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WACC-Caribe : New executive committee, New agenda

Paramaribo, 20 sept. 05 [AlterPresse] --- A three-day workshop/seminar and assembly of WACC-Caribe (World Association of Christian Communication-Caribbean) comes to an end on September 17, 2005 in Paramaribo, capital of Surinam. The assembly of WACC-Caribe members elected a new executive committee of the regional branch of the organization.

The new president is Maximiliano Dueñas Guzman (Puerto Rico) who will succeed Gotson Pierre from Haiti. Ary Régis (Haiti) and Lili Suarez (Cuba) are respectively vice-president and secretary. The general assembly also elected two ex-officio members and six alternate representatives.

During the discussions prior to the poll, members from about seven countries from the English, Spanish, Dutch and French-speaking states in the Caribbean deliberated on topics like gender issues, media ownership, community media, alternative media, media meanings, networking within the Caribbean, connectivity (new technology) and cultural diversity.

To facilitate the democratization of communication, participants made specific proposals for WACC-Caribe’s three-year work plan. The organization should incorporate those recommendations in an action program to meet the challenges identified in the sessions of the workshop.

The central topic of this seminar was “The democratization of information and communication from a Caribbean perspective†.

This workshop was an occasion for many lecturers to give an overview of media in the Caribbean, explain key-concepts of democratization, give historical perspectives concerning communication and social struggles in the Caribbean.

Instead of the concept of democratization, one of the lecturers, Ary Régis, teacher of social communication at Haitian State University chose to talk about recovery of communication, taking into account what he described as the original and spiritual sense of communication. Régis emphasized the need to retrieve communication as an item of human patrimony, not as goods for sale. His view is to counterbalance the dominant market logic with another one where communication could help to build the community.

The outgoing president of WACC-Caribe Gotson Pierre and Dueñas Guzman highlighted the origins of the struggle for the right to communicate. They mentioned among other things the movement against imperialism in the sixties, the experiences of alternative communication in Latin America and the Caribbean and contemporary social movement.

Of all of those possible origins of the concept of right to communicate, Guzman underlined the non-aligned movement of the sixties, seventies and eighties.

Gotson Pierre landmarked the Declaration of Rights and duties of the citizen in 1789, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, the Mac Bride report in 1980 and Latin American initiatives taken in 1998 which favored the right to communicate.

That was the first time a WACC-Caribe workshop/seminar and assembly took place in Suriname.

WACC has been in existence for fifty five years. It came from initiatives of Christian communicators from Europe and North America who were seeking guidelines for religious broadcasting. The creation of WACC, such as it is known since 1975, is the result of rapid developments in mass media world-wide and a concern to integrate the work of the Agency for Christian Literature Development of the World Council of Churches. [vs apr 20/09/2005 12:30]