parties who have decided to break the law consistently with complete cynicism which guarantees impunity.

Despite everything, there is an encouraging sign. There is a minority who are not willing to tolerate abuse, rudeness, arbitrariness and arrogance. This minority has grouped around a bunch of honest journalists, who are self-organized, making their demands on social media go viral.

Continue reading Fernando's post here and follow him on Twitter.

This is part of the 46th #LunesDeBlogsGV (#MondayOfBlogsOnGlobalVoices on April 13, 2015.

Mexican Women Are Being Called on to Help Transform Their Portrayal in Mexican Media

WACC, SocialTIC, WITNESS, La Sandía Digital, and Subversiones have called on women interested in telling the stories of strong women in their communities with the purpose of changing the way women are represented in the media.

As one of the representatives of the project told Global Voices, in Mexican media there is not only a lack of production and distribution of content produced by women, but lack of nuanced content, which only serves to replicate dominant stereotypes that do not reflect or promote diversity.

Voces de Mujeres, fotografía extraída del Perfil de Facebook de SocialTIC, utilizada con autorización

Women's Voices. Photo take from SocialTIC's Facebook page. Used with permission.

What does the project consist of? 

The project consists of an audiovisual laboratory caravan where women will learn about photography, video, and text creation. The laboratory caravan will last six months, holding four three-day sessions in different Mexican communities during May, June, July, and August.

What are the participation requirements? 

Women must be 18 and over, residing in central Mexico, involved in community projects, capable of dedicating 8 hours a week from May to September, available for travel during the scheduled dates, commited to sharing with the commuity what has been learned, and have access to a portable computer. Twenty applicants will be chosen.

The registration period for this project expired on March 27, 2015. Organizers are selecting the eligible entries from the ones received from all over Mexico and will soon publish the results. If any questions or inquiries please direct it to

Finally, a Mobile App for Geolocated News in Latin America

FACTICO is the first mobile media designed in Latin America to geolocate information. But, what is app all about?

FACTICO es la aplicación de noticias e información más innovadora y atractiva de América Latina. Nuestras notas son compactas y fáciles de leer, y todos nuestros contenidos están georreferenciados. La información más importante del día y los mejores eventos están en FACTICO.

FACTICO is the most innovative and attractive app of news and information in Latin America. Our news are compact and easy to read, and all our contents are georeferenced. The most important news of the day and the best events are at FACTICO.

Bellow there is an example of how FACTICO Mexico works:

Everything happens in Mexico City. We provide the map, you provide the passion. 

In their manifest,o the creators of FACTICP state who they are and what they expect:

Somos lxs que creímos la promesa de la pluralidad en los medios y terminamos viendo la censura explícita y velada. Pero aprendimos a hackear el problema […]

Somos lxs que hemos salido a las calles a observar, a documentar lo que pasa en esta región del mundo poco entendida. Y por eso sabemos que no estamos solos.

Somos lxs que estamos cansados de las “historias oficiales”, de las declaraciones sin sustancia y de los replicadores del discurso que no cuestionan, que no preguntan.

Somos lxs que no aceptamos que se nos diga “ustedes no existen; sus ideas no importan; bajen la voz.”

Estamos aquí. Existimos.

Y estamos diciendo algo.

 Porque nunca como hoy ha existido más gente conectada, con ansias de conocer, saber y cambiar la manera de hacer las cosas.

Porque trabajamos e innovamos en red. Colaboramos. Mapeamos. Documentamos. Observamos. Damos contexto. Y no dejamos de experimentar.

We are the ones who believed in the promise ofmedia plurality and ended up seeing explicit and veiled censorship. But we learned to hack the problem […]

We are the ones who went out into the streets to observe, to document what happens in this poorly understood part of the world. And it is for that reason that we know we are not alone.

We are the ones who are tired of “official stories”, of insubstantial statements and of echo chambers that don't question speech. 

We are the ones who do not accept being told “you do not exist, your ideas do not matter, lower your voices.”

We are here. We exist. And we are saying something. Because there have never been so many people connected as today, wanting to know, to find out and to change the way of doing things.

