Monday, June 13, 2005

New Media

This may be the best news I've heard in a long time:
On February 15, 2003, 15 million people around the world protested the illegal American invasion of Iraq. That impressive organizing effort convinced Jay and others that independent world television, supported by its viewers, was possible. They would use the Internet -- which allows millions of people to band together – to raise the money. Jay has brought on board key strategists from the Howard Dean presidential campaign who were astonishingly successful in raising millions of dollars in small amounts over the Internet.

The 98-member IWT advisory committee reads like a who’s who of progressive left activism and journalism, especially from the US. The list includes Lewis Lapham of Harper’s Magazine, Gore Vidal, Jeff Cohen, Laura Flanders and Janine Jackson from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, and Janeane Garofalo of Air America.

Among the 35 Canadians on the committee are familiar names like Patrick Watson, Bill Roberts of Vision TV, Naomi Klein, Avi Lewis, Stephen Lewis and filmmaker Alan King. From other countries the advisory board contains people like investigative journalist Greg Palast, anti-nuclear armaments activist Helen Calidicott, and former U.K. Labour Minister Tony Benn.

I'm particularly impressed to see Klein and the Lewises involved - all favourites of mine for obvious reasons.

The plans for now are relatively modest:
Sample programming consists of six hours of programs five days a week. These include one hour of citizen journalism from around the world, the evening news, an issue-focused debate show, a show in which journalists and experts analyze the day’s major stories, an investigative program, feature-length documentaries, a show on the global political economy, political satire, issues from the south, environmental issues and a show profiling how people have organized their campaigns.

Needless to say, the upside here is substantial: a brand-new news source to not only provide socially responsible coverage itself, but also to force corporate media to cover the issues worth covering.

Of course, there's a downside to any break from the norm. If it doesn't pan out, then that entrenches and reinforces the current media all the more.

For all the legitimate griping about the corporate-owned media, this is a real alternative in the making. Go. Read. Contribute. Enjoy.

EDIT: Welcome to all the Kossacks finding their way here. One comment for those hoping that a George Soros will fund the whole project - I have to agree with the network's own position on this one:
Money from business, advertisers and government will be prohibited.

To me that restricts large individual donations as well, and for substantially the same reason. This network shouldn't be beholden to George Soros any more than it is to corporate advertisers - better to let Soros provide seed money for think tanks, while this becomes a truly grassroots effort.

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