The first Quechua language TV news show in Peru hit the airwaves in December, providing all types of news to the country's four million Quechua speakers for the first time and with a Quechua perspective that includes indigenous news stories usually not featured in mainstream broadcasts.
Quechua was the principal language of the Inca Empire and is the mother tongue of approximately eight million people concentrated in Latin America, along with smaller groups in Europe and the United States.
The Ñuqanchik show, which means “We,” premiered December 12 on Peru's public television Channel 7 and airs Monday through Friday. The show's hosts are Clodomiro Landeo and Marisol Mena, veteran Quechua journalists, activists and educators.
Landeo is a broadcast producer with many years of experience in radio as a producer and host; he is also an official translator/interpreter of Quechua to Spanish and vice-versa. For 11 years he was the host of a morning radio show on Peru's public Radio Nacional, which is now co-producing Ñuqanchik along with the public television company. In an earlier interview Landeo pointed out one of the positive aspects of presenting the news through a Quechua perspective.
“Quechua isn’t only useful to translate or repeat what is said in Spanish, but rather to give other references. Its principal value is in complementing the same information through a different perspective. For example, in Quechua water isn’t just a chemical element, but also a vital element. It has a different value,” Landeo stated.
Mena, the show's other host, is also a Quechua language activist, a trained teacher and an experienced radio journalist. In an interview on January 3, she talked about her career and the new TV show.
She explained that she has been a radio host for 10 years, first on local radio shows focusing on the mostly indigenous Abancay, Aymaraes and Antabamba regions. Those shows had a mix of educational, musical, arts and news formats.
"But it was seven years ago when I dedicated myself exclusively to radio programs in Quechua as an Educator which was parallel to my work as a journalist. I put together radio programs about the rights of children and those were educational and informative where students, parents and teachers participated; all of which were presented in Quechua," Mena explained.
In 2015, Mena helped create and launch the Quechua Memes (QM) project, dedicated to the promotion of the written and oral use of the language through social media. QM grew out of Mena's doctoral thesis "The Strengthening of Quechua through Music and Song."
Then in December of last year Mena and Landeo began their TV broadcast experience where they present regional, national and international news in the Quechua language. Mena pointed out that they have recently covered "...the achievements of people involved in forestation along with the effects of the drought and then excessive rains in the regions."
She pointed out that the Quechua community and others have responded "with great happiness" to the show.
One of the groups sending video recorded congratulations to the new show was the Quechua Penn group, comprised of students of Quechua at the University of Pennsylvania and their director/instructor, Professor Americo Mendoza-Mori.
"I think Ñuqanchik is really well done," Mendoza-Mori said recently. "...they are addressing intercultural issues. For instance, during one of their editions they discussed the relevance of intercultural textbooks in Quechua and other indigenous languages for many elementary-middle schools."