Monday, September 28, 2009

The Struggle against Hate Media

The Seattle group Reclaim the Media staged a "Mad Haters Tea Party" over the weekend to protest the mayor of Mt. Vernon WA giving the key to the city to native son Glenn Beck.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Northern Visions' City Walks

Marilyn Hyndman from Northern Visions in Belfast, Northern Ireland sent links to their archive which is now on line.

Our Generation Archive launched...
Documenting the reminiscences, experiences, insight and appraisal of those who sought to build positive structures, resources and services amid, because of and in some circumstances despite the violence and the Troubles. Local people, historians, artists and celebrities take you on a conversational walk in the city to places, which have a special meaning for them as they consider the nature of place and allow us to explore new ways of seeing Belfast.

Endenderry Village
Built between 1866 and 1911 by the linen manufacturer John Shaw Brown, Edenderry is an excellent example of a semi-planned industrial community. Now a conservation area, Edenderry retains all of the charm and many of the features of a nineteenth century mill village. Learn about the history of this unique place and meet some of the people who worked to make John Shaw Brown's linen some of the finest in the world.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Letter from Canada (French Below)

Illustration from an article entitled: "How cable companies and the CRTC’s lenience are killing what’s left of community TV"
....from the Fast Forward web site.

This is a letter from Catherine Edwards

Dear Friends of Community TV

1) CBC Television national is going to air a story tonight or tomorrow about the payout of $3,000 per person in Campbell River for the sale of their cable-cooperative to Shaw. This was a highly controversial sale last year, which was approved by the CRTC in a closed hearing in less than 10 minutes. Campbell River TV had just celebrated its 50th anniversary of programming.

2) A new community programming service on Les-iles-de-la-Madeleine just got its license--and for the first time in Canadian history--was awarded the 5% cable levy from Eastlink, because the company did not have plans to operate a community channel on the islands. However, not a week had gone by when 2009-544 was announced, which
exempts cable companies from seeking licenses in systems having fewer than 20,000 subscribers. (The previous limit had been 6,000, and before that... 2,000.) It's part of the CRTC's trend toward increasing deregulation, and another example of how community television continues to be negatively impacted by cable industry market conditions and regulations. The result for Television des Iles is that Eastlink is no longer going to provide the cable levy. See the CACTUS web site for more info.

3) If you're a community television organization and you haven't already done so, please list your organization on the CACTUS web site. As we start to get more press as we near the hearings, we need the site to be up to date... Just today, the CBC
reporter who contacted us was puzzled that there appear to be only five community television organizations in the country!

To post your information:

- a) Create an account (from the front page... you just pick a name and password for yourself).

- b) Go to "Create Content".

- c) "Create a Media Organization"

- d) Fill out the form... takes a minute or two at most.

If you have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch. Thanks a lot! It's important.

Cathy Edwards
Canadian Association of Community TV Users and Stations
(819) 772-2862

Chers amis de la television communautaires:

1) La Television Radio Canada/CBC (anglais) va montrer une reportage ce soir ou demain au sujet du $3,000 qui est en train d'etre payer a chacun des membres du cooperative CRTV (Campbell River TV) a l'ile de Vancouver, pour avoir vendu leur
service du cable a Shaw l'annee passee. Pour ceux qui n'ont pas suivi l'histoire l'annee passe, la vente etait tres controversial, mais elle etait approuve par le CRTC en moins que dix minutes sans question, dans une auditoire close.

2) La television des iles, la premiere "service de programmation communautaire" au Canada pour recevoir tous le 5% de cablodistributeur Eastlink, l'a perdu comme resultat de 2009-544. Voyez le site de web de CACTUS pour l'histoire complete.

3) Si vous etes un canal communautaire, s'il vous plait inscrivez-vous sur le site de CACTUS pour etre compter... on commence a avoir beaucoup de circulation. Aujourd'hui, par exemple, la journaliste de Radio Canada m'a demande "Pourquoi il y a seulement 5 canaux dans la liste? Est-ce qu'il n'y a seulement que 5 canaux communautaire au pays?" Ces visites vont augmenter pendant les auditoires, et nous avons besoin de credibilite. Merci!

Pour le faire:

- a) Creez une nouvelle compte (vous pouvez le faire vous-memes en choississant un nom et mot de passe)
- b) Choissez "Create Content"
- c) Choissez "Add a Media Organization"
- d) Remplissez l'information demandee.

