Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The British Banner Tradition

The recent mobilizations around the g-20 in the UK have brought out the traditional colorful banners used for centuries in Britain.

The history of these banners stretches back to the struggle for an eight hour day. From the Victoria Museum web site (Australia):
While the original 8 Hour Day banner was made of bunting, most of the early banners were either silk or calico. These were vulnerable to the weather; and many were reportedly destroyed by high winds. More robust canvas banners became common from the 1890s.

Banners were too large and too heavy to be carried by hand. They were mounted onto horse-drawn drays and later onto lorries. Early in the 20th century, complicated frames were made so the banners could be lowered as they passed under the power and tram lines that were becoming part of the cityscape.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Money is the Medium

Activists protesting the g-20 meetings in London, posted bank-notes for the occasion.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

AMARC Calls the Senegal Government to Lift Sanctions Against Community Radios

.Montreal, 17 March, 2009. The regulatory body, Conseil National de Régulation de l’Audiovisuel (CNRA), ordered last Saturday and Sunday, the sealing off of the transmitters of 3 community radios : Radio Oxyjeunes, Radio Afia and Radio Djolof which broadcast respectively from the working class neighborhoods of Pikine and Grand –Yoff in the capital city Dakar and from Liguere, a rural city in the north east of the country. The 3 community radios will be off the air for 2 months. The regulatory body accuses the 3 radios of intervening in the present political campaign and thus infringing on article 18 of the specifications the community radios have contracted and which prohibit them from broadcasting any program with a political content. But the Community radio journalists and presenters along with the network organization of the Community Radios of Senegal, the Union des Radios Associatives et Communautaires, claim that to allow citizens to understand what is at stake, elected officials at the local level to be brought to account and candidates to present their programs is at the heart of the mission of community radios.

They point out also that during the past 10 years they have approached both the Ministry of Communications and the regulatory body to advocate the revision of the Community Radio Specifications and Contract, notably its Article 18, in order to make it more conducive to the mission of community radios while insulating them from party politics.

The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) expresses its support to Radio Oxyjeunes, Radio Afia and Radio Djolof as well as to the federation of the community radios of Senegal, the Union des Radios Associatives et Communautaires du Senegal.

AMARC calls on the government of Senegal, notably on the Ministry of Communications and on the CNRA to lift off immediately these undue sanctions and urge them to organize as soon as possible a forum with all concerned parties in order to develop and implement a regulatory and legal framework which could contribute more to the reinforcement of citizenship and to local economic development.

Through service to members, networking and project implementation, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters AMARC, brings together a network of more than 4,000 community radios, Federations and community media stakeholders in more than 115 countries. The main global impact of AMARC since its creation in 1983, has been to accompany and support the establishment of a world wide community radio sector that has democratized the media sector.

For information: Alymana bathily, AMARC Africa Coordinator, info@africa.amarc.org Marcelo Solervicens,
AMARC Secretary General secretariat@si.amarc.org

The photo of the Senegalese youth radio on this post is part of a BBC radio and photo essay about use of digital media around the world. See the whole story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/942_DigitalDimension/index.shtml

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Storytellers: Nigerian Sidewalk Video

Are Nigerian video stories examples of "community media" ? Are these films just low budget attempts to mimic Hollywood and Bollywood? How have their grass roots distribution networks impacted media consumption in West Africa? This exhibition in Berlin is an assessment of some of the more interesting films that this prolific movement has produced.
-DeeDee Halleck

Shown at "the building"
, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a

10249 Berlin DE
, T: 030 28 04 79 73Saturday, March 28th 2009, 2- 6 PM

Storytellers: an afternoon screening of Nollywood films
The Nigerian video-film industry started with a guerrilla attitude and grew over the past 15 years to be the third largest film industry worldwide, releasing more than 30 films per week. Strongly linked to daily West African life and told from a native point of view, Nollywood reaches its audience with stories of common concern, such as love, faith and betrayal.

The introduction of affordable recording techniques promoted the rise of an industry whose medium was to become a mean of expression for future filmmakers. They distribute their movies in VHS and DVD to reach a large audience via sidewalks and local markets.

The technical advancement provides not only a voice to many filmmakers. The democratization of movie making also allows for a much shorter production time that enables them to respond faster to reality's development. Certain political events have turned into films only two weeks after taking place, fictionalizing reality by filling the gaps of missing information with personal or collective narratives.

Apart from the appearance of some Nollywood films at international festivals, this genre remains an African phenomenon - widely accessible and influential in Africa, with its own modi of circulation and distribution, but hardly to be found at international rental stores.

Looped program on several screens:

"What I want" (Consorts International Ltd.)
"Our days on earth" (JBM Merchandise)
"Congo Marriage" (Samlex Electronics Co. Ltd.)
"Congo Marriage 2" (Samlex Electronics Co. Ltd.)
"Miss Nigeria" (Ossy Affason Video)
"Miss Nigeria 2" (Ossy Affason Video)
"Wounded Land 2" (Ayo Industries Nig. Ltd.)
"Jealous Mind" (Okayson Electronics Ltd.)
"Love, Sex & Marriage" (Ulzee Nig. Ltd.)
"Not my man" (P. Collins and Associates Ltd.)
"2 Hell with u" (Morning Star Production)

Selected by Clara Meister with special thanks to Uli Seifert

Nollywound: Unwritten plot

The screen comes alive
No action
Just takes,
all fakes in a thousand re-takes
New Slate, same place
Our eyes are bruised by Nollywood.
We carry a plaster over a Nollywound
of pain and senseless fragments
of unending stories.
The sequels just like a nation’s transitions in slow painful motions.

