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Fri, 1 Aug 2008 13:35:58 +0900
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Dear OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios friends,
(apologies for English only. Could anyone give a rough summary in spanish?)

I just returned from the IAMCR conference and wanted to raise the
possibility of ourmedia/nuestrosmedios 2009 in mexico. Are there any
ourmedia people in mexico who could organize it?

I know we often have this discussion of whether to organize ourmedia close
to an academic conference, and we have in the last 2 years decided against
it. However, I think this coming year is a particularily good opportunity
and we should reconsider the possibility:

 IAMCR is currently very ourmedia-friendly
IAMCR just elected a new board with people close to us: Annabelle Sreberny
as president and John Downing and Ruth Teer-Tomaselli as vice-presidents.
IAMCR is generally trying to become more open to grassroots networks, and
re-orient itself back towards a more activist stance in general. The 2009
conference theme is "Human Rights and communication" and there is talk about
having at least one keynote speech and perhaps even a plenary session about
alternative/community/citizens media. The community communication section
co-vice chairs are myself and Ellie Rennie and the chair, Per Jauert is also
very interested in working with ourmedia.

There are a number of other benefits that should not be dismissed:

 Cost solidarity
Even if established academics only make up a small part of our consituency,
it is good to have many attend. Every person that can pay a higher
participation fee and their own travel expenses helps cover the cost of
those who cannot. Also academics can often help with fundraising.

 Promoting OURcause to the wider academic community
Several people at the conference came up to me and asked about ourmedia,
noting that they would love to attend it in the future. They had become
interested in alternative, community and citizens media thanks to the
Barcelona and Porto Alegre conferences (which were back to back with IAMCR
and promoted through the IAMCR network.)

 Enabling academics to keep their commitment to ourmedia
For established academics, universities will only pay for academic
conferences (for US scholars, even IAMCR is sometimes not prestigious
enough), or they have a limited conference budget. The problem is even
bigger for younger researcher-activists who need IAMCR for their resume,
even if they feel closer to ourmedia. I talked to at least 8 people who said
they could not come to Ghana for such reasons. Having ourmedia separately
forces many people to choose, often against their own inclination.

 grassroots-academic synergy
IAMCR organizers may be open to helping ourmedia arrange for space and such
(as I think happened in Porto Alegre,right?). If we have ourmedia before
IAMCR and we come out with some sort of a declaration, we may be able to get
IAMCR to endorse it. The community communication section is planning social
events and field-trips, which would be perfect to co-organize with ourmedia,
and help connect academic and grassroots activists, which is part of our
mission after all. 

As I said, I am very sorry not to be able to attend this year for personal
reasons but I am looking forward to updates from Ghana!

All the best,
G

PS: IAMCR 2009 will be held july 21-24 at universidad nacional autonoma de
mexico.

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