Defining Concepts: Alternative Communication and Popular Communication

Photo: Courtesy of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC ALC) Latin america and caribbean.

By José Eduardo Cubías Colorado

Hidden truths at the dawn of the millennium, there was a time, long before the war in El Salvador, in which leftist organizations propagated the idea that the Alternative Communication media were immersed in Popular Communication, which is characterized by being confrontational, fierce opposition to right-wing regimes and military dictatorships, just as it has been happening in this troubled country.

We take into account the previous preamble, as an antecedent of the frame of reference and context of these two forms of social communication before 1993, because it was in April of that same year, when the "Latin American Meeting of Mass and Popular Communication Media" was held in the city of Quito, Ecuador, in which more than one hundred representatives of this kind of media participated; most were journalists.

Community Radios in El Salvador. photo VD: Milagro Orellana.

In this meeting, the concepts of Alternative Communication and Popular Communication were defined., from the perspectives: historical, theoretical and conceptual with the idea of ​​differentiating and not separating. On this occasion the own characteristics were established, from the needs of Civil Society, not from the Market, nor the state.

In this event of communicators, it was clear that the Alternative Communication does not necessarily have to be “Opposition”, far from left, as it usually happens in this country.

Alternative communication educating Salvadoran communities.
photo VD: Milagro Orellana.

We can say that Alternative Communication is the closest form to Democratic Communication insofar as it conceives a pluralism of ideas and a culture of debate with equal opportunities for all, as pragmatic foundations.

At this meeting, the presence of Noham Chomsky was notorious, motivating for participants, in addition to generating interest in your presentation:  "Democracy and the Media”, where he highlighted the manipulation of the media, turn of the century in Latin America.