• Keys to a Robust IMC

last modified August 17, 2012 by strypey

This was published as a comment in response to Call out for Indymedia-istas

kia ora koutou

Ko te mea tuatahi, he mihi nui ki nga kaimahi o Te Komako Motuhake.

Firstly, greetings and respect to all those who are currently active as stewards of the Aotearoa Indymedia. At times it can be a gruelling and thankless job, so thank you for your time and energy. At other times it can be an exciting and challenging one, so hopefully the coming years have more of that to offer you.

For me there are two key ingredients to building a robust Independent Media Centre. The first is diversity. From the beginning, Indymedia was intended to be a forum for discussion and open debate among people from a wide range of groups who work against the state-corporate machinery in some way. This is why open-publishing is such a core principle - so that no one group could dominate the content of the site, thus reducing that diversity.

"Web 2.0" innovations like blog sites and social networking sites have mainstreamed the open-publishing principle. As Radical says, anyone can start a FaeceBook group. What Indymedia still offers is the potential to have robust debates including many points of view, all in one place. This requires ed volunteers to be seen to be disciplined about hiding only abusive or repetitive postings, not items they disagree with politically, and to be accountable to the community of users for what they hide. It also requires regular posters to be a moderating influence on the comments boards, lifting the tone of the debate with thoughtful postings, and links to examples and evidence, rather than calling people trolls and letting debate descend into name-calling.

Secondly, what takes place online is only the tip of the iceberg. Maintaining an open-publishing website is an important focus, and the work of researching and writing features needs to be done. But attracting and growing that diverse base of users also requires IMCistas to be visible in realspace, doing things like:
- actively network with as many activist and community groups as possible by attenting meetings, conferences, and events
- attend protests and actions of all kinds, on all sorts of issues, and encourage those present to post their thoughts, images etc on the site
- produce stickers, patches, posters, badges, t-shirts and other materials that combine the indymedia urls with messages about the purpose of the site

Finally, I'd like to suggest again two new slogans for Indymedia.'Become the media' was an appropriate slogan in the days before "Web 2.0", but this idea is now mainstream. People are drowning in a flood of online news, commentary, tweets and status updates, much of it passively consumed. To paraphrase one bearded patriarch; bloggers have described the world, the point is to change it. What we need now are ways to identiy and share information that is practically useful, information that can help us change the real world that media exist to describe. To this end I propose the slogan 'use the news'.

Following on from this, one of the essential differences between Indymedia and commercial news outlets is that where commercial media break communities into demographics and sell them to advertisers, Indymedia encourages a dialogue between people and communities that brings them together for mutual benefit. To sum this up; 'Interactive news for active communities'.

No reira, he mihi aroha ki nga tangata katoa o te ao, ka whakamau tonu te kaupapa o te whakapono, o te rangimarie.

Love to all the peoples of the world who are working to uphold the vision of global justice and peace.