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This listserv will be used to facilitate communication among alternative media academics <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 9 Aug 2008 21:28:57 +0900
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Hi Ellie-

I heartily agree with your concern expressed in your article (
http://www.creative.org.au/webboard/results.chtml?filename_num=224226) and I
love your bold idea for a labeling scheme (some colleagues and I tried to
suggest something like this at WSIS but were promptly clubbered).

Here in Japan we could certainly use such a labeling scheme.
As you know, 'community broadcasting' here means 'local commercial'.
Ohmynews and big internet corporations market their services as 'alternative
citizens media'. Many organizations that are genuine NPOs don't have legal
NPO status, while others that are small business ventures or money
laundering operations have legal NPO status. And of course everyone asks- if
we have youtube, why would we need public access TV? In other words, we have
plenty of 'alternative/community/civic/democracy-wash'! (analogy to
'greenwash', 'hogwash' etc.)

As for how to do it? That is indeed a tricky question and to make a scheme
that will work globally, for all countries (differences in democratic
governance as Susan said), and for all media technologies (broadcast and
online, so why not include print) seems close to impossible... But why not
try anyway :)!

Some ideas based on things which Arne, Stefania, some other colleagues and I
have come up with while discussing our definition of 'civil society media'
(in the CSMPolicy Consortium http://homepage.mac.com/ellenycx/CSMPolicy/):

The evaluation would have to be some sort of a peer-review, based on
research on the ground, interviews, research by independent researchers from
abroad and the country in question--- lots of contextual knowledge necessary
here and mechanisms to guard against vendetta politics and control by

the label, rather than 'all or nothing' should indicate kind of percentage
or level, perhaps separated into different aspects... Perhaps something
closer to a 'nutritional content' label than a 'certified organic' label.

'measuring' the democratic value of different aspects of the organization:
message, organization/ownership, participation, goals and actual outcomes,
audiences, control over infrastructure used (DIY level) etc.
(tentative checklist see Article Hadl & Hintz in 'Making our media' book,
forthcoming from Hampton Press, and old version
http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/acd/cg/ss/sansharonshu/413j.htm )

different kinds of labels for different kinds of organizations/projects
 e.g. An organization that has a high level of 'alternative style and
content' but low audience participation would get a different label (e.g.
'alternative news/culture') than, say an organization that has a close
connection to the community (high 'participation'), but the content is
rather conventional (low 'content and style'). And then there are
organizations which provide alternative infrastructure but no content (which
Stefi and Arne recently labeled 'radical tech')....

Blacklist/list of 'fake civil society media'
Those which have high participation but ultimate goal is to make money
(youtube & co.) should get blacklisted as 'fakes'! (We started a project on
listing 'fake community media' some years ago, but didn;t have the resources
to continue...
Maybe have a kind of 'civic wash award' (like corporatewatch.org 'greewash
awards')? Which we present at every ourmedia conference... Together with a
'best practice award' of course ;)

Who or what can be certified? Only formal longstanding organizations? How
about smaller orgs and temporary networks? How about a project within an
otherwise commercial or governmental scheme? There may be a kind of
quick-certification scheme for such cases... And how does one get nominated
for evaluation?

- WHO will PAY FOR IT?
If its the organizations itself (as with 'certified organic')... Then we
only get big and well-funded orgs into the scheme...


On 09/08/08 8:42 AM, "Ellie Rennie" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> Apologies for writing in English. I hope someone can translate for me.
> I am interested in hearing your feedback on the idea of an accreditation
> scheme for community media - a bit like Fair Trade labeling but for broadcast
> and online community media.
> A group of us here in Australia have organised a symposium ito discuss the
> concept and logistics. We would like to trial it here and then see if it could
> go global. OURMedia could possibly be a key organisation in making it work by
> uniting various peak bodies etc.
> I have written a short article explaining the idea. It can be found at:
> http://www.creative.org.au/webboard/results.chtml?filename_num=224226
> Ellie 
> Dr Ellie Rennie
> Research Fellow
> Institute for Social Research
> ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
> +61 3 9214 5303
> 0404 808 900
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