Peru's Association of Social Communicators Calandria and the Veeduría Ciudadana together organised an exercise in active citizenship which brought together communication students, concerned citizens, educators, members of the Peruvian Congress, media activists, and representatives of social organisations. Held in 4 of Peru's main cities (Arequipa, Iquitos, Lima, and Puno), the consultation was the culmination of a series of activities in a process that encouraged citizens to engage with mainstream media in order to provide feedback as well as to put forward proposals for change to the content offered by Peruvian TV.
Operating under the theme "TV - How I dream you", organisers began by calling up and training some 100 members of REVOLCOM – Network of Communication Volunteers, a network of young people who are either students or have a strong interest in communications. The trained volunteers then proceeded to organise different social animation activities, or "citizens' caravans" in each of the cities in question. Conceived as a communication strategy that allows the use of public spaces to establish a dialogue with the public, these caravans are more like street performances. Drama, street musicians and performances, traditional dances, and collective games were all tactics employed by the volunteers to awaken interest and generate public debate in town squares. Clowns in stilts walked up and down inviting people to go into one of several booths to record their opinions on the entertainment programmes being offered, or write down their thoughts on large sheets of papers placed strategically around the town square. A number of attendees chose to be interviewed and went live on television and in radio with their opinions. Upwards of 2,300 people participated in the public space interventions.
At the beginning of 2008 and after the information gathered in the 4 cities was systematised, analysed, and distributed, 4 "media parliaments" were organised. The one in Lima was held in the facilities of Peru's Congress, which generated extensive media coverage and, in turn, set the wheels in motion so that that the other 3 parliaments would get almost as much media exposure as the one in the capital city. Participants were asked to debate and attempt to provide answers and recommendations to 5 key questions dealing with the quality of the television programming offered and the improvements and changes that they as citizens saw as necessary. Finally, and with the objective of bringing together proposals to improve Peru's audiovisual entertainment offer, the public was invited to produce and send videos and PowerPoint presentations illustrating some of the aspirations of ordinary citizens for quality TV entertainment.
Association of Social Communicators Calandria and the Veeduría Ciudadana.
"Peruvian Citizens Demand Better TV", by María Teresa Aveggio (Aguirre), Programme Manager, World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) - highlighted in WACC News (Media Action 287), February 9 2009.