PO BOX 4398 Cape Town 8000 http://medialternatives.com
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/za Under this licence you are free: • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work; and • to Remix — to adapt the work. Under the following conditions: • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the Medialternatives, but not in any way that suggests that the Medialternatives endorses you or your use of the work. • Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar licence to this one. • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work. • Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the Medialternatives • Nothing in this licence impairs or restricts the Medialternatives' moral rights. Researched and written by David Robert Lewis for Medialternatives Edition 1, 2012 In memorium Johnny Issel 1946 -2011
Contents Chapter 1: Introduction Why has this handbook been produced? What does this handbook aim to achieve? How to use this handbook Chapter 2: Media Activism Why Media Activism? What is a Media Activist? How to become a Media Activist Section Heading: Understanding Media Chapter 3: Alternative Media Why Alternative Media? What is Alternative Media? Different forms of Alternative Media Activist Media Community Journalism Participatory Journalism Remix Culture Chapter 4: Criticism of the Mass Media Manufacture of Consent The Regime of Truth Hegemony and Counter-Hegemony The Public Sphere Counter-publics Copyright vs Copyleft Media Commons Chapter 5 Case Examples Caset/Bush Radio Grassroots Sangonet RaakWys Section Heading: Making Media Chapter 6 Media Production Introduction Communication Strategies Introduction Choosing your Audience Choosing your Medium Choosing a Structure Creating a Budget Developing your Message
Media Skills Writing and Reporting Interviewing Skills Research Producing Graphics Reproduction Distribution and Promotion Digital Media Anonymity Blogging Desktop Publishing Offline Internet Mailing Lists Radio and Podcasts Social Networking Video and Videocasts Webpublishing Chapter 7 Working with the Media Practical steps at combating bias in the Media The Press Council Chapter 8 Know your rights Constitutional Protections Freedom of the Press Right to Know Gatherings and Demonstrations Copyright and Fair Use People's Communication Charter Glossary Bibliography
Chapter 1: Introduction
Why has this handbook been produced? South African media is characterised by a concentration of ownership in the hands of a corporate elite who own and manage the vast majority of titles, channels and outlets. Community radio and television may be an exception but when it comes to the written word – and especially print media – large corporates rule the roost. One of the reasons for producing this booklet is to assist activists in the battle against injustice and inequality, by giving voice to the voiceless – helping others to relate to the new media and generating media of your own. Social movements which have embraced new media have flourished, while those which have failed to generate media have perished. We hope to show you how you and your organisation can survive the transition to a new media. Although the Internet has brought with it enormous opportunities for ordinary working class people to communicate and disseminate information, the new media (along with the new digital medium of the Internet) has not translated into equal access for all. While broadband penetration is on par with other countries in the developing world, and yes, every day more and more South Africans are gaining access to the Net, for the vast majority, the experience of the digital world presents a number of obstacles. Lack of guaranteed bandwidth as a universal right means that for the average person, the only opportunity to access the Internet is either via a public library, an Internet Cafe or a mobile phone. Campaigns which rely solely on the Internet to communicate therefore run the risk of becoming irrelevant and marginal since the same large corporations which many activists are pitted against, are the ones developing the new online platforms which merely act to perpetuate power, in the process creating inequality. The need to engage traditional mass media such as print, radio and television, with a critique that is relevant to social movements, focused on development and supportive of democratic participation, is also what drives us to produce this handbook. We intend to arm media activists with the weapons needed, to not only become critical of the dominance of traditional mass media, by understanding who and what the mass media represents, but also to enable alternatives to corporate power – overcoming dependency upon large business and governmental interests by producing alternative media which is appropriate, sustainable, and grassroots. A media which is truly from below instead of one which is imported or from above.
What does this handbook aim to achieve? We think the time has come for a radical shift away from the way we think and conceive of media – by creating diversity, alternatives and media activism. While a vibrant and diverse media is the cornerstone of democracy, if there is a lack of participation by ordinary people then the media simply reflects the interests of those who are more dominant in society, the gatekeepers of knowledge, institutional players, who are in all reality elite insiders. The first wave of alternative media which sprung up as a result of the anti-apartheid movement ended prematurely after the first democratic election; the second wave of post-democratic media has been too enthralled by new technology and the narrow interests of big business, to seriously impact on the daily lives of ordinary people, however, the third wave of radical community media, (we predict), is about to arrive and it will revolutionise the way we view media, eventually replacing the mass media as the dominant source of information. This is a revolution that will empower entire communities instead of a few individuals. Organisations and social movements will, in the process, find themselves challenged by real choices created by open access to knowledge and information.
This booklet gives media activists the tools needed to overcome the many challenges facing us in our communities by espousing the production of media that communicates appropriately, not simply to those who we oppose, but also to those we wish to win over. It is for everybody who feels emboldened to become a media activist, as well as those who already consider themselves to be media activists. We also challenge the reader to participate in the creation of a new radical media, one which has as its basis for activism, tolerance, plurality and the liberation of all individuals and communities from economic hardship and the legacy of apartheid.
How to use this Handbook The Media Activist handbook has two main sections - Understanding Media and Making Media. It is not necessary to understand media in order to make media, however we believe it is well worth the effort. In understanding media, a media activist will be better equipped to advance and advocate change in society. The Understanding Media section may be further divided into a general, theoretical and case example sub-sections. If you donâ€™t understand the theory, then turn to the case example sub-section, where some of the theories are demonstrated in action. Remember, this is just a handbook and therefore by no means definitive. You may also skip the general and theory sub-sections completely and dive straight into the practical orientated case examples and Making Media section, which should be accessible to the least adept beginner.
Chapter 2: Media Activism
Why Media Activism? There was a time when the answer to the question, “what is journalism?” could easily be answered. No longer is this the case. The Internet and new information technology has brought with it a paradigm shift. The humble personal computer and cellphone has allowed anybody to become a journalist – in other words, a credible source of information, commentary and analysis. Desktop publishing, the World Wide Web, email, blogging and social media platforms such as Blogger, Facebook, Youtube, Identi.ca, Plurk, Twitter, and Wordpress, (to name just a few) all exist because of the revolution brought about by this technology, a technology which is under constant development. One consequence of the information communications revolution is a move away from the idea that the media represent a separate institutional force in society, compartmentalised and sectioned off from the public sphere like any other profession, with its own rules, ethics codes and practices. “We are the media”, has become the motto of activists world-wide. Open access to knowledge, the right to know, and the freedom to possess the tools and bandwidth which create access are all important rallying cries in the 21st century. The revolutionary paradigm shift created by new information technology presents huge challenges to the way we conceive of the role of media in society. These challenges, as the popular Chinese proverb points out, are also opportunities. Many activists have realised the new media offers us all a shift away from conservative, establishment forces of the past, but for the vast majority, the digital divide and slow-adoption of technology in Africa has meant that alternative media has lagged behind the many technological advances already occurring within the broader mass media. Activists may thus be aware that new technology (and the new opportunities afforded by technology) exists but feel powerless to do anything about it. Furthermore, we may fear that if we do nothing, we will simply miss out on the revolution, as other players come into the fray, adopting the same tactics of ownership and control that characterised the previous establishment. While the Internet may be a lot more open to interactive as well as democratic exchanges amongst a wide plurality of voices, critics point out, online media has up until now, tended towards self-enclosure and fragmentation, since, amongst Internet communities “there is no obligation towards the totality of the society (Internet communities are exclusive in their fields of interests) and there is no central authority that is committed to make responsible choices.”1 These islands on the net, as writer Bruce Sterling points out, are the vanguard of the revolution which is to come. But in order to embrace our revolution, we must first define what is wrong with today's media. Despite the advancing online media, the traditional mass media has increasingly adopted a narrow organisational and corporate view of reality. Where the first English newspaper to be printed was published to warn others about the plague, today’s newspapers hand out advice to fellow capitalists while warning of the threat of global financial meltdown. The traditional role of the press in the mediation of divergent views and interests – the so-called marketplace of ideas – has seen a steady erosion of values. The mass media, it may be argued, instead of embracing change, has simply closed shop, narrowing debates, limiting freedom, and even censoring their own critics. As information slowly percolates and diffuses via the new electronic media, many groundbreaking revolutions occurring online today will only be felt in the years to come. How may we avoid reinforcing the resulting paradox in which a single-tracked mass media, is met by the fragmentation and single-tracking caused by the Internet?
In these trying times, are there lessons which may be learnt from the South African struggle? This booklet examines some of the case histories of organisations intimately involved in the anti-apartheid press. Some important questions raised by Chapter 3 for example, are how activists may overcome the so-called normalisation of alternative media, with its unintended consequence of absorption into the mainstream? We also explore general issues which may be familiar to journalists – for example the perennial problem of identity: Who and what is reflected by media? Who gets to decide what are the important news stories of the day, and how exactly are we to go about telling our stories, if we are the ones tasked with doing the news-gathering? Other important philosophical questions presented involve the problematic idea of truth. What is truth and how may we counter the 'regime of truth' which is represented by mass media by deploying tactical media? How are we for example, to mediate between what is true and what is not in an electronic system in which a website in Siberia is as easily accessed as a site in Bloemfontein? As the shortcomings of traditional media are exposed by the new media, the emerging press have in turn faced criticism from the traditional press who point out that a journalist's stock in trade is credibility. A newsroom is a place in which facts are supposed to be constantly checked, and if found to be wrong, corrected. Other issues such as the right of reply, privacy, libel law and freedom of speech all impact on the daily discourse of media, as activists campaign for greater access to newsrooms as well as the tools needed to produce the kind of diverse media we expect in a healthy democracy. This booklet will attempt to address some of these concerns.
What is a Media Activist? If you have ever taken up the pen as a weapon in a popular debate, perhaps to write a letter to the editor, or to compose a leaflet or political pamphlet, then you can consider yourself a media activist. A media activist, first and foremost, is somebody who is dissatisfied with the status quo. An activist for social justice. A person who not only demands institutional accountability and the right to know, but also open access to information – either via public participation, direct democracy, deregulation of technology and access to the new tools which may conceivably give power to the dispossessed and disadvantaged. A media activist is not a spin doctor or a government apparatchik, but rather somebody who is a free-thinker – a democrat able to balance thought and opinion, by giving voice to the voiceless. A media activist is somebody who is critical of mass media. The media frames the way we see ourselves – one of the recurring themes of media criticism is the battle between those who demand a press which is supportive of our nation's development in overcoming the legacy of apartheid and those who continue to believe that transformation is to be avoided. How does one strike a balance between these two poles? South African media houses have to a large extent merely served the needs of the rich and powerful, those who are already in possession of wealth, land, property, and financial resources. Although some inroad in transformation through economic empowerment deals has been made, mainstream media have by and large continued to cater to the exclusive needs of the elite by failing efforts to create inclusivity, to report adequately on the needs of the poor and the positive aspects of a developing democracy, in a way that is balanced and constructive. A media activist is somebody who communicates, who engages media with his or her concerns, by writing letters, penning op-eds and meeting with journalists. Media activists point out the contradictions, bias and double standards inherent to all media. Those who criticise the press often find themselves in the firing line, suffering marginalisation and censorship. The press readily maligns its own critics, engaging in propaganda and censorship whilst complaining about government interference and the ever-present threat of “Big Brother”. One has only to look at resistance to transformation, by the top three media houses to realise the truth about censorship in the new South Africa.
A media activist is somebody who produces media. New technology offers unprecedented opportunities to produce a wide variety of media. How we take advantage of these new technologies will determine whether we have a participatory practice or one which merely restates the old power hierarchies. Activists seek to provide alternatives to canned content and the commercial narrow-casting of news to target markets. The new technology however, has resulted in increasingly difficult working conditions – casualisation and automation of the news-gathering process, affect the entire industry at large. The harsh reality of modern journalism remains the dominance of a few centralised information bureaus and services which supply information and “news” in a global system that is based upon corporate profits and the dictates of large multinational conglomerates. A media activist is somebody who demonstrates when necessary. Since there is a vast disparity between how grassroots activists view the world, and how those in position of power would like to us to believe the world should be, taking to the street with placards is often the only way to show your support for the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Our nation’s founding document guarantees openness, democratic plurality, individuality and inclusivity. Despite South Africa's constitutional guarantees (our forward-looking Bill of Rights even has rights guaranteeing the freedom to receive or impart information or ideas) there is ever-increasing polarisation in society. This is a result of the legacy of apartheid and capitalism, a culture of censorship which is based upon colonial ideas of servitude and authoritarianism. Both government and the mass media, instead of seeing the new technologies as a means to liberate individuals, have merely expressed their desire to contain technology, either via regulation or patent and copyright law. A media activist is opposed to censorship and big brother. Being critical of the press does not mean that government intervention or state censorship is the solution. In a choice between two evils, the lessor evil is a free press, even if this means that in a market economy large corporations have a tendency to dominate the mass media. Governments have shown themselves to be a far worse means of media organisation, tending towards secrecy, and propaganda, instead of openness and truth. Public services which carry a bipartisan view, one which respects diversity, are also far more tolerant of differences of opinion than monopolistic services which cater to one interest group or party. A media activist is therefore somebody who wishes not only to empower, but also to liberate, to see a more accurate and broader picture of reality than the exclusive one portrayed by large commercial and government interests, those who merely see new technology as a way to sell products or the party. Media activists look to a future in which all are free to partake of the media commons, in the production of media which is both emancipatory and empowering.
