real world radio: voicing the concerns of thousands

Radio Mundo Real (Real World Radio, or RWR) is Friends of the Earth's online multilingual radio service run by Friends of the Earth Uruguay/REDES. It was established in September 2003 to cover the protests at the World Trade Organization’s 5th Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico. It supports social movements, networks and organizations resisting liberalization.

real world radioEver since then, RWR has covered the struggle of the social, indigenous and peasant movements, addressing a wide range of social and environmental issues. It has opened up a new space for the voices and testimonies of those worst affected by liberalization and privatization policies and mega infrastructure projects, and has reported on the impacts of the neoliberal agenda in many different parts of the world.


what happened?

Real World Radio (RWR) produces a daily news report, which is syndicated to community radio stations around the world. The report is offered in a variety of formats, both audio and written, and CDs are distributed to radio stations in regions without good internet access. A newsletter with the most relevant news stories and features on specific themes is distributed to a list of subscribers - mostly organizations - and to several electronic lists.


The different themes it covers have been organized to foster and facilitate interaction with FoEI programs. New sections have also been created, such as the one for Peoples Affected by Climate Change.


In 2009, Real World Radio launched its new website, with a range of new features, including video transmission. It started a live show in English with correspondents from Asia and Africa. It also launched the site in French, in partnership with colleagues from Friends of the Earth Togo, and with the help of a volunteer who reads the stories in French from its studio in Uruguay.


RWR also updated its Italian site, and broadcast a special live show in Italian during the 'Peoples Forum for Food Sovereignty 2009' held in November in Rome, in parallel to the FAO World Summit on Food Security. The radio collected community testimonies on the people's struggles and resistance to mining, agrofuels and transnational corporations engaged in genetic modification.


During 2009, the radio also covered several events organized by La Via Campesina, Friends of the Earth International and other organizations, at which it was able to interview activists, peasants and native peoples from around the world. An example of this was Real World Radio's coverage of the Peoples' Summit and the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal against Transnational Corporations, held in May in Madrid, in parallel to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the EU. 


The radio also began coverage of the activities held parallel to the FAO's consultations on land grabbing, which began in Brasilia, and will continue in Burkina Faso and Rome.


RWR decentralized its production. It was able to include many more voices from different countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa (specifically in Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Palestine and Togo) by creating a network of correspondents both from Friends of the Earth groups and from other organizations, all of whom are dedicated to community communications.


what next?

In 2010 Real World Radio aims to strengthen its work with correspondents by including people from Europe and Asia. RWR will also host training sessions to build communicators’ understanding of the independent radio perspective – which implies giving voice to those silenced by the mass media.


RWR will continue its live shows in English and Spanish. It also aims to do special shows in Portuguese about socio-environmental conflicts in Latin America and Africa. RWR aims to expand its links with community radio stations, and to outreach more extensively both inside and outside Latin America.


RWR will continue to collect community testimonies, as well as covering events and following the agenda of the social movements, and exposing the injustices brought about by the current neoliberal system. It will, for example, cover the Forum Against Agribusiness to be held in El Salvador, the Americas Social Forum, the European Social Forum and other key events.

Photo credit: Pablo Cardozo

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