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World Social Forum

April Howard (Bard BA, MFA) translating for Tereza Valdez

Many issues raised during the forum focus around media reform. A ubiquitous sentiment among the press is the power of the internet to democratize means of publication and allow a worldwide audience access. A worldwide audience that can afford access to the internet, that is. (One way around this would be Nicholas Negroponte's much talked about $100 laptop for the developing world. This product has always chafed me in a wierd way) After seeing a speech today by the man who runs the incredible http://www.el23.net/ I was reminded of the overwhelming power of a media that can broadcast the goings-on of a barrio in Caracas that had been ignored for all of recent history, and feed/create an audience that cares. The internet is so incredibly powerful, and should never be taken for granted, or for normal at that.

Today, Bard alumns Ben Dangl and April Howard moderated and translated a panel called "The Crisis in US and World Media and the Growing Movement for Media Democracy." THe panelists were Eva Golinger (whose FOIA request revealed the US involvement in the recent coup against Chavez), Michael Albert (Editor of Z Magazine and author of Parecon), Greg Wilpert (runs the blog www.venezuelanalysis.com, and broke the media silence during the coup), Ben Dupuy (Haitian free presser and wonderful speaker), and Thereza Valdez (runs community radio stations in Cuba). This was a wonderful panel that we will have a complete video recording of soon after returning to the states.

We interviewed Michael Albert after the panel in a brief but content-rich five minutes. He stressed the importance of thinking of media institutions in the same mindset as we would think of any labor institution. Lose the hierarchy, make sure there is no owner, and make sure that there is no discrimination, and you have a truly alternative media organization, car company, or any business you would like to form. He also stressed the importance of including the mainstream media in change, and not simply creating alternative alcoves that can serve only those involved or an interest group. It was nice to hear the editor of such a well regarded magazine be so critical of the nature of its success, and its failings as an institution for change.

posted by tim on Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blogger cecca said: i'm glad things are looking sounding more positive for you guys, and i look forward to the video...  

Blogger cecca said: also: you should find a way to enable anonymous comments