Because we work and innovate online. Collaborate. Map. Document. Observe. Provide context. And we do not stop to experiment.

Keep up with news about the app via the hashtag #FacticoTeAcerca (FACTICO brings you closer), and download the app here, available for Android and iOS.

Meet Mexico's Crowdfunding Campaign Against Censorship and Bots

Foto de y utilizada con permiso.

Photo from, used with permission. 

The Mexican groups #YoSoyRed and #loQueSigue have organized a crowdfunding campaign to develop an open-source software that monitors and identify bots used by the Mexican government to influence public opinion and trends in Twitter.

The presentation included some harsh criticism of the groups responsible for the bot nets:

A quien usa esos bots no le gusta la libre información y el libre intercambio de ideas. Tampoco le gusta que el mundo sepa lo que ocurre en México. […] ¿Qué pasaría si aparte de actuar en masa contra los bots pudiéramos difundir masivamente y en segundos todo aquello que pretenden censurar través de un super medio que conecte a todos los medios libres existentes y blogs?

Whoever uses these bots does not like free information and the free exchange of ideas. Nor would they like the world to know what happens in Mexico. […] What if there were a way (other than using bots) to spread widely and instantly everything the authorities wish to censor through a super medium that connects all existing free media and blogs?

Two examples of how bots can endanger human lives and change trends in social networks are #1DMX and the most recent #Yasequenoaplauden. 

The following video explains how the hashtag #YaSeQueNoAplauden, a criticism of the Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, disappeared among the trends on Twitter despite its 133,462 tweets. By comparison, the visible topic trends #MeDesmoronoComoElPAN and #MePasóEnElMetro, according to Topsy, had only 13,411 and 3,046 tweets, respectively. The video suggests that attacks employing bots caused the disappearance of the #YaSeQueNoAplauden hashtag from Twitter trending topics in Mexico and worldwide.

People from LadoB talked to Alberto Escorcia, the developer behind the crowdfunding project, who says the proposed software “would have the ability to analyze millions of messages and could also measure various parameters such as speed trends and its geographical origin.”

Así, en lugar de actuar cuando ya está el el HT creado podemos actuar antes de que surja con una algoritmo de respuesta inmediata que leyendo en tiempo real todos los tweets de México detecte cuando un grupo de bots se está formando.

So, instead of acting when the HT is already created, we can act before it emerges with an immediate response algorithm that reads in real time all the tweets from Mexico and detects when a group of bots is being formed.

If you enjoy online freedom of information, remember to contribute to Escorcia's project #YoSoyRed and #loQueSigue.

Before the Border: The Immigrant Odyseey Across Mexico

The perils of crossing the border between Mexico and the United States are well documented, but for thousands of undocumented migrants from Central America, crossing Mexico is even more dangerous.

To reach the US border, undocumented migrants from Central America undertake a dangerous 1,500-mile trip through Mexico, where they risk being kidnapped, assaulted or killed by the drug cartels, gangs and even the police. What happens in that journey?

This animation will take you through that journey, explaining the threats that migrants face to reach the “safety” of the US.

Animated Press takes some of the most complex topics in the news and distills them into short and fun animations, like the Syrian Conflict, the Greek Crisis and the Net Neutrality, among others.

You Can Also Demand Justice for the Journalists Killed in Mexico

More than 500 journalists, writers, artists and defenders for freedom of expression from around the world wrote an open letter to the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, in which they called for explanations on the murder of Rubén Espinosa and all other journalists killed in the country, according to the blog Journalism in the Americas.

On July 31, photo journalist Rubén Espinosa was found dead along with four women in a Mexico City apartment. Upon receiving death threats, he fled from Veracruz, where 14 other journalists were killed in recent years, to Mexico's capital last June with the purpose of protecting his integrity.

The letter says:

Since 2000, dozens of journalists have been killed in Mexico, and approximately 20 more remain disappeared. The great majority of these crimes have never been prosecuted”…

… Mr. President, we urge you:

1. To guarantee the immediate and effective investigation of the assassination of Rubén Espinosa and the shameful number of journalists in Mexico who have met the same fate, and the thorough investigation of state and municipal officials who, in each case, may have been involved.
2. To undertake an immediate review of the procedures established to protect reporters’ lives, and to make a swift and effective commitment to guarantee and protect freedom of expression in Mexico.