How to become a Media Activist Media Activists can be separated into a number of groups. For the sake of convenience, these groups or categories are not mutually exclusive and you may find you occupy one or more category as the case may be. For the most part, there are those who are simply critical of the mass media and merely wish to repair a broken system by campaigning for changes in the way news is gathered, in the way reality is reflected and in the subject matter carried by radio, television and print media. One may refer to this group as “reformists”. Then there are those who perceive the hegemonic power behind the media – the way power is constructed via the press who are in reality large public relations firms and a collection of special interest groups, as the problem. These people, are the “structuralists” who wish to change economic power relations such as the concentration of media in the hands of the few by shifting this power into the hands of the many, either by passing laws or by supporting initiatives which create diversity and plurality. In order to accomplish this task, structuralists often merely restate the power relations inherent to capitalism, by becoming part of an oppressive system, either by being co-opted into the media elite or by setting themselves up as new gatekeepers and watchdogs.
The next group are the technological determinists â€“ those who believe that technology will fix everything, that the personal computer will liberate everybody from oppression by large corporations and oppressive governments and all that needs to happen is to provide the masses with computers. These well-meaning individuals, often fail to understand the way in which power is constructed in society. That in a developing world, if the technology is not appropriate and convivial (to use Ivan Illich's term for life-affirming technology) the result is simply another way of alienating us from the mode of production. Instead of dependence upon media corporations for our media, we become dependent upon technology corporations for our technology. Then there are the progressives and radicals, (often referred to as post-structuralists or post-Marxists) who combine several approaches. These people perceive that single-tracking the news or legislating over freedom is a bad thing because of the resulting monopolies which are created, resulting in a narrowing of discourse. They realise that for any change to come we must first gain access to the mode of production, not simply by owning shares in companies, but by sharing information and technology that is free and unfettered from the dictates of corporations and governments. This means gaining grassroots access to information and media technology, in a society in which all are treated equally and fairly. In order to accomplish this and until there is universal access to the Internet and a broadband technological solution for everyone, radicals suggest that an appropriate mix of media technology (both low and high tech) needs to be deployed. Whether through a low-cost desktop publishing application which assists in the production of a pamphlet which is then printed or photocopied; simple file sharing of information with USB sticks, CD or DVD; podcasts distributed on MP3 players, or PDF books downloaded onto mobile phones and tablet PC. The result is a subversive use of the available technology, and it includes graphic art, comix, animation, and other verbal and non-verbal means of communication, such as storytelling and even dance. The primary step in becoming a media activist, of whatever type, is outrage at the inequity of the global system. A system in which some have to access to radios, televisions, newspapers and broadband technology and the latest computers, while others do not. Then a growing realisation that there are practical steps which can be taken in combating the problem of unequal access to communications technology and that strategies exist to produce countercultural, or counter-hegemonic narratives, news-stories which alter and overcome relationships of dependency and inequality.
Chapter 3: Alternative Media
Why Alternative Media? As a short introductory note, South Africa has a history of alternative print media, which flourished in reaction to apartheid. Routine detentions of activists, house-arrests and incarceration of political leaders created an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship. A massive effort was required to prevent public debate narrowing around a few issues, preselected and controlled by the authorities. In particular the banning of political parties under repressive legislation which included censorship and news blackouts in terms of the draconian Films and Publications Act, presented major obstacles to those seeking the truth. The Information Scandal caused by the exposure of secret government funding for newspapers during the 1980s, in which the minority white government attempted to purchase the influential Washington Star while funding the Citizen, was also a key factor in driving resistance. Activists were forced to seek out and produce alternative media to counter overt state propaganda, producing media which was more reliable than mainstream newsrooms, many of which had been infiltrated by “embedded journalists” and subjected to the influence of cultural commissars and government spies. According to Grassroots editor Rashid Seria, the alternative media was formed to fill a void left by the virtual absence of news from townships and rural areas because of a lack of reportage by the mainstream media:- “It sought to counter the depiction of the struggle as a terrorist/communist-inspired insurrection, and gave communities a voice and built community organisations.” The alternative media thus had a considerable impact on the liberation struggle, allowing people to keep in touch with events, creating open spaces for debate on policy and fomenting resistance against racism and the brutal anti-democratic authoritarian system. Alternative media therefore exists in order to construct a counterbalance to power, initially against repressive governments, and increasingly against the domination of large corporations over public life. In most democratic countries, alternatives to the mass media are considered a necessary counterweight to what would otherwise become a one-track and narrow public space. While most of the press restrictions imposed by the apartheid government have either been repealed or replaced by more progressive legislation which draws upon constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, structural imbalances remain. The South African economy is characterised by the prevalence of large multinational corporations with privileged access to the public and the manipulation of the market resulting from racial privilege under apartheid, which has in turn has resulted in unequal access by a new elite. These corporations now present obstacles to a fully democratic and open public sphere. Since large institutions act to preserve the structure of society by combating any attempts at transformation – the introduction of new or different norms, or the creation of alternative discourse – is seen by corporates as “alienation from normality” and something to be avoided. Reaction to alternative discourse is usually a recasting of any criticism within the dominant neoliberal framework, for example free trade, capitalism and property rights – informed by a hierarchy of value based upon self-interest and competition – followed by an assault against the psychology or ideology underpinning proponents of change. The empire of truth outlined by media theorists prevails, as truth itself is moderated, owned and co-opted by those with the most to lose from any attack against their dominant position of privilege in society. For every editorial produced by activists, several editorials opposing the alternative perspective may appear in the supposed marketplace of ideas. Defining alternative media as a dichotomy, in relationship to mainstream media has thus been seen as presenting a number of problems. Since “alternative media” is a slippery term fraught with multiple meanings, ranging from
community radio to fan zines to news websites, it covers a wide gamut of media forms that challenge the status quo. ...In its most expansive and popular use, the term “alternative media” includes all media that are somehow opposed to or in tension with mainstream media.” John Downing argues that to speak of alternative media in this way is almost oxymoronic. everything, at some point, he notes, is alternative to something else. As with many cultural objects and practices, today's alternative may be simply co-opted and reappropriated to become tomorrow's mainstream. It is for this reason that alternative media which merely defines itself around a particular subject, interest or campaign is likely to fail, while those which target the structural problem inherent to all media, such as the prevalence of social hierarchies are most likely to succeed with their goals. “[Alternative media’s] collective value is in their exploration of new forms of organizing more participatory techniques of media and more inclusive, democratic forms of communication.” According to this definition, alternative media allows those who are most often under or misrepresented in mainstream media to tell their own stories through their own media. According to Atton, this media democratization process is outlined by several qualities, including non-commercial methods of distribution; transformed social relations, including roles and responsibilities; and transformed communication processes. A community radio station that has rotating leadership roles or a public access channel produced by a cooperatively run organization exemplifies such qualities.# Alternative media is thus not simply a matter of providing alternative choices to the public in the marketplace of ideas, or simply another channel on the dial, but is rather a means of creating a separate sphere of existence in which different modalities of analysis, language and human behavior, may be deployed, all of which run counter to the structure of the more dominant social order. Alternative media is thus often run collectively, or exclusively by those most marginalised or affected by a particular systemic problem, in order to present a different bias to the bias of the mainstream media, and often simply to rectify public perceptions inherent to the social order.
What is Alternative Media? Alternative media generally operates under a mandate other than the profit motive. It is focused on providing a range of ideas and opinions that are not readily available in the corporate press, or on serving the needs of a particular group or community that is poorly represented in major commercial media outlets. To help avoid influence from commercial concerns, it is generally independently or collectively owned and often operated on a co-operative or non-profit basis. In an attempt to better reflect the needs and interests of their readers and audiences, alternative media seeks participation and contributions from members of the communities its serves rather than relying solely on professional journalists. Alternative media therefore offers a “different focus or perspective on events than its corporate cousins.” Wikinews for instance is a free public website in which anyone can edit the news collaboratively. Wordpress has a collective dashboard giving every blogger a chance to break news. Some criticism has been expressed as to whether the participatory approach is the correct one, since although participation can have positive effects on those who are engaged in “participatory production processes”. critics such as Fuchs and Sandeval doubt that alternative media can “effectively challenge corporate media power and the dominant discourse by simply realizing participatory production processes.” # “Participatory, non-commercial media that reject professional organization processes often suffer from a lack of resources, which makes it difficult to gain public visibility and to establish a broad counter-public sphere. But public visibility is necessary for raising awareness regarding the repressive character of capitalism and for supporting radical social transformations.” Alternative media has also languished in the realm of normative media theory which reduces its significance to “mere difference of opinion”, a different perspective in the marketplace of ideas in which all ideas are seen to compete for
the public's attention. As Negri has shown, this marketplace of ideas is based upon capitalist power relations constructed in relationship to property which in turns sets up a distinction between the public and private sphere. As we have shown, ”normative media theories are those ideal views from different perspectives and within different conditions about the role of the press in society.” # Among those normative theories worth mentioning in the South African context, and which underpin the conceptual basis of today's alternative media, are the development media theory and the democratic participant media theory, both of which provide us with a structural agenda by a) catering to development in a developing world, and b) providing greater participation in an unequal system. It is not enough to state that alternative media serves a specific ideological or political purpose, such as “socio-political dissatisfaction among groups of people catering to a specifically identifiable group of people, with an implied criticism of mainstream media, brought about by the marginalisation of that particular group.” While this may have been true of the broad “alternative press” which emerging during the apartheid regime in South Africa it fails to describe the transition to new modes of production which exist outside of the traditional power structures of society. Since there can be no single prescription for producing alternative media, the idea that there is one methodology which all alternative media needs to follow should be dispensed with. Rather it is more useful to describe the kinds of structural issues and concerns which are common to alternative media around the world:- feminist literature and its desire to seek alternatives to patriarchy; social movements around land and environmental struggles which seek either the redistribution of wealth or the protection of the earth for future generations; opposition to corporations and government in order to champion the rights of individuals and groups, and other medias such as human rights advocacy, radical and dissident media, indigenous ethnic media, black media, subcultural media, and avant-garde media. Each of these categories highlights the perceived shortcomings of mass media to serve particular audiences, aims and interests, and activist's attempts to overcome these shortcomings by creating their own media.
Different forms of Alternative Media Alternative media takes many forms. For the most part, South Africa's alternative press comprised weekly newspapers such as South, New Nation, Vrye Weekblad, and Weekly Mail, and monthlies like Grassroots, Saamstaan and New Era. It is worth noting the short-lived experiment in providing Internet access to NGOs called Worknet, (See Case Examples) which existed during the early nineties before falling victim to the growth of large, commercial service providers. After the 1994 democratic election, much of the “first wave” alternative media was either abandoned, folded from lack of funding, or were absorbed into commercial enterprise. The failure to reposition alternative media within a new democratic context put paid to most elements associated with South Africa's anti-apartheid press. The second wave saw the repositioning and emergence of community radio and television such as Bush Radio, CTV and Zibonele as new mediums of expression, ostensibly providing public access to the airwaves and catering to local concerns from an often radical perspective. Over time however, this initial radicalism was slowly watered down as community media saw itself increasingly as “just another option” in the marketplace, sitting alongside traditional media instead of in opposition to a dominant ideology. After making idealistic promises of participation and open access for all, such structures often became dominated by a few individuals who saw themselves as new gatekeepers and watchdogs. Over the last decade, the growth of the Internet has lead to a plethora of alternatives to the mainstream monologue, each catering to a particular audience, and avowedly non-commercial in nature. For the most part, such outlets are only accessible to those with Internet access. One may argue that instead of creating true counter-publics they are thus simply fragmentations, or fractions of the public sphere and will continue to be so until universal guaranteed bandwidth and Internet access is extended to the poor.
