Communication for Empowerment in Lao PDR: An assessment of communication and media needs among ethnic peoples01 Dec 2009
Ethnic peoples represent approximately 44 percent of the total population in Lao PDR. They remain marginalized and vulnerable as a group, excluded by and large from mainstream development processes and continuing to suffer from issues related to poverty, social exclusion and lack of access to basic social services.
The Communication for Empowerment (C4E) study encompasses both a national overview and a field study. The national overview includes a section on the situation of ethnic peoples and the status of their development, as well as an overview of the current media and information and communication technology (ICT) landscape. The field study includes findings and results of media research conducted in three different locations in Lao PDR inhabited by ethnic peoples.
Through analysis of the national and field level assessments, the C4E study identifies both development challenges and opportunities and gives recommendations on how to enhance communication for empowerment of ethnic peoples.
This study emphasizes the need for inclusive communication channels and access to information as integral parts of democratic governance and sustainable development for ethnic peoples of Lao PDR. With limited formal and informal representation, and limited ability to express their views and let their voices be heard in society, ethnic peoples will continue to be further marginalized. This results in widening disparities and inequalities in Lao PDR, especially if the existing information and communication divide between urban and rural areas is not bridged in a meaningful way.