"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Media Conscience & What is Indymedia?

Opinion piece on Indymedia, media monitoring:

Media Conscience
because the corporate media doesn't have one

And, the political Editor from the Irish Examiner asks Indymedia what it is:

"I am the political editor of the Irish Examiner and I am doing a profile of indymedia for tomorrow's (Thurs) paper. I would be very obliged if you could contact me at either the above email address or at 087.2631920.
It's been actuated by your (excellent) contemperaneous coverage of the Dublin riots and also by adverse comments made by Michael McDowell on Prime Time last night.
I wish to find out about the thinking behind the website; its anti-establishmentarian status; policies in relation to accommodating different viewpoints (is there a filter that prevents views you cannot agree with or is it completely open?). Are their underlying philosophies/policies/viewpoin
ts that govern the content on the site and define the community you wish to use it?
What do you do to prevent comments that may be defamatory or that may incite?
I'm questioned out. That's the gist of what I want to ask.
If you want to reply by email, feel free. But try to keep the answers as concise as you can and also pls supply number for verification.

Harry Mcgee harrymcgee@eircom.net"

I attempted to explain what I thought Indymedia was:

Dear Harry,

I would like just to make clear before I begin that I cannot speak for the Indymedia collective, I can only give my opinion as a reader and a sporadic contributor.

It is difficult to know where to start, but I think it might be easier to understand Indymedia by understanding what it is not.

Indymedia is not a corporate media, it is not bound by essential revenue from advertising, nor the need to impress shareholders bank accounts. It is predominantly funded by the time and energy afforded to it by concerned citizens who strive, glibness aside, for truth in a swamp of media distortion.

The fact that Indymedia is not constrained by the factors I have mentioned means that stories and events that are ignored or mis-reported by the mainstream commercial news are not suppressed in the same way.

Therefore in relation to the present war in Iraq. The dominant media will more often than not, if at all, report that there have been over or around 35,000 Iraqis killed during the conflict. This figure is taken from independent media monitors Iraq Body Count. What would not be mentioned is that their work covers only the deaths reported by English language newspapers and therefore cannot reflect the true figure of Iraqi deaths. The peer reviewed scientific journal the Lancet reported 100,000 dead Iraqis in the first 18 months of invasion, this has been generally ignored by most mainstream news medias.

In 2005 reports of the use of banned weapons in the town of Fallujah emerged from well respected independent journalists. This information was suppressed in the mainstream, that is, until the US government admitted that it had in fact used these weapons.

Indymedia does not advertise cars, cheap flights, alcohol or anything else. Therefore it is free to recognise the consequences of unsustainable consumerism, whereas the corporate media is required to promote these characteristics in order to exist. They are essential components of the corporate media structure.

Indymedia recognises the work of the volunteer. Where mainstream reports generally assign precedence to government/state/corporate representatives as opposed to those that are known to be expert in the field or in the case of a protest, those that have given up their free time to make a political point. For example, in an article about a protest, more content is given to police paid to be there and to the government reaction, compared to the protesters. There are many many more examples.

Indymedia is open to anybody to contribute, but the site is read by thousands and therefore peer reviewed. If an article is published one can expect unsubstantiated assertions to be criticised. This is not the case with the corporate media. Where even the readers criticisms are heavily censored in the 'letters' page. The corporate media has no responsibility to the truth. Indymedia, though lowly funded, is dedicated to try and provide it. Is Indymedia 'anti-establishment'? That is for you to decide.

Again, I would like to say, this is my view. Others may see the collective differently.

Thank you for taking an interest.