Some notable experiments with online media have been Indymedia which uses a ‘‘democratic open-publishing system”, is ‘‘collectively run”, and comprises ‘‘a decentralized and autonomous network” which provides access to activists anywhere in the world, who wish to broadcast or publish, and Sangonet, the successor to Worknet, which has an online press hub to which anyone can post a news story, providing a valueable resource to NGOs and activist organisations. The emergence of new media platforms in which anyone with an Internet connection and a computer can contribute, has provided ample opportunity to engage in debate around the public sphere and to develop new counter-publics. Bulletin Boards and online forums allow users to debate issues and collaborate on any subject. In most cases such forums allow anonymous posting, enabling debate to occur without fear of repercussion from the forces that be. News readers and aggregators like Amatomu which rely on Real Simple Syndication (RSS) provide the same sense of community which was once only available inside the letters pages of many alternative newspapers during the apartheid era. A multitude of online audio podcasts and videocasts, audo and video streams exist, many of them simply piggybacking off established sites like Youtube and Zoopy. Activists have taken to social networks, email and sms in order to mobilise; the flash-mob is a uniquely 21st century phenomena, describing the way a campaign, made invisible by its use of email or sms can suddenly flash into the open. But while the new media has been enthusiastically portrayed as providing open access and community to a technosavy generation by commentators in the West, the experience in the developing world leaves a lot to be desired. High cost of telecommunications compared to the average wage and imported computer technology which has to be paid for in foreign currency continue to represent real obstacles to entry. Therefore, one has to approach the new media with a critical eye. Until this media creates viable access to the broader public, providing technology which is appropriate to the economic circumstances of ordinary people, it cannot claim to represent a true counter-public, so much as serving the needs of a new fragmentary digital elite occupying, a niche status in relationship to the dominant, mainstream.
Activist Media South Africa has a long tradition of activist media, which includes coverage of the defiance campaign against apartheid and campaigns against state censorship. The term is interchangeable with the newer term, tactical media, however, while activist media is often tactical, it does not follow that all forms of tactical media are associated with activism. Generally speaking, activism is intentional action to bring about social, political, economic or environmental change. The very notion of activism, can be summed up as the idea of actively doing something about an unjust situation, hence the need for tactics. “If you don't like the news, go out and create some news” is one of the enduring challenges to those who wish to criticise authority from their armchairs or backyards. For others, there is no other option but to become active in ones community, to seek transformation by engaging others through the production of media. Media activists can learn from the tactics of media protests of the 1980s which “stemmed from left-wing academic and student journals, newsletters, newspapers, and pamphlets produced by white-designated universities. In addition, individuals and teams of white and black activists produced literacy texts for adults and newsletters for workers, and published oral narratives, personal memoirs and revisionist histories documenting the struggle. Among the more interesting of these publications were magazines like Africa South, Learn and Teach, Learning Roots ..“Information, ideas, and attitudes were communicated through a variety of literary, musical, and performance texts performed in urban African townships and informal settlements.” The End Conscription Campaign for instance produced posters, texts and theatre criticizing compulsory military conscription and groups like Community Arts Project engaged in a host of multimedia events to raise awareness against the apartheid system.
Today's social movements have also produced an extensive variety of media including theatre, graffiti, banners, pamphlets and online media. Both the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Earthlife Africa for instance have engaged in effective media campaigns, with the TAC producing its own journal that is available free to members. South Africa thus has a diverse and vocal activist media sector which can proudly claim to follow the legacy of the anti-apartheid movement and its activism against racial exclusivity and race supremacy.
Community Journalism Community media such as local radio and television stations run by community-based organsations and NGOs can be characterised as one of the success stories of South Africa's democratic transition. The descendants of the antiapartheid media which played “a central role in chronicling the history of the struggle .. disseminating the tactics and strategies of specific organisations and helping to build a level of defiance in town and countryside that sustained and broadened the resistance movement.” The relative low-level of literacy in South Africa and a lack of a culture of reading has meant that community radio and television has outstripped printed publications which are still seen as the preserve of academics and intellectuals. The post-democratic generation is however generally more media literate, and represents an under-served grouping. Whereas media activists of the eighties once proclaimed “Each one, teach one.” today's media literates demand access to the new tools which are freely available on the Internet in order to instruct themselves in a process of life-long learning in what has been referred to as the “learning revolution”. It stands to reason that many organisations are failing to engage their communities by refusing to deliver new forms of media based upon Mobile Internet Devices (MID) and new digital tools which allow user-generated content and which blur the boundary between producer and consumer, in what is essentially an emancipatory medium. Like the emancipation from slavery, today’s media emancipation entails the freeing of readers, the liberation of content and content platforms. The convergence of the mobile phone with the computer will mean that MIDs will become readily available and abundant in the future, a cheap and popular medium of communication which is already empowering communities in Asia and the far East. Whereas community journalism is practiced by professional journalists, often in collaboration with non-professional journalists working together. The advent of the Internet has meant such distinctions have shifted. The concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location. This broadening of the definition of community, from what was once a narrow public drawn from ones immediate locale to “everybody networked and able to connect electronically”, presents challenges to the traditional conception of local community-based media and community journalism. Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Linux community manager for the popular free operating system presents his version of what the “new community” represents. Open communication With an open community and publicly visible and accessible communication channels, anyone can join the community and meet hundreds of thousands of other community members just like them. Licensing of work Every contribution to the community is licensed in such a way that it benefits the entire community. The fair licensing of all contributions adds a strong sense of confidence to the security of the community. Open tools Anyone with an Internet connection and a computer can contribute. All of the development tools and documentation
are entirely free and open to access. This provides a low barrier to entry, and lets new users play with the technology. The challenge therefore is to find ways of providing access, countering the “digital divide” by delivering affordable technology which is appropriate to people's economic circumstances. While everybody may not be able to afford an expensive desktop computer, the rise of mobile phone technology and tablet PCs has presented opportunities for broad-based community media, especially in South Africa where the cellphone is ubiquitous, amongst both rich and poor. With today's cellphone having the processing power and capabilities of a low-end computer, the intermediate technology revolution is within reach. A group of youth from Oaxaca, Mexico for example, have, through free applications. older PCs and mobile phones, helped to bring technology to poor areas with the aim of eliminating the phenomenon of the "technology gap" caused by technological illiteracy. As their website states: “Our vision is to solve humanity's problems responsibly to society and to our mother nature. Work to make it accessible technology for all mankind. Mission: To provide technology training and free to all. Vision: Technologies and freedom for humanity.”
Participatory Journalism With the broadening of the idea of community, participatory journalism and user-generated content (also known as "public", "citizen", "democratic", "guerrilla” or "street journalism ), has come to the fore. The concept revolves around the idea of individuals "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing and disseminating news and information." According to the seminal 2003 report by Bowman and Willis, “We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information,” "the intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires." The most obvious difference between participatory journalism and traditional journalism are the different community structures and organization inherent to new media. Traditional media, according to Bowman and Willis, is created by hierarchical organizations that are built for commerce. Their business models are broadcast and advertising focused. They value rigorous editorial workflow, profitability and integrity. Participatory journalism on the other hand is created by networked communities that value conversation, collaboration and egalitarianism over profitability. # Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor at New York University who has consulted on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies, sees the difference this way: “The order of things in broadcast is ‘filter, then publish.’ The order in communities is ‘publish, then filter.’ If you go to a dinner party, you don’t submit your potential comments to the hosts, so that they can tell you which ones are good enough to air before the group, but this is how broadcast works every day. Writers submit their stories in advance, to be edited or rejected before the public ever sees them. Participants in a community, by contrast, say what they have to say, and the good is sorted from the mediocre after the fact.” Many traditional journalists are dismissive of participatory journalism, particularly webloggers, characterizing them as self-interested or unskilled amateurs. Conversely, many webloggers look upon mainstream media as an arrogant, exclusive club that puts its own version of self-interest and economic survival above the societal responsibility of a free press. # According to Shirky, what the mainstream media fail to understand is that despite a participant’s lack of skill or journalistic training, the Internet itself acts as an editing mechanism, with the difference that “editorial judgment is applied at the edges ... after the fact, not in advance.” The rise of online non-profit investigative journalism stems not only from the overall newsroom cuts around the country, but also from the growing vacuum in local coverage. “Many traditional newsrooms no longer have the staff
or financial resources to send a reporter across town, let alone cross-country, to investigate a story”. As more non-profit journalism organizations develop, and increasingly online journalists emerge in cities around the globe, media theorists argue that the traditional wire services will have stiff competition unless they deal with reality and start picking up the best work these journalists produce. “Non-profit journalist organizations as well as citizen journalists are producing news that too often is overlooked by traditional media. Not all those who write online stories are journalists -yet - but should get the same access and treatment as those few still employed by newspapers, television and radio.”
Remix Culture Remix culture is important from the stand point of copyright. Most major media houses remix to a degree, taking news clips from Reuters for example and turning the information into news-stories. Remix Culture is a term promoted by Lawrence Lessig, cofounder of the Creative Commons, whose book 'Remix', describes a society which allows and encourages derivative works. A derivative work is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works. Lessig argues such a culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holders. Lessig presents this as a desirable ideal and says, amongst other things, that the health, progress, and wealth creation of a culture is fundamentally tied to this participatory remix process. You don't need a computer to remix, try cut-and-paste some found images from a magazine into a collage, or play a soundtrack of a movie while listening to a top ten hit and you will get the basic idea. According to South African visual artist Candice Breitz, “In African and other oral cultures, this is how culture has traditionally functioned. In the absence of written culture, stories and histories were shared communally between performers and their audiences, giving rise to version after version, each new version surpassing the last as it incorporated the contributions and feed-back of the audience, each new version layered with new details and twists as it was inflected through the collective. This was never thought of as copying or stealing or intellectual-property theft but accepted as the natural way in which culture evolves and develops and moves forward. As each new layer of interpretation was painted onto the story or the song, it was enriched rather than depleted by those layers.”# But this reality is not unique to oral cultures. In Breitz’s view, it is “how the artistic process works” generally. This process of making meaning may be more blatant in the practice of certain artists than it is in the practice of others. Artists who work with found footage, for example, blatantly reflect on the absorptive logic of the creative process. But I would argue that every work of art comes into being through a similar process, no matter how subtly. No artist works in a vacuum. Every artist reflects— consciously or not— on what has come before and what is happening parallel to his or her practice.” Remix culture thus allows for the creation of new readings and narratives in a conscious attempt to overcome the stasis associated with the colonial mode of doing things. It is a global culture which has adapted to the influx of new media. It is prevalent amongst the arts, as well as the sciences, and is inextricably linked to the production of new media.
Chapter 4: Criticism of the Mass Media
Manufacture of Consent The propaganda model developed by Noam Chomsky1 is an important tool in understanding how the editorial bias of news reportage i.e. what types of news, which items, and how they are reported is a consequence of various filters. Chief of these is the profit motive. In other words, capitalism is what drives the political economy of the mass media. Our participation is based upon consent that the economic model presented by the mass media is the only possible one. Since what may be in the public interest is not necessarily in the interests of the mass media, there always exists editorial bias towards a particular economic world view. Another way of looking at this problem is the way mass media drive public debate and consensus around issues, whether it is the government owned SABC or the privately owned eTV. The very act of mediation of a debate i.e. agenda-setting, means that the outcome is controlled by the gatekeepers. Public debate in this way is always skewed in favour of a particular class interest – those represented chiefly by the media conglomerates and party apparatchiks – who in turn act to create the illusion of consent in order to govern a docile and contented public. Gatekeepers are editors, experts, commentators, talk-show hosts, television producers, and media owners. The public is duped by a false consensus, the “rigged debate hypothesis”, into believing that certain facts or issues are common cause when the outcome of debate has already been decided. For example, the myth that growth equals jobs or the lie of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq used as pretext for war by the Bush administration. Today's mass media have yet to openly discuss press participation in the global propaganda effort, despite the weapons never being found, along with media support for a pretext for war which continues to drive a global war on terror, along with growing censorship and secrecy. Chomsky's "propaganda model" suggests several other “editorially-distorting” filters which are often applied to news reporting and which need to be examined. Perhaps you can think of some of your own filters? We will examine each briefly. The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions) news media caters to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers and sponsors. In recent years, advertisers have gone so far as to acquire sponsor representation at boardroom level. The Independent Group for example has a sizeable investment in several international public relations and advertising firms, and all three other local mass media groupings in South Africa have diversified into businesses which present clear conflicts of interest when it comes to traditional journalistic ethics. Sourcing News: According to Chomsky, large bureaucracies of the powerful essentially subsidise the mass media in return for special access to the news. The large entities that provide this subsidy in turn become 'routine' news sources with privileged access. Non-routine sources must continually struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers. In the local context, the SABC has a list of experts, which it turns to for sound-bytes and likewise, single-source journalism in which only one source, instead of a variety of sources are used, is an everpresent threat. South African media has been rocked by various scandals involved information sources which turned out to nothing more than the fabrications of editors. Flak and the Enforcers: "Flak" says Chomsky are negative responses to a media statement or programme (e.g. letters, complaints, lawsuits, or legislative actions). Flak can be extremely costly due to loss of advertising revenue, or the costs of a protracted legal defense. While media activism presents one form of flak, flak is usually organized by powerful, private influence and lobby groups such as public relations firms and think tanks. As during apartheid, our government continues to be the biggest source of media flak, often engaging in frivolous legal disputes with the media who in turn are forced to become more compliant.