The letter has the support of PEN and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). People like Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, Indian writer Salman Rushdie, American journalist Christiane Amanpour and hundreds of journalists, writers and artists have signed the open letter, and now you too could also add your name.

Watch This Giant Rainbow Mural Transform a Low-Income Mexican Neighborhood

A low-income neighborhood in Mexico was transformed in a giant rainbow by the collective Germen Crew—a youth organization of muralists and street artists formed by 15 graffiti artists, under the direction of Mibe (Luis Enrique Gómez Guzmán), who's teamed with Mexican Government.

The more than 200 homes of the village of Palmitas, in the city of Pachuca (Hidalgo State), are now connected through colors.

Another example of the collective's “urban neomuralism” is Mexico City's famous Jamaica Market, which comprises over 1,000 stands dedicated to the sale of flowers, floral arrangements, ornamental plants, and garden accessories. Last year, the crew created a mural that visualizes a symbolic ritual beginning with “Mother Earth” (Tonantzin) giving birth to a life-form that transforms into flowers on the south façade of the famous flower market.

Mexican Indigenous Community Accuses Famous Designer of Plagiarism

French designer Isabel Marant has made a name for herself in the world of fashion, owing to her eclectic style, which blends materials and ethnic influences together in her designs. These creations carry a price tag starting in the hundreds of dollars.

However, for the authorities and citizens of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec, a Mixe community in Mexico, they were more than just a source of inspiration. They accuse Marant of selling her creations as if they were her own take on the traditional dress of the territory.

“Tlahuitoltepec defends its embroidery; accuses Frenchwoman Isabel Marant of plagiarism”.

The famous dressmaker sells this piece for $290, close to 4,500 Mexican pesos, while the price of the garment in the indigenous community is around 600 pesos ($40).

Marant is “hijacking a cultural heritage for commercial benefit, which puts indigenous communities at risk, as well as the originality of the fashion industry”, maintained the mayor, Erasmo Hernández González, who stated that they will be taking legal action.

The Mexican ‘Corrido’ of Feminist Liberation

Junio del 75 en México no te asombres
Se juntaron mil señoras para hablar mal de los hombres […]
Liberación absoluta es meta de la mujer
Pero aquello de que hablamos
Que no lo dejen de hacer aunque sea por favor

In June of '75 in Mexico don’t be surprised
Thousand of women came together to criticize men […]
Absolute liberation is women's goal
But that thing we talked about
Please don’t stop doing it even if it’s as a favor

Lyrics by Óscar Chávez, Corrido de la Liberación Femenina. (Corrido of the Feminist Liberation)

The popular Mexican corridos usually refer to women as wives, girlfriends or lovers, but there was a time in history when feminist liberation was reflected in their lyrics. Angie Contreras, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), explains the double interpretation of feminism in that age which still continues today:

El corrido puede tener un sinfín de lecturas, […] explicare dos:

La primera de ellas, una cultura machista muy arraigada en el mexicano, donde la mujer debe asumirse en un rol de casa, educadora y sobretodo de cuidado, es donde recae la frase “que no lo dejen de hacer”, se nos da la libertad pero deben de seguir haciendo lo que ya sabemos hacer […]

Y una segunda está idea que el feminismo es sinónimo de odio a los hombres “para hablar mal de los hombres”, y esto es una malinterpretación del concepto […] la búsqueda del feminismo es una “liberación absoluta”, cuando se buscaban cosas concretas como el acceso a la educación, el derecho a votar y ser votada, la igualdad de salarios.

The corrido has unlimited interpretations, […] I'll explain two of them:

The first one, a sexist culture deeply rooted in Mexicans, in which woman should assume the role of a housewife, a teacher and caregiver, that is what the phrase “let's hope they don't stop doing it” refers to, that liberty is given to us but they must continue doing what we already know how to do.

