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Colombia: Hiperbarrio Featured at Periodismo Ciudadano

Those who follow Global Voices and who also have an interest in topics relating to participative journalism, digital communities, and the projects of Rising Voices, may already be familiar with Hiperbarrio [es], a project of Colombian young people from Medellín. They have recently been awarded with the Prix Arts Electronica in the category of “Digital Communities.” Not long ago, they have also celebrated their second anniversary and members from Periodismo Ciudadano [es] site (Citizen Journalism), our partners at GV in Spanish, as part of the celebration, had the excellent idea of producing a series of video interviews, two of which have already been posted on ther site. Volunteers from the Periodismo Ciudadano and Global Voices communities subtitled the videos into English.

In the first video, published with the post titled ConVerGentes Group celebrates its second anniversary [es], Catalina Restrepo, member of Hiperbarrio and blogger at Cosas del Alma [es] tells about how the project started and the problems faced by La Loma in Medellín, the neighborhood where they are located. Restrepo was recently awarded with the Talented Woman Award in the field of Social Development in her hometown.

Video I

In the second video, published under the title Gabriel Jaime Venegas: rescuing La Loma’s historic memory [es] features Gabriel, one of the pioneers of the project, who blogs at Esas Voces que Nos Llegan [es], who tells why recovering the neigborhood history is so important to them.

Video II

Jacinto Lajas, one of the members of Periodismo Ciudadano and the person who produced the videos shown above, is a self professed fan of Hiperbarrio project. Lajas describes why the project in Medellín was so appealing to their site and led to the production of the videos:

Since we started with PC (Periodismo Ciudadano), besides having friends there already (Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, etc.), our interest has been focused more in Latin America, which in the aspect of citizen journalism in Spanish is the logical area of interest, and where its development is more interesting at every level, because of the sociopolitical contexts from the different countries, among other things. Besides that, personally (and I guess everybody else) I’ve have always been interested about what was happening there (politically, socially…). At least, a lot of people of my generation in Spain were already interested in those themes during our own youth. Come on, we used to hear Quilapayún, Víctor Jara or Violeta Parra along with Deep Purple, Creedence (Clearwater Revival) or AC/DC, to make ourselves musically clear. :D

The first interest in Hiperbarrio came about through an article that dealt with the project as a way of taking young people to certain neighborhoods of Medellín, making the most of libraries, as an alternative to the way of weapons, something similar to computers vs. guns, to put it in simpler terms. And it was nice the touch of citizen journalism, where young people could document their own reality and thus be productive, instead of victims of a situation of deep-rooted violence, which always ends in the same way, crime and death. That was the part of the project that attracted me.

Then once I met them, my conviction about the huge injustices grew stronger. They were nice young people, intelligent, cultured, full of goals and dreams, with a lot of ability and with a lot to offer. Thanks to this path offered by Hiperbarrio, they are making it clear to the world what is happening in Colombia, as in other parts of Latin America and the world in general. It is not a problem of the people, but of those who lead people’s destiny without caring at all about the people. There are paths to fight against that sort of curse without deaths or bloody revolutions. Instead one can fight with their hearts and a free voice, in a peaceful and kind way (which now the Internet allows to spread further).

The complete series consists of five videos, two of them are posted at Periodismo Ciudadano [es], to watch the rest of them, you can do it here. Global Voices would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Hiperbarrio once more, who recently participated in Campus Party Bogotá 2009 with a workshop about videoblogging and who appeared days ago in a piece of news at the Colombian newspaper El Espectador.

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