The prospect of eliciting flak is thus a real deterrent to reporting on particular subjects. Since large media corporations and public relations firms are essentially one and the same, and politicians are increasingly to be seen amongst media boardrooms, editorial decisions often take a particular trajectory, merely in response to the threat or perception about what kind of flak will be elicited. Compliance to the status quo is thus enforced, often by unwritten rules, by the perceptions (and misperceptions) of what the likely outcome will be. In one sense, certain problematic stories are almost never covered or covered extensively to their ultimate conclusion, because the resulting political flak is too difficult to contain within the columns of a newspaper or 60 minute television programme. Dominant ideologies: Chomsky argues that since the end of the Cold War, anticommunism has been replaced by the “War on Terror", as the major social control mechanism. One may also argue that neoliberalism and the New World Order is one of the dominant metaphors and ideological debates of our time and that most editorial distortion occurs as a response to a perceived threat against capitalism and its wars of conquest and domination. Doublespeak: Although Chomsky does not directly refer to this filter, it is important enough to list it here. George Orwell coined the term to describe the way news is often constructed by propagandists who wish to deceive the public into accepting a particular view of the world. For example, in times of war, enemy causalities are referred to as “collateral damage”, an invasion is simply “regime change”, and occupation is “military assistance”. Validators of Experience: Another useful filter distilled from Chomsky is the way credibility is manufactured. A newspaper over time may become known as a credible and reliable source of information, this in turn is used to validate the reports and experiences presented by journalists, some of whom may not be credible. When questioned, editors may simply point to a chain of historical reference. Since a particular news outlet was credible in the past, it must follow that it will be credible in the future. This illusion of credibility is used in turn to validate any propaganda effort.
The Regime of Truth Rashomon by Japanese director Akira Kurusawa is a classic film which emphasises the subjectivity of truth and the uncertainty of factual accuracy. The movie depicts the rape of a woman and the murder of her samurai husband through the widely differing accounts of four witnesses, including the rapist, the wife, the dead man (speaking through a medium), and lastly the narrator, who is the one witness that seems the most objective and least biased. The stories are all mutually contradictory and not even the final version of events can be seen as unmotivated by factors of ego and the Japanese idea of saving face. Even the actors involved in the epic approached Kurosawa wanting to know the truth, which he claimed was not the point of the film as he intended it to be an exploration of multiple realities rather than an exposition of a particular truth. Rashomon is just an example of why a number of critics view the truth claims which give power to our assertions, as problematic, since language is the primary means by which power is exerted over the less powerful. Post-structural theorists have shown how different 'regimes of truth' reflect the ways in which language, power and truth have developed together in a mutually sustaining relationship throughout history. Certain claims are only ‘true’ within certain discourses or ways of speaking. According to Jacques Derrida: ‘..the world is constructed like a text in the sense that interpreting the world merely reflects the concepts and structures of language, what he terms textual interplay.’ All knowledge, according to this view, is situated in a particular time and place and issues from a particular perspective. There is no one grand history, and it is not possible to identify general laws of human behavior and to explain continuity over time. There is thus no ‘truth’ as such, only ‘regimes of truth’ in which truth and power are mutually produced and sustained. Michel Foucault for instance, claims that there is no truth outside power. Power produces knowledge and knowledge presupposes certain power relations.
What we refer to as “objectivity” for instance is merely a convenient set of rules for reaching consensus around verifiable truth in society i.e. data, and like all systems, so-called objectivity may be abused by those with the power to make the rules and the decisions. According to Derrida, these regimes of truth, reflected by the media, which plays an active part in advocacy of certain languages and modes of speaking, have to be exposed by the activity of ‘double reading’ and ‘deconstruction’. Deconstruction is an analytical method of showing how all theories and discourses rely on an artificial order, “stabilities” produced by the use of seemingly objective and neutral oppositions like good and bad, male and female etc. Double reading is a way to show that there is no one correct way of reading a text but rather to show that there is always more than one reading. The way we speak and communicate thus has an enormous impact on the way we view reality by describing the world. Language plays a vital role in framing our reference points. Think of the difference between how Afrikaans language speakers view the world compared to English speakers. Or compare the sentence “Put the dog in the car” to the sentence “Do you want to put the dog in the car?” Both require an activity but only one requires a value judgment on your part. Because reality is socially constructed, we must also question what is taken for granted, our “common sense” and the way the media appear to speak for normality. In this sense, the media is always speaking at many levels. Exposing the hidden context, such as the language of oppression and Empire, used by today's mass media is a crucial task of media activism, as is the production of new languages and discourses which may inform a more democratic and egalitarian society.
Hegemony and Counter-Hegemony Antonio Gramsci introduced the concept of ideological hegemony to explain the failure of the proletarian revolution to take place in Europe. His ideas have also been applied to the media. According to Gramscian thought, in hegemony ‘a certain way of life and thought is dominant, and is diffused throughout society to inform norms, values and tastes, political practices, and social relations'. This, political, moral and cultural hegemony results from a combination of coercion and consent and allows the values of the dominant group to become accepted as the norm by subordinate groups and classes as their own.3 The reason that a revolution won’t take place, in other words, is the fact that some aspects of ‘civil society’ are co-opted by the state and used ‘to secure acquiescence of the dominant classes and identification with the hegemonic worldorder.’ The ruling class represented by the media, thus creates cultural and political consensus or “normalisation” and is able to rule out ideas that it sees as potentially dangerous by dominating ways of thinking, speaking, assuming, coping and even fearing. Through language, the ruling elite controls us by creating acceptance of the status quo in the minds of those being exploited. In this way, society is held together by a form of hegemony, which is rooted in ‘civil society’. Gramsci's answer to this problem is the creation and dissemination of 'counter-hegemonic discourses', that is to say, new ways of thinking, speaking and feeling, leading to new perceptions of 'normality' which challenge the old, and which build practical processes for overcoming oppression. One may also argue that any attempt at normalisation is itself flawed, since it presupposes a right way and a wrong way of doing things, which may only be defined in relation to the dominant discourse. Rather it is better to talk about new modes of doing things for example, a radical mode of media production. One may also talk about a green “counter-public” or a leftist “counter-cultural” discourse.
The Public Sphere The traditional liberal model of the press, as a mediator in the marketplace of ideas has been challenged by a radical model developed in response to the theories of Jurgen Habermas who was merely describing what he believed to be the bourgeois society of his time, which was still characterised by a ruling elite drawn up from the old European colonial powers. The easiest way to understand the concept is to think of a cafe with people talking about the events of the day:"The bourgeois public sphere may be conceived above all as the sphere of private people come together as a public; they soon claimed the public sphere regulated from above against the public authorities themselves, to engage them in a debate over the general rules governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labor.” The liberal model of the press is largely based upon Habermas’ theory of the public sphere, which he characterised as “an area in social life where people can get together and freely discuss and identify societal problems”, and through that discussion “influence political action”, it was conceived as a discursive space in which “individuals and groups congregate to discuss matters of mutual interest and, where possible, to reach a common judgment." This a far cry from the exclusive gated communities and single-tracked information created by today’s mass media, information which is based upon powerful allegiances and affiliations of patronage by large corporations in which consumers pay subscription fees or exchange money for exclusive access to content, content which is in turn subsidised by advertising. Since Habermas' idea was essentially based upon the idea of liberty, property and scarcity, the duty of the press, in his view, was to mediate within the “marketplace of ideas” in which private individuals were “free to choose” from a market of information, between those ideas they favoured most, and those which they rejected. This general concept of the public sphere however, only functions within a narrow framework created by exclusive access to media and information, where the dominant class is able to afford the cost of services, whether it be television licenses, paidcontent subscriptions, or the R5 needed to buy a daily newspaper. The underclass either forgoes such pleasures, or accepts whatever media is dished out to them in the form of charitable or philanthropic acts by the dominators. Habermas' theories on the public sphere were thus developed before the Internet significantly altered the public spheres by creating new self-regulated, decentralised networks. These networks are essentially anti-hierarchical by nature, and therefore cannot be easily controlled by the rich and powerful. This is not to say there are no longer attempts to control the new media created by digital networks – for example by imposing national sovereignty over the Internet, or by forcing people to use particular software, or to obey certain laws – but rather any system of control exercised over the Internet is a lot harder to enforce than is the case with traditional media. The emergence of new dissident networks of communication formerly excluded by the dominant public sphere and its hegemonic discourse, lead to the descriptive term 'counter-public'. Whereas Habermas perceived an imaginary “public sphere” as a potential democratic utopia where individuals could discuss national issues and come to common consensus in public, counter-publics are defined by the failure of the broad ideal of a public space able to accommodate a plurality of views. Often insular and self-defined by a variety of issues which include gender, social status, and skin colour, counter-publics vary by the extent to which reasoned debate and collective choice also operate as a mechanism for their internal organization. It is thus a very loose cultural term which is also interchangeable with an older term “counter-culture”, which was a more prevalent description used during the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Counter-publics By the end of the 20th century, and over the past decade, the Habermasian view had been criticised by theorists who suggested that the conception of the ideal public sphere was far too narrow, arguing that subordinated groups
(women, non-whites, etc.) created “counter-publics” where they too came together in order to develop identities, interests, and needs in opposition to that of the public sphere. In other words, there existed distinct, and often separate spheres, comprising new publics, defined by the kinds of communities which occupied such spaces. Michael Hardt and Antonia Negri, 5drawing on Michel Foucault's writings on biopolitics and cultural theory took this debate further by suggesting that we reconsider the very distinction between public and private spheres. They argue that the traditional distinction is founded upon a capitalist account of property that presupposes a clear-cut separation between class interests. The liberal account of property is based upon a scarcity economy. The scarcity economy in turn is characterized by an impossibility of sharing goods. Thus if person A eats the apple, person B cannot have it. The interests of private persons are thus distinguished by rivalry or competition over scarce resources. However with the evolving shift in the economy towards an “informational materiality”, in which value is based not simply on its material value, but rather upon its “informational significance” – the symbolic narratives and stories surrounding, goods, products and services (think of advertising and intellectual property) – this clear-cut subjective separation is no longer so obvious. This has lead to the prevalence of the term “non-rivalrous resource” to describe value in terms of new media, i.e. a resource over which there is no need for competition or rivalry describing the relative ease with which information may be duplicated, distributed and shared using new technology. A good is non-rivalrous when your consumption of it does not prevent someone else from consuming it. As a subversive video campaign for the Creative Commons states: “If my car is duplicated and you steal it, what has been stolen?” Copying an object in the world of information does not deprive another person of property and is only considered theft in terms of copyright and patent law, both of which are under attack by activists world-wide, since it is only the elites who are able to enforce copyright and patents. In South Africa, for instance, media houses own copyright over any material submitted for publication. The default on copyright is thus skewed towards those who already have power while those without power who wish to exercise their rights face an uphill battle. Hardt and Negri see the open source community which has developed around the Internet, and which produces software like Ubuntu Linux, which may be freely shared and copied, as examples of new ways of co-operation that illustrate how economic value is no longer founded upon exclusive possession, but rather upon “collective potentialities.” The emergence of copyleft licensing like the Creative Commons and the General Public License (GPL) produced by the Free Software Foundation are other examples. Informational materiality is thus characterized by gaining value only through its being shared, in distributing and enjoying what is common. Hardt and Negri thus suggest that the entire media commons, represented by such innovation as the Internet, should become the focal point of any analysis of public relations. The point being that it has now become possible to analyse how the very distinctions between private and public are evolving and to develop a new analysis of society based upon post-scarcity and non-rivalry, a world in which media (and in ever-increasing ways, the commodities which they represent) are no longer a scarce resource based upon competition, but are readily, and instantaneously available, to producers as well as consumers in a radical new cooperative way. In fact the growing awareness is that consumers have become the producers of information, as the distinction between public and private property collapses, resulting in a general collapse of the capitalist mode of production. The closed and proprietary media business models of the past have thus given way to open models that facilitate transactions in which consumers create, compile, edit, share and distribute content, leading to the strange idea of a “prosumer”, a person who is both a producer and a consumer. This in turn has cast doubt on the ability of media to sell information. “If anything, the conclusion [of this debate] seems to be that journalism must reengage with their audience as fellow citizens rather than potential customers. The emergence of a participatory journalism also stresses the symbiotic nature of the evolving relationships between mainstream and ‘grassroots’ news media.
