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The Free Software Powering Indigenous Community Radio Online Broadcasting

Rising Voices grantee project update

Screenshot of the Radio Jitari Kichwa website

Screenshot of the Radio Jitari Kichwa website

Written by Jonathan Finlay, La Wambra Radio.

Since the moment we launched the online radio, we have received messages from many parts around the world, and that makes us very happy.

These were the words by an excited Marlon, director of the radio station La Voz de la NAE, one of the radio stations that broadcasts online from its own website from Ecuador Amazon region. All this is thanks to the project “Shuar and Achuar: our stories, our language on the web.

During this process, indigenous communicators from four community radios took part in the project, including Radio Voz de Arutam, Radio Voz de la Nae, Radio Voz de las Cascadas and Radio Jatari Kichwa, and it all arose from the necessity of the Ecuadorian communities Shuar, Achuar and Kichwa of going beyond the traditional boundaries of radial broadcasting so their voices might be heard throughout the world using the internet. This need found an answer in 2004 with the invitation by Rising Voices, where La Wambra Radio became a grantee.

This process started in November 2013 as a space for sharing the technical, informational, and communication expertise with community radio stations, so they can articulate the voices of the movements, organizations, and leftist collectives, to build a broad and self-managed network. In short, to build a collective space for collectives by the collectives.

For La Libre and La Wambra Radio, the process meant empowering local community communication, as well as sharing free and alternate technologies through accompaniment and knowledge transfer. In particular, these technologies are understood through the implementation of free software on two servers that our collective currently manages.

Both servers operate with GNU/Linux and provide these services:

  • Website servers: with the assistance of the user-friendly control panel Kloxo, that allows the final user a nice experience when administrating advanced functions as FTP users or mail accounts. Apache is our web server and MariaDB our database engine, along with a number of security systems. For the CMS (content managing system), WordPress was the chosen one following a functional and technical evaluation, which does not mean to detract from others. It is a system that provides all that is needed and has proven to be reliable, safe, well-documented, widely available, easy-to-learn, and provides a good user experience.
  • Radio transmission server: we set up an instance of Icecast, a well-developed free software program with plenty of installations around the world.

The process is continuing and the four community radios are available online: La Voz de la NAE, La Voz de Arutam, La Voz de las Cascadas and Radio Jatari Kichwa.

Each radio station is on the process of adding content that reflects its worldview, of organizing process, music from their own nationality and its own language, which has been a great contribution for empowering community radio stations for the indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

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