And a second one is the idea that feminism is synonymous with hating men “to criticize men,” and this is a misunderstanding of the concept […] the search for feminism is an “absolute liberation”, when concrete things were requested such as access to education, the right to vote and be voted, equal wages.

Continue reading Angie Contreras’ post here and follow her on Twitter.

This post was part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV  (Monday of blogs on Global Voices) on April 13, 2015.

Photo of a Mexican Revolutionary Who Looks Like Pacquiao Goes Viral

A photo of a Mexican revolutionary who looks like Manny Pacquiao has gone viral few days before the Filipino boxing icon's fight today against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas for three champions belts (OMB, CMB y la AMB) in the welterweight division.

In Twitter there were many tweets related to the picture:

So Pacquiao's grandfather participated in the Mexican revolution… Mexico supports Pacquiao

On Facebook, Latin Post uploaded the photo which has more than 50,000 shares and 150,000 comments.

“Besides being a boxer, Manny Pacquiao also participated in the Mexican revolution,” was the most common phrase among the comments, which also refers to the men in the picture as “Pacman” grandfather, according to the web portal Infobae.

Mexican Rescue Team Asks for Help to Go to Nepal

Donations are needed urgently for 25 rescuers paypal: CLABE Santander:01418092000709294 tel.5554160417 #ToposANepal (Topos to Nepal)

The Rescue Brigade Topos México Tlatelolco has started a fundraising campaign to be able to join rescue efforts there after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal last Saturday, leaving more than 4,000 people death and 7,000 injured.

The group was born when volunteers spontaneously showed up to help in the aftermath of 1985 Mexico City earthquake. The group was formally organized as a civil association in February 1986 and for more than three decades, they have assisted rescue and recovery efforts in the Mexican states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Oaxaca, State of Mexico, Veracruz and Mexico City, and in countries all over the world including Haiti, Indonesia, El Salvador and Chile.

Topos México doesn't receive any payment for their work since it is entirely based on volunteers. Most of the time, local authorities or Mexico's federal government cover their travel expenses and the countries they go give them visas and access to the disaster zones.

The following video shows a summary of the Topos’ work.

Mexican Group Receives International Journalism Recognition Julio Anguita Parrado

Periodistas de a Pie (@periodistasdeapie), an active journalist organization that aims to raise the quality of journalism in Mexico, received the International Journalism Award Julio Anguita Parrado in Spain.

Through training and exchanging investigation techniques, experiences, reporting strategies, narrative styles and ways of approaching a story with colleagues, the group aims to challenge censorship.

The dean of the University of Córdoba and mayor hand out the 8th Julio Anguita Parrado Award.

Elia Baltazar, a member of Periodistas de a Pie, said in an interview that journalism in her country has recognition only from some sectors. We can see evidence of that in the impunity that exists when it comes to journalists being killed.

“Los que hemos elegido esta profesión no pretendemos cambiar nada sino informar para que sean los ciudadanos quienes tomen las decisiones para cambiar las cosas. Queremos una sociedad abierta, donde los periodistas podamos cumplir nuestra labor sin arriesgarnos porque una sociedad mejor informada va a ser una sociedad que tome mejores decisiones”, apunta.

Those of us who've chosen this profession don't pretend to change anything, just to inform so the citizens can be the ones who make the decisions to change things. We want an open society, where journalists might be able to fulfill out work without risks, because a better informed society will be a society that makes better decisions.

The jury of the 8th Julio Anguita Parrado Award, named after the Spanish journaist that passed away ten years ago while covering the war in Irak, valued the “informative work, silent, without showing off, carried out by communicators in absolute heroic circumstances, in a place where their ives and integrity are under constant threat”.

Mexican Beauty Pageant Contestant’s Baffling ‘Chimpanzee’ Answer

Mariana Torres. Imagen ampliamente difundida en Twitter.

Mariana Torres. Image widely shared on Twitter.

It's well known that every aspiring beauty queen must answer a difficult question in the interview portion of the contest. Also well known are some of the answers that contestants have given, answers that earned them more publicity than their good looks ever did.