Copyright vs Copyleft One of the problems faced by the alternative media and all those who value freedom and access to knowledge is the issue of copyright. Every year there are renewed attempts to lengthen the period in which copyright resides in a work. Copyright is basically the control exercised by an author or creator over copies of his or her work. (See Chapter 8 for a more detailed examination of Copyright). This is all good and well, however Disney and large corporations are campaigning for the extension of copyright law into every facet of life. The time period governed by copyright now exceeds the average lifespan of an author and makes it increasingly difficult for small publishers, in particular documenters, videographers and archivists, whose work is also dependent upon the public domain, to conduct research. The public domain consists of all work whose copyright has either lapsed or where copyright has been expressly given over for the public good. Lengthening the period in which copyright subsists in a work acts to prevent the creation of new and derivative works. A derivative work is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization. Every year the time period is lengthened by Congress as US laws make their way into the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which then forces compliance by other treaty states like South Africa. The Access to Knowledge (A2K) movement is one of many groups campaigning for open access to scientific journals and a less strict interpretation of intellectual property law, since research and intellectual inquiry is effectively dependent upon open access to knowledge by researchers. Other problems arise from copyright vested in computer programmes and moving images – all forms of content which give rise to derivative works. The response by activists has been to propose new forms of permissive licensing which allow for duplication and sharing. During the struggle against apartheid, many periodicals were released under the so-called copyleft license, which allowed activists to copy texts without fear of prosecution. Copyleft is essentially a license to copy, since the default is copyright, which is a form of restraint on copying. In recent years, the informal copyleft license has been formalised by groups such as the Creative Commons who now define the “spectrum of possibilities between full copyright and the public domain”. Modeled on the GNU Public License issued by the Free Software Foundation, Creative Commons helps producers to keep copyright while allowing certain uses of their work. The Creative Commons website explains: “Too often the debate over creative control tends to the extremes. At one pole is a vision of total control a world in which every last use of a work is regulated and in which “all rights reserved” (and then some) is the norm. At the other end is a vision of ‘anarchy’ a world in which creators enjoy a wide range of freedom but are left vulnerable to exploitation. Balance, compromise, and moderation once the driving forces of a copyright system that valued innovation and protection equally have become endangered species.”8 Creative Commons sees itself as working on behalf of the public to revive these values, using private rights to create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, the Creative Commons believes its ends are “cooperative and community-minded, but our means are voluntary and libertarian”. Creative Commons thus works to offer creators a “best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them to declare “some rights reserved.”
Campaigning for reforms of local copyright legislation and against the WIPO regime which favours large commercial publishers instead of small concerns – by getting work released under more permissive licensing conditions – are all part and parcel of the long term work that needs to be done to realise the broader media commons.
Media Commons The Media Commons represents the collective wealth of media on planet Earth. Libraries were once the only places in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, prints, records, and tapes, were kept for reading, reference, or lending. The media commons – all works available in the public domain and accessible via the Internet – now accomplishes pretty much the same thing. Each day more than a trillion images, texts and videos are uploaded and circulated over the Internet and are available to everyone with a broadband connection. Wikimedia Commons, a site founded by Jimmy Wales for example sees itself as a media file repository “making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language.” It acts as a common repository for the various projects, created and maintained not by paid archivists, but by volunteers. Since the freedom struggle occurred in an age before the advances of the Internet, a knowledge vacuum exists which in turns creates a problem for researchers, documentors and archivists wanting to access history. Large swathes of South African historical material have not been digitised and are unavailable online. Since the Internet has developed unevenly, in some places resources are 15 years ahead of South Africa, the invariable impression given to the next generation is that the struggle press never existed. Most local media assets for instance, were only put online post year 2000. Our nation's media commons has yet to fully develop, to be completely digitised and made accessible to the whole nation and the rest of the world. It is our duty as media activists to campaign for greater resources, so that the collective knowledge of the African continent is preserved for those who will come after us A good example of the media commons in use, is the Internet Archive, a non-profit organisation “building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.” Like a paper library, the site provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia which anyone can edit, funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, has created a generation of activists who see their goals as correcting the imbalance of knowledge created by centuries of colonialism. Future generations will benefit from the enormous resources being created today, most of which will only become accessible to everybody once the egalitarian influence of the Internet and the new technology is realised.
Chapter 5 Case Examples
Media Activist, David Robert Lewis, pictured at Community House, Salt River, Cape Town
Caset/Bush Radio During the freedom struggle, the Cassette Education Trust (CASET) used technology subversively by producing and distributing compact cassette tapes containing speeches from banned activists, as well as local music and revolutionary poetry. CASET emerged at the height of increased internal resistance and the defiance campaign against apartheid. These tapes represented a technologically subversive and innovative means of distributing information which would otherwise have been censored or stifled by a culture of self-censorship and overt government intervention. The cassettes were distributed via an underground network of individuals who passed them around. In turn the tapes were freely copied allowing for greater reach of the medium than would normally be the case. Librarian and United Democratic Front (UDF) member, Vincent Kolbe, for instance kept a duffel bag under the counter of the Bonteheuwal township library in Cape Town, filled with cassettes and pamphlets advertising political meetings, strikes or protests. UDF activists would stop by the library to drop off or pick up the tapes for distribution from Kolbe’s under-counter bag. On the same day that SACP leader Chris Hani was assassinated, Bush Radio went on air with programmes that had previously been distributed only on cassette. The station was closed down by the authorities within a month but succeeded in defying attempts at censorship by operating underground. After the democratic election, a process of stakeholder conferences resulted in the official launch of South Africa's first community radio station under a special license. The Bush Radio/CASET experience is unique. Tanja Estella Bosch argues that Bush Radio is not so much an organization as it is an organism, held together by a complex set of interlinked structures, with the concept of community pulsating as its central life-force. A kind of “body without organs” Edric Gorfinkel, one of the late founders of Bush Radio spoke about his experience: “I had the idea basically of using audio cassette of a way to play radio, began to train people and I had a hunch that audio cassette could actually be quite a useful mechanism for organizing and education and that kind of stuff within the mass democratic movement. So I registered for an adult education course at UCT [the University of Cape Town], and I did the Talking Newspaper as my student project. It was repression days and as an academic project it wouldn’t necessarily attract the same kind of attention from the top people and so on.” "For me when you talk about freedom of speech, you also have to talk about freedom of access. People must be allowed to say what they think and what they believe. Only when people are free to speak, can they be held accountable for their actions." Gorfinkel says “Community radio is about a community broadcasting to itself and that has got to do with the community gets access to a radio — through the telephone, through direct participation in producing programmes, through listenership and feeding back on the listenership.” The lesson of Bush Radio is its success and birth out of an inexpensive and readily available technology, compact cassette technology which is much like the lowly MP3 of today.
Grassroots Grassroots was started in 1980, the first of a series of anti-apartheid community newspapers, with a circulation that grew up to 20 000, distributed mostly in the Western Cape. The paper struggled financially, but was helped by donations and advertising sold to small Cape Town traders. Inspiration was derived from experiments with popular mobilisation in Latin America. Grassroots staff members were known as “organisers” – “news organiser” rather than “journalist” was the job title for the person in charge of news gathering and editing.
The newspapers strategy according to researcher Ineke Kessel, was summed up in the acronym POEM – Popularise, Organise, Educate and Mobilise. In order to avoid falling within the legal definition of a newspaper, which would have necessitated registration with the authorities, Grassroots had a five weekly publishing cycle instead of being a monthly. In almost every issue, a bold headline exposing a scandalous deed by the government or celebrating heroic victories by the people was featured under its bright red masthead. On the inside pages, Grassroots offered advice on pensions, divorce, unemployment benefits and child care, while celebrating the Freedom Charter and detailing the everyday struggles of ordinary people. Prominent themes were housing and rent struggle, labour issues and the cost of living. Community issues were the lifeblood of the newspaper, but addressing community issues was not an end in itself. Grassroots strategists initially went for low-threshold campaigns, on the assumption that it is easier to involve people on local issues that carry a low risk and a high chance of success than to plunge them into “high politics”. A demand for more washing lines in the courtyard was non-confrontational and could attract support from women who would normally stay aloof from politics. Once the battle had been won, Grassroots would introduce the message that people can improve their own situation through organisational efforts. Building confidence in the benefits of collective action was important to counter a history of disempowerment. As an organising tool, Kessels observes, “Grassroots set itself the long-term goal of engaging local organisations in the struggle against the South African state. Bread and butter issues were a means to an end, stepping stones in a process of mobilisation against racial and class oppression. The Grassroots staff did not perceive themselves primarily as journalists. Notions like objectivity and separation of news and comment belonged to the realm of the “bourgeois” liberal press, which served the interests of the ruling class. Grassroots organisers were media workers with an unashamedly propaganda mission. While the commercial press presumably anesthetized its readership with “sex, sin, and soccer” the community media sort to conscientise their readers and to encourage them to promote change through collective action.” Eight months after Grassroots began, its first organiser, Johnny Issel, was banned. Its offices in Athlone were routinely raided by the special branch. The paper suffered many bannings and seizures of equipment and material, but resisted the apartheid government and managed to survive until publication ceased in 1992, a victim of the CODESA negotiations which ushered in a new era leading up to the democratic elections. Grassroots' legacy is in its inspiration for community media today. Many people who received their grounding in the alternative press at newspapers like Grassroots now hold important public and media positions. They include a Cabinet minister, MPs, editors of mainstream newspapers like the Cape Argus, Cape Times, the Saturday Star and positions in broadcasting.
Sangonet From two floppy disks smuggled into South Africa in the late 1980s, to an NGO which continues to play a major role in responding to the Information Technology (IT) requirements of the NGO sector in South Africa, this is the unique story of SANGONeT. In the late 1980s, not long after Bill Gates had moved from his garage into a boardroom, a quiet IT revolution was taking place in Africa. Organisations and individuals, working on the front lines of human rights and development efforts, were beginning to make use of computers, modems and telephone lines to exchange information. Arriving back in South Africa from Sussex, Alan Finlay says with “two floppy disks, 64kb of memory and an external modem” was, “a leap in the dark”. “No-one knew how it would turn out. It was the future responding to the surrounding environment.
WorkNet brought together what Taffy Adler describes as a “motley crew of union, civic and church activists” and some “progressive computer boffins What this motley crew shared was an interest in harnessing the potential of the new communications technologies for change. Hooking up anti-apartheid organisations and NGOs to basic email services and newsgroups gave these organisations an edge against the authorities who had yet to embrace information technology. Simone Shall, WorkNet’s first manager, describes his experience getting unions connected.“We were training the unions on PCs, and wrote a small package for them to manage their memberships,” Shall recalls. WorkNet attracted the attention of techie activists working elsewhere in Africa, and overseas, as a global network emerged, linking non-profit organisations around issues such as environment, women's rights, and development. GreenNet, a non-profit Internet Service Provider (ISP) become an important ally for WorkNet. With support from a sister NGO called Poptel (Popular Telematics), an international gateway was set up to WorkNet that would connect it to NGOs across the globe. The initial set-up at WorkNet was rudimentary; nothing one would associate with today’s modern service providers. The WorkNet international link was automated for example, using a simple DOS-based ‘store-and-forward’ email system called Fidonet. The server would dial-up to the GreenNet/Poptel server in the United Kingdom twice a day to download any text mails which were forwarded back and forth from node to node, in a system which predated the World Wide Web. ‘WorkNet originally used some home-brewed scripts to act as a standalone bulletin board system (BBS). Then it migrated to a commercial BBS product called MajorBBS, an early open source programme, Subsequently WorkNet then upgraded to a Sun Sparc station running SunOS, before moving to outsource its network to a commercial provider in the US.’ Although the Worknet service was eventually forced to close as a result of the introduction of commercial competition from services providers such as MWEB and iAfrica, both of whom were able to provider better connectivity, at cheaper rates, SANGOnet continues to support NGOs and is in the forefront of introducing Information Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives in response to civil society requirements and national development priorities. Lessons which may be learnt from SANGOnet and in particular Worknet, is the way technology may provide activists with an edge, often in periods of conflict, however this edge is only available for a short time, since new technology constantly replaces the old thus levelling the playing field. Often the experience is one of cat and mouse, with each new technological development implemented by activists being countered by big business and capitalism, think of the way pirates use peer-to-peer (P2P) software to download illegal files, in turn service providers invent new technology to counter these threats.
