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Quechua-language TV news program debuts in Peru
By: dt news , Posted on 14-Dec-2016
Lima : Peru launched the first-ever Quechua-language TV news program Monday, seeking to combat centuries of stigma against the ancient indigenous language.
The hour-long show, "Nuqanchik" (We), made its debut on public television at 5:30 am in this country of early risers.
"Quechua is one of the most important pieces of heritage Peru has," the head of the public broadcaster, Hugo Coya, told AFP.
Four million people in Peru and eight million across South America speak Quechua, he said.
Considered one of the world's oldest languages, Quechua has been stigmatized as a language of the poor and backward since Spanish conquistadors colonized Peru in the 16th century.
Efforts to revive it have been under way since the 1970s, when bilingual education was introduced in schools and Quechua was made a national language in Peru alongside Spanish.
But attempts to launch Quechua-language TV programming have so far fallen flat.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who took office in July, has promised to promote the language, and made a cameo appearance on Monday's news broadcast.
"Allinta munay, allinta yachay, allinta ruway," he said -- wish well, learn well, do well.
The news team, who are all native speakers, report on national and international news.
"It's a challenge and a responsibility for me as a Quechua speaker to bring the news to my Andean brothers. This is historic," said presenter Marisol Mena, 31.
She told AFP that she herself has felt the scourge of discrimination against Quechua speakers.
"It happens to me a lot. I answer the phone in public and speak Quechua and people look at me funny," Mena said.
"There's resistance, but (Peruvians) have to understand that there are business executives and university professors who speak Quechua as a mother tongue."
"Nuqanchik" will air daily. The public broadcaster says it is planning to launch similar programs in other indigenous languages from the Amazon rainforest.
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