The screen claims a life
and a strident voice
in the wilderness promises laurels
for this unwritten plot
hindered by troubling writer’s block.
Stories like nations with power blocs
hoping to gain attention.

The screen sells a lie
and a nation once again
pregnant from the
remnant seeds of
recalcitrant political mothers
willing at all times to throw
thighs apart for
itinerant political fathers
who aborted pregnancies of yester-years.

The screen buys our gaze
as the belly of a nation
is swollen
but the birth-chord
is stolen even before birth.
Mid-wives are still in morality training school taking lessons before their test.
The political maternity ward
is under construction
and supervision of cash and carry consultants.

The screen fades to black
and viewers are back for posers
How shall we deliver a test-tube baby:
Who already speaks from mother’s womb
talking of wounds past,
passing codes from Swiss accounts
to sweet accounts buried beyond
talons of transparency accountants.

The screen brings them back
and the lost fish for posers:
How shall we deliver a test-tube baby:
Who already counts the days
when voters with buttered breads
will cast their curses and cause
the usual heart wound that issues
like Nollywood windy movies.

© Kole Ade Odutola

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Indymedia Reporter Shot Protesting Israeli Wall


On March 13th, 2009, Tristan Anderson, from Oakland, California, was critically wounded in the village of Ni'lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a high-powered tear-gas canister. Tristan is a dedicated activist and reporter who has long been committed to social and environmental justice in the U.S. and abroad in places such as Oaxaca, Iraq, and Palestine. Tristan has posted his reports to Indybay since 2001.

As a result of his injuries, Tristan Anderson, 38 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and had been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a serious injury to his forehead where he was struck by the canister. He is currently being operated on.

"Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500 meters," reports Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) with the International Solidarity Movement. "I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed."

Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked a demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni'lin's land. Another resident from Ni'lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition. Several other demonstrators against the wall have been killed or rendered brain dead as a result of IDF use of rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition in the villages of Ni'ilin and Bil'in.

Other ISM activists killed or injured by Israeli forces: Rachel Corrie, killed by a bulldozer in 2003; Brian Avery, shot in the face in 2003; and Tom Hurndall, shot to death in 2004. -- From Indybay

Tristan was a regular poster to Indymedia, reporting and sending video and photos to the Indybay site. This is his photo of a prayer in an olive grove last summer, in the same village where he was wounded.

Tristan covered with text and photos: the Berkeley Tree Sit, protests against the Iraq War and Critical Mass bike rides. He also went to Oaxaca and recorded the Brad Will memorials in that city. Brad Will was an Indymedia activist/report who was killed by Mexican paramilitaries.This is one of the photos which Tristan posted to Indymedia:
Like Brad Will, Tristan delighted in image irony:
Below this photo he posted his sentence: "Brad always tried to get beyond the choices or false dichotomies of capitalism."-Tristan

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Culturas En El Aire/ Cultures on the Air!

The Collaborative Research Project, and The Provostial Funds for Arts and Humanities at Harvard University sponsored a Symposium and Workshop, ¡CULTURAS EN EL AIRE! / CULTURES ON THE AIR! this weekend, March 6-7, 2009. It was an open discussion on Indigenous Radio in the Americas, and ways to strengthen networks, build solidarity and open more spaces for indigenous community radio in the north and south.

Spearheaded by Mapuche scholar Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, at Harvard (lcarcamo@fas.harvard.edu), the inter-disciplinary symposium had three goals:

1. To open up a broader discussion on the presence and role of indigenous voices—as “sounds,” as languages, as cultures—in the Americas.

2. To make this initiative open to students and faculty on campus, and in the broader community of Boston area, especially to community leaders, students and scholars who may want to participate not only in the symposium but also in the workshop on the following day.

3. To allow indigenous radio producers and broadcasters to share with our community their knowledge and experiences in indigenous community-oriented radio.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui (Hawaiian, host and producer of the radio program “Indigenous Politics: From New England and Beyond,” Wesleyan University, Connecticut, USA), Tiokasin Ghosthorse (Lakota, First Indigenous Radio, New York, USA), Margarita Martinez (Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker, Colombia); Elías Paillán (Mapuche, Observatorio Ciudadano and Founder of the Radio Program “Wixage Anai,” Chile), Mark Camp (Director, Cultural Survival), Bruce Curliss (Nipmuc, Outreach Project Director, Educational Outreach WGBH), and Joanne Dunn (Mi’kmaq First Nation, Executive Director for the North American Indian Center of Boston).

I'll have more about the event in the coming days because it is about mobilizing all our forces to promote and build on the community media networks that are presenting an alternative narrative to the commercial, corporate culture promulgated by the mass media.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Digital Left-Overs?

Community Radio short-changed in digital switchover
February 28, 2009 04:35 AM PST
With digital radio landing in cities across Australia in May this year, it seems the future is at our fingertips.
The new technology offers pictures and text, and pause and rewind options, as well as many other possibilities.
But the community sector has been given less than a third of the broadcasting space allowed to commercial and national radio stations, meaning the advantages of the digital age could be almost non-existent.
Now Sydney's community stations must figure out the best way to make use of the digital leftovers.
2SER’s Angus Thompson reports.http://2ser.podOmatic.com/entry/2009-02-28T04_37_38-08_00