RaakWys One of many underground media collectives, RaakWys (Afrikaans slang, translated literally as Become Wise) is an example of guerrilla media, deploying the medium of graffiti, photography and graphic art to put across an often subversive message that also exists as a novel form of social commentary. The graffiti appearing on walls of Cape Town's inner City may have a cultural subtext associated with fashion and hop hop, but the message is overtly political. Raakwys has been active since at least 2008 and has engaged in protest action against the definition of ‘graffiti’ under City by-laws, which it believes are far too broad. The City classifies ‘graffiti’ as “any inscription, word, figure, letter, sign, symbol, sketch, picture or drawing.” Raakwys
has voiced its opinion, that “there should be a clear differentiation between ‘graffiti vandalism’ (e.g. gang tags, scratchings) and public art that is done with permission from the owner (murals, colourful characters and positive, inspiring messages).” The by-law removes the legal right of a property owner to paint anything other than a house number on his/her wall. Raakwys “strongly believes that property owners should maintain the right to determine what to paint on his/her property without having to seek permission from the City.” Public art forms such as graffiti are an integral part of our social fabric and have a particularly significant place in the history of our struggle for a democratic and free nation. There are still some vibracrete walls in Cape Town painted with Free Mandela slogans. Graffiti is an accessible medium, which allows for social commentary and creative expression for people from all walks of life. Raakwys has thus gone against the grain by advocating that the City should instead utilize and embrace graffiti as public art. Graffiti also reminds us that conversation has limitless forms. We may not always understand them. And we may not always agree with them. But if graffiti happens to be the language your audience uses to communicate, your organization had better buy a few cans of spray paint. Graffiti art is generally anonymous – because in most places it’s illegal. But for one reason or another, artists such as Raakwys feel they have no other place to express themselves. Some graffiti artists emphasise the way their medium is really a form of cultural appropriation in which popular images are borrowed from other artists, and then sprayed or stenciled onto walls. Other media sectors, in particular advertising, have reappropriated these urban images, presenting graffiti's tropes and phrases in a circular way, a constantly shifting visual language, one with which we are all familiar. So who is really ripping who? The lesson to be learnt from groups such as Raakwys, is that media is about doing what is appropriate and costeffective. If you don’t have funds to publish on paper, then publish on a wall. If you're interested in the work of Raakwys, you may also be interested in Faith47 and Banksy, both of whom are acclaimed graffiti artists.
Chapter 6 Media Production
Introduction "Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it." E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful
A wide variety of free publishing and broadcasting tools exist. The challenge for media activists, is to find ways to distribute these tools, deploying them amongst communities affected by poverty and inequality. Whereas media production was once the preserve of a few, well-heeled publishers, there has been a paradigm shift towards freedom. The emergence of free culture, “free as in freedom and free as in beer”, is evidence of this. These are convenient terms used in the free software and open source communities as well as the broader free culture movement, in order to categorize tools according to the licenses and legal restrictions that cover them. For example, compare freeware (gratis software which is available without charge) and free software (libre software which is available for anybody to modify or edit) with proprietary software (software which cannot be changed or altered, and which is usually sold for money under license). Each technological innovation has brought with it increasing access to the means of production. Consider the way Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type and hence printing, freed the book from the grip of the Church which had previously exerted its control over knowledge. The resulting collapse of the feudal system, brought about by the production of literature for the masses, opened up a huge amount of innovation within society. The advent of desktop publishing (DTP) has had a similar effect in broadening democracy during the twentieth century. It may be argued that without access to DTP the anti-apartheid movement would have been powerless in its quest for the production of media. The subsequent development of web-publishing and user-generated content systems which rely upon the Internet has removed the last vestiges of corporate power and presents clear challenges to global elites, however there exist a number of difficulties in terms of the development goals related to local Internet access. Strategies engaged in by corporates to date in South Africa have tended to stall the logical outcome of broadbased media by offering up quick-fix solutions which merely lock consumers into relationships of dependency upon capital.
Communication Strategies Communication does not just happen. It must be organized, developed, and built. The first step in the process is to define a communications strategy. A good communications strategy allows you to exercise better control over your work and to frame the issues in a perspective other than research. “A communications strategy removes doubt, emphasizes planning, and involves all the project participants in raising the visibility of the research”. Defining the communications strategy is a task that is best carried out as a group or collective. In addition to pooling expertise, a group approach has the advantage of building on interactions between participants. Even a small-scale communications strategy will facilitate your organisation’s work. After all, a small-scale plan is better than no plan at all and you may be able to develop and perfect it as you go along. The following are some example steps in developing a communications strategy: Choosing your Audience The mantra, “I am not a target market” may be one of the rallying cries of our generation, but knowing who your audience is, is a crucial step, since this targeting makes your messages more effective. Who are you writing for? Try to answer this question. If your audience are poor, backyard dwellers without electricity, then producing a one hour online video programme that needs a dedicated Internet connection and a R3000 computer to access, will not only be a waste of time, but it will be a disincentive to your intended audience who will not be able to access your hard work.
Find out as much as you can about your audience and then speak to them as you would a friend. Avoid talking down to your audience or underestimating their capacity to absorb information with which they might not be familiar, at first. Choosing your Medium A medium is practically anything which can be used to transmit or communicate information. Multimedia may be the order of the day, but it is important to know your medium. Which medium should you use? Choose wisely, as Marshall Mcluhan says, the “medium is the message” in other words, how you tell a story is as important as the story itself. Video production is relatively expensive compared to simple photocopy publishing. Audio is a lot more accessible than either. Each medium has its limitations. Try to curb the tendency to resort to the quick-fix of high technology, such as exclusively providing content on the Internet. If you audience does not have Internet access, you will simply be feeding the digital divide.
Choosing a Structure The structure of your organisation will determine its outcome. A collective, or a hierarchy? Decide what is important to you. Experiment. If you are an organisation which preaches against patriarchy setting up a vertical structure may be counter productive, likewise, failing to describe roles can result in lack of accountability or no sense of duty and ownership of day-to-day problems. The important thing is to strike a balance, between ideological concerns and the necessity of getting the job done. Avoid turning into a bureaucracy of paid officials who add little value to your organisation, or simply reproducing the kind of dominant structure you are opposing. Be creative, if a particular system does not work for others then it is unlikely to work for you, even though there may be many brochures out there advocating a particular way of doing things. Creating a Budget Without budgeting you will not be able to plan your expenses or know where you income is coming from. This doesn't have to be a big chore. Set a realistic goal for a project and then figure out how much it is going to cost you to get there. Find ways of cutting corners and fund-raise based upon your project’s expected outcome and benefit to society. You don't need large donors, a cake sale or fundraising party will also do. A budget must be realistic and appropriate to your needs. Often a lot of the problems in small organisations stem from over-inflated aspirations. If changing the whole world is your goal, rather think global but act local. This means working in your community with others like you, according to your means. Factor in your sweat equity, i.e. your time and labour, the kind of things you normally take for granted, such as using your neighbours fax machine. This is likely to produce a strange balance sheet, but it is the reality of your organisation, as opposed to the false picture painted on our television screens – those many unrealistic fables about reality created by advertising executives and accountants, often merely in order to rollover funding with very little results produced for the money invested.
Developing your Message If your organisation was a guest at a dinner table, what kind of guest would he or she be? Answering this question may help you to arrive at the essence of your message. What is the one phrase which encapsulates what you stand for? Repeat this phrase often and in creative ways. This is how advertising firms come up with their own tactical media and marketing propaganda, you don't need to resort to ideology to come up with something that is instantaneously understandable to ordinary people, the so-called masses. If neo-liberals can bottle Coca Cola, surely NGOs can bottle feminism, or non-racism?
Media Skills Writing and Reporting Think about the audience you are writing for. Perhaps you are writing primarily for an audience of world-interested, politically and economically aware general readers? Readers may not be specialists, so don’t assume too much. Ask yourself: Does the story say what it’s meant to say? Is it clear and unambiguous? Make sure the story answers the “so what” question. Does it spell out the significance of the information being presented and does it include the context? If it’s an environmental story, does it concentrate on people or the planet or both? If a general interest story, is the human element highlighted? Ensure the story is balanced, fair and also neutral; watch for phrases that might suggest you are taking sides (e.g. “fears” or “hopes”). If you are writing something which is openly polemical i.e. biased towards a particular view, then be sure to point this out to your readers. Be careful with words like “claimed” and phrases such as “according to” which suggest you doubt what is being said. Make sure sourcing is clear and precise. Keep it simple. Use clear, simple language. Reuters recommends using verbs in the active voice rather than the passive (the bomb “killed” 10 people rather than “left 10 people dead”). Omit needless words (e.g. “21 ‘different’ countries”); “that” can often be dropped (e.g. “He said ‘that’…”). Use short words instead of long (e.g. “about” instead of “approximately”). Generally, it’s better to add detail, using nouns and verbs, rather than to over-do the adjectives. 1
Interviewing Skills The easiest way to pick up interviewing skills is to interview somebody you already know, a colleague for example. Think up some questions you would like answered. Write these down and keep a list handy. Often upon answering a question, an interviewee will provide you with the material necessary to ask the next question. Follow these to their logical conclusion. If the conversation stalls, you can always turn to your list. An important thing to remember is to allow the person you are interviewing the opportunity to put his or her point of view across. An interview is not a good time to put your point of view across, however this is not a hard and fast rule, since often a discussion can emerge which is informative. Practice until you feel confident enough to interview other people in your community. You'll find they are filled with lots of information and the simple task of interviewing is a great learning experience.
Research Research is increasing your knowledge and the knowledge of others. Before you embark on a project it is important to do some research so that you are familiar with the topic. Start by making a reading list and a list of subjects and subtopics. Before the Internet came along, the only way to access reading material was to visit a library. Now Google serves as the starting point for modern research projects since the Internet provides access to libraries and websites around the world. If you don’t have Internet access, a public library will also do. However this does not replace the job of going into the field in order to generate new information, knowledge that would not otherwise be available if you had simply scanned the reading material. You can make a contribution to the media commons and knowledge in general by uploading your raw data or distributing it so that others may benefit.
Producing Graphics You can produce your own images using free programmes like Gimp and Inkscape, both of which are open source. A
good method is to start out with ink and paper, or even a koki. Scan in your drawing and then add colour and other elements with your drawing programme. This avoids the problem of your image looking too artificial or “computerlike”. Using a digital camera to take pictures is another convenient way to produce images. Most mobile phones have cameras these days and you can use these if you don’t have a real camera. There are a wide variety of royalty-free stock images available at www.openclipart.org which may be used for gratis, i.e. free of charge, Always look at the license to see whether or not you have permission to use a graphic. Since graphic artists earn their living producing such works, it is not considered good form to merely appropriate something without giving credit or seeking permission. Others will however disagree with this approach (see: Remix culture).
Reproduction The photocopy machine is your friend. The important thing to remember – it is better to reproduce a low-quality publication or pamphlet than nothing at all. As your organisation develops, the combination of computer printer and photocopier can be exchanged by the full digital litho process. Digital printing methods have progressed to the point where you no longer need actual lithographic plates and printing straight from a memory stick to a professional printer is now possible. You can also print straight to PDF and other ebook formats such as .mobi and epub which are used with readers like Amazon Kindle and Calibre. Both the Kindle and Calibre software are available as free applications which you can download and install on your own computer. As more people use ebook readers this type of format will become more prevalent in South Africa as a means of distributing media.
Distribution and Promotion Distribution is the one area where many community organisations often fail. The story of the NGO which spent thousands of rands printing a newsletter only to leave it piled up in a cupboard are legend. Although many outlets are controlled by distribution agencies, you'll find that simply asking to speak to the manager of an outlet will give you an idea of whether or not they wish to stock you periodical or publication. Try the corner cafe, some have newsstands which could do with an extra publication or two and if you put a cover price on it, this will help to pay for the cost of distribution. Try giving youngsters an opportunity to make a few rand. Some of the most noteworthy publications have been distributed by hand by people making pocket money. Digital distribution over the Internet also has its advantages if it is combined with a campaign to inform your audience, who will not necessarily know how to access or link to your work. Find a way to tell them, without sounding like a geek. You can also distribute ebooks, jpeg images, mp3s, ogg files and pdf documents by burning them to CD or DVD. Another method is to create a torrent file which allows the work to be easily downloaded using the popular bitorrent peer-to-peer software. Print on demand is another popular way of reaching a wider audience. Sites like Lulu.com allow users to set up distribution channels so that you only pay for the service when there is demand for your product. This cuts down the overhead and capital outlay needed to enter into the market economy.
Digital Media The following is a list of useful terms and activities associated with digital media.