The most recent of those answers was given by Mexican Mariana Morres during the semifinal of the Miss Our Latin Beauty 2015, which has circulated online. The question: “Which partner would you choose to preserve the human species in case of a nuclear holocaust?” Torres answered: “A couple of chimpanzees… You know, due to the theory we come from there, so…”

As expected, Twitter users didn't waste any time in commenting:

Mariana Torres, finalist in Miss Our Latin Beauty really stepped in it while answering a question.

Wonderful! Number 1 fan of beauty queen wisdom. Hahaha.

Mariana Torres makes a fool of herself and loses the final at Miss Our Latin Beauty.

Although some were sympathetic:

Don't make fun of Miss Our Beauty Mariana Torres and her chimpanzee, in the future she could become the partner of some politician.

Bolivia to Host First International Community Radio and Free Software Conference

The first international conference on community radio and free software will be held in Cochabama, Bolivia from June 11-13, 2015. So far, the community radio stations from Spanish-speaking countries that have confirmed their assistance are: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and of course, the host, Bolivia. 

The preliminary agenda includes a forum discussing the advances taking place in Latin America regarding free software, telecommunication legislation, and a migration plan. There will also be workshops and simultaneous talks on free software tools such as Shamatari, Ardour, Audacity, and Creative Commons, amongst others. 

Several websites, such as Radios Libres (Free Radio Stations) and Corresponsales del Pueblo (The People's Correspondents), have helped to spread the information found on the official site,, while others have stepped up to the task of getting communities to attend the event, such as the Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones de Venezuela, Conatel (National Commission of Telecommunications of Venezuela), which in addition underlines its support for these initiatives: 

En Venezuela las emisoras de radio comunitarias también cuentan con apoyo para su independencia. En enero de 2015 fue lanzada otra aplicación libre ideal para medios comunitarios: Shatamari 15.01., que tiene 260 aplicaciones preinstaladas y configuradas para trabajar en medios digitales, audiovisuales, automatización de emisoras radiales y medios impresos.

Twitter users also began to spread the word of the event to others as well as to motivate internet users and community radio stations to meet up at the conference. 

Sign up starts on April 1; for more information, visit the event's official page at

The Media's Role in Mexico's ‘Warped’ Democracy

Fotografía extraída del blog de Fernando Vazques Rigada, utilizada con autorización

Photo from Fernando Vazquez Rigada's blog, used with permission

Blogger Fernando Vázquez Rigada reflects on the role of the media in Mexico, a country where he says democracy is “warped” because it only works on a formal level, and society isn't adequately represented by the political institutions.

He adds that Mexican media bear a huge responsibility in this issue. There are a variety of media in Mexico, however, quantity does not always goes hand in hand with quality, especially considering that the political power is closely linked to the media system:

El estado mexicano gasta una cantidad descomunal de recursos anualmente en pago a medios de comunicación. Sabemos que el poder ejecutivo federal invierte alrededor de 6 mil millones de pesos al año. Esa cifra, sin embargo, excluye a los otros poderes, a los 31 estados, al DF y a los 2,457 municipios y a las 16 delegaciones del DF. Tampoco incluye al gasto de los partidos políticos. La cifra debe multiplicarse al menos por diez.

Así, los medios en México deben recibir de dinero público algo así como 70 mil millones de pesos anuales. 191 millones de pesos cada día. Casi 8 millones de pesos cada hora.

Eso explica la enorme laguna informativa que ahoga a México.

The Mexican state spends an enormous amount of money in payments to media outlets. We know that the federal executive branch invests about six billion Mexican pesos a year. That figure, however, excludes other powers, the 31 Mexican states, Mexico DF, 2,457 municipalities and 16 delegations in Mexico City. Nor does it include the expenditure of political parties. So, that figure should be multiplied at least, tenfold.

Thus, the media in Mexico should receive annually from public money around 70 billion Mexican pesos. 191 million pesos every day. Nearly 8 million pesos per hour.

That explains the huge information gap in Mexico.

Vázquez Rigada concludes that its links with political power and its economic dependence prevent the media from reporting freely and fulfilling its role of monitoring those in power, pointing out flaws and opening political debate.

You can follow Fernando Vázquez Rigada on Twitter.

This post was part of the 44th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on February 23, 2015.

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