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July 22, 2013

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PTRio

I wish the Midia Ninja success and hope they are able to grow and continue to offer the "real" events which the large corporate news sellers tend to ignore or gloss over. Just last night on the CNN channel carried by cable providers in Brasil the major topic was the royal baby. Huh? That merits perhaps 15 seconds, but instead was the primary topic while news of the Papal visit to Brasil was basically ignored.

The demise of what was once "news" in the media is well documented, news was never expected to generate a TV network money. It was a "loss leader". Now, with the corporatisation of media, every department must show a profit, including news. That means news must attract sponsors, and so who is now going to run a story adverse to a major sponsor? You end up with FoxNews (often referred to as FauxNews), "news" with a political agenda and sponsors to pay for it.

The one major problem I see with Midia Ninja is that they involve themselves in the events which then become news, and by doing so risk losing impartiality. Having a reporter (or two) arrested is one thing, but having a protester who happened to also be a reporter, arrested is not quite the same thing. Reporting is one thing, participating is another. The two should be separate, though I recognize that can be a difficult thing with Rio police seemingly unable to distinguish vandals from peaceful protesters and already having shot a number of reporters with rubber bullets.

Vic Coffield

I was excited to see a story in the UK Guardian about Media Ninja. That was the first I heard of these "citizen reporters." The amazing thing is that a month before I sent letters and e mails to a bunch of US alternative news sites with the idea or organizing almost exactly the same thing but on a world wide scale. How can this movement be expanded to more countries? We all suffer at the hands of the Corporate Media. My proposal is 3 pages so too long for this space. I would be happy to e mail it to anyone interested. Here is the first page.
On organizing an online site: (new title) Democratize the media with citizen reporters. It's happening in Brazil!

Proposal: That a group of Media activists create a web site devoted to reporting, with a particular emphases on visual images, the struggles of working people, students and others engaged in fighting the aggressive policies of neo-liberal capitalism worldwide. It is inevitable that more and more strikes and mass demonstrations will be erupting as the crisis deepens and we all (the 99 or whatever percent have decided they have had enough) desperately need to see the scope of these struggles in order to draw inspiration from them. We have spent years now criticizing and analyzing the Corporate Media. They can not be “reformed.” Now it is high time for us to compete with their bankrupt propaganda mill. We are strong enough in numbers to win the attention of the worlds people. The only thing holding us back is ourselves. As the Corporate Media closes their foreign branches we will be opening ours. Such a site would do wonders to unify the global movement for human rights.

The site would need to be staffed by some experienced professionals but mostly it would need to rely on thousands of volunteer “reporters” who will jump at the chance to help inform the world of what is happening in their area. So there are three sides to this proposal: maintaining the web site, organizing a base of reporters and thirdly, develop through practice and discussions what the responsibilities are for a global pro working class media. This is a Wikipedia kind of project. It will face some difficult problems in terms of finding trustworthy and reliable reporters but it is doable because it will necessarily rely on folks who want this project to succeed. It will have to start small. Reporters would have to come from trustworthy contacts of the founding group. This is an expanding circle that should begin to reach around the world in a few months (whatever it takes). Reporters would be required to uphold the professional standards of the organization while they get pictures and write up a few sentences to explain the issues. They would also be responsible for informing the participants (in the action they are covering) about this site that will be reporting their action. Organizing around the reporters on such a scale may well have a very positive and unifying affect on the world movement against Corporate power.

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