Anonymity The recent Outoilet scandal and storm over the blocking of the Wikileaks website, has brought home the necessity of anonymity. Anonymity typically refers to the state of an individuals personal identity. Internet service providers are beginning to track the behaviour of users, not simple because of pornography but because some sites represent threats to the New World Order.There exist a variety of ways to remain anonymous on the Internet. From encryption using
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) software which converts data into a form which can only be understood by the person with the key, to special sites which strip identifiers like your address details from web-browsing, allowing anonymous access. If you need robust anonymity, then use the Tor onion-routing network or I2P anonymous network. Some bulletin boards and image boards like 4chan, 7chan and 711chan allow anonymous posting. Users do not have to register since “the conversation is more important than your identity.” Another way to circumvent government and corporate control over the Internet is to simply change to a free Domain Name Server (DNS) using an openNic which allows for the creation of domains outside of national and government controlled top-level-domains such as .com or .net. GPG is an open source version of Pretty Good Privacy available from http://www.gnupg.org/
Blogging Blogging is a relatively recent phenomena. The word stands for ’web log’ and is basically an online journal or diary. However blogs are not restricted in subject material and may comprise any number of topics, from blogging about yourself to blogging about your campaigns and issues. Anyone can set one up and the beauty of blogging is that you don't need to understand HTML code in order to publish. Many sites offer free blogging services. Some of the more popular are Wordpress, LiveJournal and Blogger. The advent of Real Simple Syndication (RSS) has meant that blog feeds are accessible anywhere as news-feeds where they may compete with established feeds from the Reuters news agency. http://wordpress.com
Desktop Publishing Desktop publishing began in 1985 with the introduction of PageMaker software from Aldus and the LaserWriter printer from Apple Computer. The ability to create What You See is What you Get (WYSIWYG) page layouts on screen and then to print pages at crisp 300 dpi resolution was revolutionary for both the typesetting industry as well as the personal computer industry. Although professional DTP packages may cost in the thousands, free software such as the popular open source programme known as Scribus may be downloaded, shared and used by anyone. There are literally hundreds of free typefaces and graphics programmes to chose from such as Gimp, a popular photo-tool which emulates the popular but proprietary Adobe Photoshop. Inkscape is another good free replacement for the not so free, Freehand. http://www.scribus.net/
Off line Internet There exist a number of methods of gaining access to information with little or no Internet. Tools such as HTTrack are able to copy entire websites, which may then be viewed offline and distributed via CD or Flashstick. Two sites called html-pdf-converter.com and pdfmyurl.com provide a convenient way to copy information that would normally only be available in html format to the popular Portable Document Format (PDF) which can then be viewed using a free PDF reader like Foxit. Otherwise you can print-to-pdf using a free PDF browser plugin. Applications such as Zimbra Desktop will allow you to keep local copies of your mail from popular sites such as gmail and yahoo. Then, when you do have Internet access, the programme automatically updates itself. PortableApps.com has a list of applications which can be run from a simple flash memory stick, which anyone can use at an Internet Cafe or public Internet access point. http://www.httrack.com
Radio and Podcasts A podcast is simply an old-fashioned radio show on an mp3 (or the open source alternative ogg format), instead of being broadcast via radio waves it is podcasted via the Internet. The mp3 files are then downloaded either to a desktop computer, a mobile phone or mp3player. Podcasting has opened the door to hundreds of non-commercial audio streams and radio shows. While bandwidth for terrestrial radio stations is considered a scarce resource (with the result that it is usually highly regulated, often only in the interests of commercial operators,) there exist no such limitations on the Internet. Many activists argue that the regulatory model which governs traditional radio and television formats does not apply to the new format of the Internet and is unnecessary in the digital age. The openness and freedom of the Internet should rather be protected and imitated. Since regulators can only impose artificial barriers, attempts at regulation of technology are doomed to failure. The openness of the Internet instead presents a better model for emerging technologies, especially micro-broadcasting, where low-powered wifi and wireless access and small radio stations are able to co-exist without government interference, serving small communities and townships on a low budget. http://www.podcasting-tools.com/
Social Networking Social networking sites are platforms in which users network with each other by sharing status updates and information. The creation of this new form of media has opened the door to interesting possibilities, (although some would argue that insider media such as Facebook do more harm than good, compared to open platforms like Twitter and Identica). The popular Facebook has seen a surge in activism around good “causes” with activists mobilising effectively through this medium. Abused women in Lebanon have found that Facebook gives them a sense of identity. During the 2009 Iranian “Green Revolution” activists kept the world posted on events surrounding the election through networking site Twitter. Alternatives to these sites are Diaspora, and Plurk. http://identi.ca/
Video and Videocasts The revolution in video-on-demand services like Youtube and Zoopy has brought a plethora of user-generated flash video sites which provide anything from documentaries, educational inserts, tutorials, music videos and adult content. This is the result of the low cost of storage media. There is now literally unlimited space available to host content in the “cloud” and more and more people are uploading their home videos and remixing content to produce new content. The technology also allows users to cut-up and re-purpose video images resulting in innovative artworks and content adapted to local conditions. Other uses are as a collective memory bank. Sites such as Internet Archive host old and out-of-copyright works which would otherwise be lost to the public domain. http://zoopy.com
Webpublishing Whenever you open a web browser such as Firefox or Opera, the content you see is the result of Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). HTML is the basis for the World Wide Web and is the predominant markup language for web pages. A markup language is nothing more than a set of markup tags used to describe web pages so that a web browser may decode content and present it to you, the reader. HTML is a convenient building block of websites and allows images and other content to be embedded. A good place to start learning about HTML is to access the many free tutorials and
online guides which are available on the Internet. There are also many free web hosting sites such as Bravenet which have tools to construct webpages and options for hosting small sites without any charge. http://www.w3schools.com/html/
Chapter 7 Working with the Media
Practical steps at combating bias in the Media The following are some practical steps you can take to combat bias in the media. It is adapted from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) Media Activist Toolkit. Media have tremendous power in setting cultural guidelines and in shaping political discourse. It is essential that news media, along with other institutions, are challenged to be fair and accurate. The first step in challenging biased news coverage is documenting bias. Here are some questions to ask yourself about newspaper, TV and radio news. Who are the sources? Be aware of the political perspective of the sources used in a story. Media over-rely on "official" (government, corporate and establishment think tank) sources. For instance, FAIR found that in 40 months of Nightline programming, the most frequent guests were conservatives such as Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, and Jerry Falwell. Progressive and public interest voices were grossly underrepresented. Likewise SABC has its list of favoured experts. To portray issues fairly and accurately, media must broaden their spectrum of sources. Otherwise, they serve merely as megaphones for those in power Action: Count the number of corporate and government sources versus the number of progressive, public interest, female and minority voices. Demand mass media expand their rolodexes; better yet, give them lists of progressive and public interest experts in the community. Is there a lack of diversity? What is the race and gender diversity at the news outlet you watch compared to the communities it serves? How many producers, editors or decision-makers at news outlets are women, people of color or openly gay or lesbian? In order to fairly represent different communities, news outlets should have members of those communities in decision-making positions. How many of the experts these news outlets cite are women and people of color? FAIR's 40-month survey of Nightline found its U.S. guests to be 92 percent white and 89 percent male. A similar survey of PBS's NewsHour found its guestlist was 90 percent white and 87 percent male. In the South African context, minority groups often perceive problems in the representation of their interests, while more dominant groups also point to incongruences associated with the past. Action: Demand that the media you consume ref lect the diversity of the public they serve. Call or write media outlets every time you see an all-male or all-white panel of experts discussing issues that affect women and people of color. From whose point of view is the news reported? Political coverage often focuses on how issues affect politicians or corporate executives rather than those directly affected by the issue. For example, many stories on abortion emphasized the "tough choice" confronting male politicians while quoting no women under 18 â€“ those with the most at stake in the debate. Economics coverage usually looks at how events impact stockholders rather than workers or consumers. Action: Demand that those affected by the issue have a voice in coverage .
Are there double standards? Do media hold some people to one standard while using a different standard for other groups? Youth of color who commit crimes are referred to as "delinquents," whereas adult criminals who commit white-collar crimes are often portrayed as having been tragically led astray. Think tanks partly funded by unions are often identified as "laborbacked" while think tanks heavily funded by business interests are usually not identified as "corporate-backed." Action: Expose the double standard by coming up with a parallel example or citing similar stories that were covered differently.
Do stereotypes skew coverage? Does coverage of the drug crisis focus almost exclusively on working class people, despite the fact that the vast majority of drug users may come from privileged backgrounds? Does coverage of women on welfare focus overwhelmingly on black women, despite the fact that the majority of welfare recipients are not women? Are lesbians portrayed as "man-hating" and gay men portrayed as "sexual predators" (even though a child is 100 times more likely to be molested by a family member than by an unrelated gay adult)? Action: Educate journalists about misconceptions involved in stereotypes, and about how stereotypes characterize individuals unfairly.
What are the unchallenged assumptions? Often the most important message of a story is not explicitly stated. For instance, in coverage of women on welfare, the age at which a woman had her first child will often be reported the implication being that the woman's sexual "promiscuity," rather than institutional economic factors, are responsible for her plight. Coverage of rape trials will often focus on a woman's sexual history as though it calls her credibility into question. During the rape trail, of a prominent South African politician, a local newspaper article dredged up a host of irrelevant personal details about his accuser, including the facts that she had skipped classes in the 9th grade, had received several speeding tickets and –when on a date – had talked to other men. Action: Challenge the assumption directly. Often bringing assumptions to the surface will demonstrate their absurdity. Most reporters, for example, will not say directly that a woman deserved to be raped because of what she was wearing.
Is the language loaded? When media adopt loaded terminology, they help shape public opinion. For instance, media often use the right-wing buzzword "racial preference" to refer to affirmative action programs. Polls show that this decision makes a huge difference in how the issue is perceived: A 1992 Louis Harris poll, for example, found that 70 percent said they favored "affirmative action" while only 46 percent favored "racial preference programs." If a similar poll was conducted in South Africa, how would we perceive the difference between the use of the terms “affirmative action” and “black economic empowerment” by the media? Action: Demonstrate how the language chosen gives people an inaccurate impression of the issue, program or community.
Is there a lack of context? Coverage of so-called "reverse discrimination" usually fails to focus on any of the institutional factors which gives power to prejudice such as larger issues of economic inequality and institutional racism. Coverage of hate speech against gays and lesbians often fails to mention increases in gay-bashing and how the two might be related.
Action: Provide the context. Communicate to the journalist, or write a letter to the editor that includes the relevant information.
Do the headlines and stories match? Usually headlines are not written by the reporter. Since many people just skim headlines, misleading headlines have a significant impact. A classic case: In a New York Times article on the June 1988 U.S.-Soviet summit in Moscow, Margaret Thatcher was quoted as saying of Reagan, "Poor dear, there's nothing between his ears." The Times headline: "Thatcher Salute to the Reagan Years." Action: Call or write the newspaper and point out the contradiction.
Are stories on important issues featured prominently? Look at where stories appear. Newspaper articles on the most widely read pages (the front pages and the editorial pages) and lead stories on television and radio will have the greatest influence on public opinion. Action: When you see a story on government officials engaged in activities that violate the Constitution, hidden away on the inside pages, call the newspaper and object. Let the paper know how important you feel an issue is and demand that important stories get prominent coverage.
The Press Council The Press Council, comprising the Ombudsman and the Appeals Panel, is a local self-regulatory mechanism set up by commercial print media to â€œprovide impartial, expeditious and cost-effective adjudication to settle disputes between newspapers and magazines, on the one hand, and members of the public, on the other, over the editorial content of publications.â€? The mechanism is based on two pillars: a commitment to freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, and to excellence in journalistic practice and ethics. The Press Council is wholly responsible for the South African Press Code which guides journalists in their daily practice of gathering and distributing news and opinion and which also guides the Ombudsman and the Appeals Panel to reach decisions on complaints from the public. More than 640 publications, mainly members of Print Media South Africa, subscribe to the Code. Anyone may make a complaint in writing to the Press Ombudsman. There is a limited time period after publication in which complaints may be made and those submitting complaints are required to consent to forego any rights they may have in bringing an action in a court of law on the subject of the complaint. In recent years there have been a number of criticisms of the Press Ombudsman, in part due to the length of time it takes to draw up and submit a proper complaint and also due to the fact that complainees are not represented before the council and do not have any rights as such to respond to opposing testimony and argument as would normally be the case in an open court of law. The advent of an Appeals process is a recent innovation in response to such criticism. http://www.presscouncil.org.za/ Contact 2nd Floor7 St. Davids's Park, St Davids Place, Parktown 2193
Chapter 8 Know your rights
Constitutional Protections We are fortunate that our constitution protects our rights as media activists. South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to explicitly outline such rights as freedom of the press and the freedom to receive and impart information and ideas. How exactly we give effect to these rights is a constant battle, often fought in courtrooms and the hallways of power. Freedom of the Press Freedom of expression is a fundamental liberty guaranteed by section 16 of the Constitution and reads: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes (a) freedom of the press and other media; (b) freedom to receive or impart information or ideas; (c) freedom of artistic creativity; and (d) academic freedom and freedom of scientific research. According to the Freedom of Expression Institute, the Constitutional Court has acknowledged that freedom of expression protects and fosters a number of values, including the pursuit of truth, the functioning of democracy and individual self- fulfilment: â€˜Freedom of expression lies at the heart of a democracy. It is valuable for many reasons, including its instrumental function as a guarantor of democracy, its implicit recognition and protection of the moral agency of individuals in our society and its facilitation of the search for truth by individuals and society generally. The Constitution recognises that individuals in our society need to be able to hear, form and express opinions and views freely on a wide range of matters.â€™ 1
Right to Know The South African government has proposed legislation that would drastically curtail journalists right to access information held by the state. The secrecy legislation flies in the face of our constitution which guarantees openness and transparency. 32. Access to information Everyone has the right of access to : any information held by the state; and any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights. National legislation must be enacted to give effect to this right, and may provide for reasonable measures to alleviate the administrative and financial burden on the state. Sub-clause 32(2) has been given effect by the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) which sets up the manner in which access to information applications may be filed. You may file an application by filling out the correct forms. Recipients of the application are obliged to either provide the information or explain why they are unable to do so. The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) is concerned that the Protection of Information Bill - also known as the Secrecy Bill - currently before Parliament will fundamentally undermine hard-won constitutional rights including access to information and freedom of expression. Campaign link: http://www.right2know.org.za
Gatherings and Demonstrations Although our constitution enshrines the right of people to assemble, various bylaws and legislation exist which have tended to water down this right, effectively making it a privilege. Media activists need to point out the difference between a right and a privilege and to be constantly vigilant against attempts to resurrect draconian laws against freedom of assembly which were birthed under apartheid. Section 17 of the Constitution of our country says that "everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions”. And the Regulation of Gatherings Act says “every person has the right to assemble with other persons and to express his views on any matter freely in public and to enjoy the protection of the State while doing so”. According to the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXi), “anyone and everyone can protest, even if they are not a South African citizen. BUT, if there are 16 or more of you, then your protest is called a gathering, and there are special rules that you have to follow. FXi have produced a free booklet called “The Right to Protest, a handbook for protesters and police”, which you can download and which is incredibly helpful for anyone wanting to organise a demonstration. http://fxi.org.za/PDFs/Publications/RGAHandbook.pdf
Copyright and Fair Use The Copyright Act 98, 1978 governs Copyright Law in South Africa. Copyright is basically a way of protecting rights holders and limiting the way copies of work may be made. Copyright vests in the author of a work once the work is created in a material form.All work committed to paper for example, is governed by copyright and the work does not have to be registered for the law to be applied. Over the years, certain classes of copyright have been developed to describe works eligible for copyright protection. In general, any original work made is eligible for copyright protection. Originality refers to the fact that the author must have created the work through the application of the author's own creativity and labour. In addition, the work that is to enjoy copyright protection must have been reduced to a material form. In other words, mere ideas are not considered protectable by way of copyright. 2 The author must have written down or recorded the creation in a material form for copyright to come into existence. As technology has progressed, the types of works eligible for copyright have expanded to include Literary works (eg. novels, poems, textbooks, letters, reports, lectures, speeches) Musical works Artistic works (eg. paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs) Cinematograph films Sound recordings Broadcasts (electromagnetic transmissions intended for reception by the public)
Programme-carrying signals (a programme signal which passes through a satellite) Published editions of books (usually the first print of a literary or musical work) Computer programmes (instructions directing the operation of a computer) Fair use, (also known as Fair dealing in terms of the Act), is a limitation or exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work, which allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work. Fair use permits the user to copy, for his or her own study or research or private use, as much of the work as is necessary to meet his or her reasonable needs without seeking permission from the copyright owner or paying compensation. For many users this definition is insufficient. They ask the question: ‘How much may I copy under fair use?’ One cannot say how much, for what, is fair in each particular case will depend on the circumstances of that case. Contrary to widespread belief, our law does not specify that 5%, or 10% or 20% - or any percentage - is 'fair', and nor does it say that a single copy may be made as long as it does not constitute a ‘substantial amount'. If you were to copy a large portion of a book or journal, and were then charged, with copyright infringement, you would have to convince the court that your actions were fair, given your circumstances. Copyright authors agree that fair use is a question of fact and impression having regard to all the circumstances. In some circumstances the taking of too much of a work, or even the taking of small amounts of a work on a regular basis, would constitute negative fair use. So you need to be sure that you copy only as much as you really need. In Norway 15% of complete work or 30 pages, whichever is the lesser, is considered fair for private use. In Britain the Publishers' Association, the Writers' Guild and the Society of Authors accept, as within the bounds of fair dealing for research or private study, one copy of a maximum of one chapter in a book, or 5%, off a complete work. The British guidelines have no legal force, but might be of persuasive value as a defence in a South African court. While South African copyright law does not specify how much may be taken within the bounds of the doctrine of fair dealing, it is specific in that the doctrine applies only to what a person may make for his or her own use. Multiple copies thus fall firmly outside the bounds of fair dealing. The essence of fair use is encapsulated in the so-called 'golden rule' laid down by the copyright author Joseph McDonald: 'Take not from others to such an extent and in such a manner that you would be resentful if they so took from you.' Since the default in our law is towards protection of property rights in particular the rights of copyright holders, the law makes it extremely difficult for promoters of fair use to use the defence of “fair dealing”. Rather it is better to use work licensed under a copyleft licensing scheme which allows for the collective production and sharing of copies. The Creative Commons has produced several permissive licenses which cater tor a variety of uses not expressly outlined by the Copyright Act.
People's Communication Charter We, the Signatories of this Charter, recognize that:足 Communication is basic to the life of all individuals and their communities. All people are entitled to participate in communication, and in making decisions about communication within and between societies. The majority of the world's peoples lack minimal technological resources for survival and communication. Over half of them have not yet made a single telephone call. Commercialization of media and concentration of media ownership erode the public sphere and fail to provide for cultural and information needs, including the plurality of opinions and the diversity of cultural expressions and languages necessary for democracy. Massive and pervasive media violence polarizes societies, exacerbates conflict, and cultivates fear and mistrust, making people vulnerable and dependent. Stereotypical portrayals misrepresent all of us and stigmatize those who are the most vulnerable. Therefore, we ratify this Charter defining communication rights and responsibilities to be observed in democratic countries and in international law. Article 1. Respect All people are entitled to be treated with respect, according to the basic human rights standards of dignity, integrity, identity, and non-discrimination. Article 2. Freedom All people have the right of access to communication channels independent of governmental or commercial control. Article 3. Access In order to exercise their rights, people should have fair and equitable access to local and global resources and facilities for conventional and advanced channels of communication; to receive opinions, information and ideas in a language they normally use and understand; to receive a range of cultural products designed for a wide variety of tastes and interests; and to have easy access to facts about ownership of media and sources of information. Restrictions on access to information should be permissible only for good and compelling reason, as when prescribed by international human rights standards or necessary for the protection of a democratic society or the basic rights of others. Article 4. Independence The realization of people's right to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the development of self-reliant communication structures requires international assistance to the development of independent media; training programs for professional media workers; the establishment of independent, representative associations, syndicates or trade unions of journalists and associations of editors and publishers; and the adoption of international standards. Article 5. Literacy All people have the right to acquire information and skills necessary to participate fully in public deliberation and communication. This requires facility in reading, writing, and storytelling; critical media awareness; computer literacy; and education about the role of communication in society. Article 6. Protection of journalists Journalists must be accorded full protection of the law, including international humanitarian law , especially in areas of armed conflict. They must have safe, unrestricted access to sources of information, and must be able to seek remedy, when required, through an international body.
Article 7. Right of reply and redress All people have the right of reply and to demand penalties for damage from media misinformation. Individuals concerned should have an opportunity to correct, without undue delay, statements relating to them which they have a justified interest in having corrected. Such corrections should be given the same prominence as the original expression. States should impose penalties for proven damage, or require corrections, where a court of law has determined that an information provider has willfully disseminated inaccurate or misleading and damaging information, or has facilitated the dissemination of such information. Article 8. Cultural identity All people have the right to protect their cultural identity. This includes the respect for people's pursuit of their cultural development and the right to free expression in languages they understand. People' s right to the protection of their cultural space and heritage should not violate other human rights or provisions of this Charter. Article 9. Diversity of Languages All people have the right to a diversity of languages. This includes the right to express themselves and have access to information in their own language, the right to use their own languages in educational institutions funded by the state, and the right to have adequate provisions created for the use of minority languages where needed. Article 10. Participation in policy making All people have the right to participate in public decision-making about the provision of information; the development and utilization of knowledge; the preservation, protection and development of culture; the choice and application of communication technologies; and the structure and policies of media industries. Article 11. Children's Rights Children have the right to mass media products that are designed to meet their needs and interests and foster their healthy physical, mental and emotional development.. They should be protected from harmful media products and from commercial and other exploitation at home, in school and at places of play, work, or business. Nations should take steps to produce and distribute widely high quality cultural and entertainment materials created for children in their own languages. Article 12. Cyberspace All people have a right to universal access to and equitable use of cyberspace. Their rights to free and open communities in cyberspace, their freedom of electronic expression, and their freedom from electronic surveillance and intrusion, should be protected. Article 13. Privacy All people have the right to be protected from the publication of allegations irrelevant to the public interest, or of private photographs or other private communication without authorization, or of personal information given or received in confidence. Databases derived from personal or workplace communications or transactions should not be used for unauthorized commercial or general surveillance purposes. However, nations should take care that the protection of privacy does not unduly interfere with the freedom of expression or the administration of justice.
Glossary A2K â€“ the access to knowledge movement Discourse - communication of thought by words; talk; conversation, a manner of speaking or language Filter - a means of sorting or sifting information, between what is good or bad Regime - a ruling government or system of power Propaganda - the organized dissemination of information, to assist or damage a particular cause, often associated with half-truths, rumour and advertising Proprietary - belonging to a proprietor as in property Real Simple Syndication - An Internet protocol for â€œsyndicating contentâ€? from a blog or website to another site or newsreader. Hegemony - the dominant power or authority of the day Normative - what is considered normal or acceptable by society Open Source - computer term for code which is freely available, as opposed to closed Symbiotic - describing a natural means of cooperative organisation, as in biology
Bibliography Bacon, Jono, The Art of Community, 2009, O’Reilly Banda, Fackson Alternative media: a viable option for Southern Africa? Bohman, James; John Michael Roberts (2004), "Expanding dialogue: The Internet, the public sphere and prospects for transational democracy", in Nick Crossley (ed.), After Habermas: New Perspectives on the Public Sphere, Oxford Bosch, Tanja Estella , Radio, Community and Identity in South Africa, A Rhizomatic Study of Bush Radio in Cape Town dissertation College of Communication of Ohio University 2003 Calhoun, Craig, ed, 1993 Habermas and the Public Sphere, MIT press Delaney, Simon, The Media and the Law- A handbook for community journalists, Freedom of Expression Institute, 2007 Deuze, Mark, Towards Professional Participatory Storytelling: Mapping the Potential Manuscript for presentation at the MIT 4 conference of May 6-8, 2005 in Cambridge (MA), USA Finley, Alan, The SangoNet Story, 20 years of linking civil society through ICTs 2007 Freedom of Expression Institute, The right to protest: A handbook for protestors and police Hardt, Michael; Antonio Negri (2009), Commonwealth, Cambridge Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Herman, Edward S. and Chomsky, Noam, Manufacturing Consent, The political economy of the mass media, Pantheon Books, 1988 Media Activist Toolkit, Fairness Accuracy in Reporting, (FAIR) Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), Trends of Ownership and Control of Media in South Africa 2009 SAPA comminique, Alternative Press in WCape Fought Intimidation, Brutality Sandoval, Marisol, Fuchs, Christian , Towards a critical theory of alternative media, Telematics and Informatics 27 (2010) Smit & Van Wyk, Introduction to Copyright in South Africa, 2010 Stverak , Jason The pros and pros of citizen journalism, Online Journalism Review 2010 Switzer, Les, and Adhikari, Mohammed, South Africa's Resistance Press, Alternative Voices in the Last Generation Under Apartheid, Centre for International Studies, Ohio University Press, 2000 van Kessel, Ineke, Grassroots, From Washing Lines to Utopia, Switzer, Les, and Adhikari, Mohammed, South Africa's Resistance Press, Alternative Voices in the Last Generation Under Apartheid, Centre for International Studies, Ohio University Press, 2000 van der Pas, Hilde , Building Counter Hegemony - An analysis of the ‘left-turn’ in Latin America and its potential as a counter-hegemonic movement, Master Thesis Political Science, International Relations Universiteit van Amsterdam August 2010 Victor W. Pickar in Todd M. Schaefer and Thomas A. Birkland (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Media and Politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press
South African Media Activist Handbook