Sous vous avez besoin d'aide, n'hesite pas a nous contacter... votre membre de TVR9, Francois Gauthier (la Vallee-du-Richelieu) a traduit la majorite de notre site comme benevole, mais pas tous les details.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Orley Duran and Melba Quijano on the uses of definitions

From the Our Media Conference, Medellin, Colombia, July 2009

Juan Salazar on the Importance of Community Media

Alirio Gonzalez and the Escuela Audiovisual Infantil

At the recent Our Media conference in Medellin, Colombia, there were many discussions about the definition of community/alternative/citizens'/independent media. This is Alirio Gonzalez discussing how sometimes these definitions are used.
Colombia: The Radiocicleta, the Children’s Audiovisual School and community development
There´s a special bicycle moving around Belén de los Andaquíes in Caquetá, Colombia. It seats two and carries with it a complete radio broadcasting system, able to send out Wi-max signals and be heard not only through the Andaquí Community Radio, but live through Internet as well. This Radiocicleta[ES] (a portmanteau formed by the word radio and bicycle in Spanish) is part of a 10 year long community communication project meant to unite the diverse population of Belén de los Andaquíes which is composed largely by families running away from violence in their hometowns and neighboring regions, who stopped once they reached this safer haven they could call home.

Blanco Alirio González, the mastermind behind the Andaquí Communication Center and the Radiobike is aware that in communities where there are basic needs that still need to be fulfilled, technology has a tough battle to wage:

Es claro que en el proyecto de comunicación, el uso de las TICs deben aportar a la búsqueda de soluciones a esas necesidades básicas, nuestra pelea no es la sostenibilidad del centro de comunicación, o de la emisora, de la biblioteca o del telecentro, nuestra pelea es la sostenibilidad de nuestra cultura, el derecho a vivir en forma digna en un territorio lleno de riquezas que se disputan gentes de afuera y que son la madre de nuestros desarraigos, violencias y miserias.

It is clear that within this communication Project, the use of new information technologies has to bring solutions to these basic needs, our fight isn´t the sustainability of the communication center, or the station, or the library or the telecenter, our fight is for the sustainability of our culture, our right to live with pride in a territory full of wealth which is disputed by outsiders and that are the mother to our rootlessness, violence and misery.

Based on these ideals, the Community Radio of Andaquí was built to communicate the community with itself, to give them voices and an identity. One of the ways to get more people involved was to break down the walls between the studio and the town itself. Thus the Radiocicleta was born. This radiobike is a prime example of how they live up to their ideals: it is sustainable, it is cheap to maintain, it is environmentally sound, it is human instead of fuel powered, it allows for innovation and investigation, it can reach many different places and can be brought inside homes and it brings people together, working as members of a team: bike rider, speaker, audio operator in the cabin and the community at any event they are covering depend on each other for success.

This radiobike was only the beginning: once they were connected to Internet and had the tools to communicate with the rest of the world, they had to solve the issue of educating all Belemites in the use of these new technologies, while concentrating on the basics: they not only have the library and telecenter, but they also have a community vegetable garden and a media school for kids: at the Escuela Audiovisual Infantil, children can learn how to use technology and make a living from it.

La Escuela Audiovisual Infantil, está orientada a dar visibilidad a los niños de Belén de los Andaquíes, con quienes se busca “Contar lo que hacemos para descubrir hacia donde vamos”. Niñas y niños, desde los 8 años de edad, imaginan, escriben, dibujan, actúan, toman fotografías digitales, graban el audio, animan y editan en computador, historias de dos minutos de duración, en las que muestran las entrañas de sus vidas familiares y callejeras.

The Children’s Audiovisual School is oriented to give visibility to the children of Belén de los Andaquíes, through which they seek to “Tell what we do to discover where we´re going”. Boys and girls older than eight imagine, write, draw, act, take digital pictures, record audio, animate and edit using a computer their two minute long stories, where they show the innards of their family and street lives.

You can see the Children´s AudioVisual school´s pictures in flickr and videos on youtube. Currently, the children have started their own micro-business, and they are getting paid to train others and produce videos for clients such as UNESCO and CINEP.
Thursday, November 1st, 2007 Text from the Hiper Barrio Blog

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kiswahili and English Versions of Top 10 Myths About Civil Society Participation at ICANN

Grace Mutung’u (Bomu) is a young Kenyan lawyer who has been part of the Kenya ICT policy process since 2005. She works with theatre companies as an actor, marketer and cultural policy advocate. She is currently taking a course Intellectual Property Law and the Internet at Diplo Online Campus.
“Porojo Kumi maarufu zaidi kuhusu uhusikaji wa mashirika ya shirika
la ICANN”, na NCUC 21 Agosti 2009
Porojo ya Kwanza
“Masirika ya kijamii hayatahusika kwenya ICANN chini ya mpango uliopendekezwa na NCUC.”

Uwongo: Wafanyakazi wa ICANN na wengine wanadai kwamba mashirika ya kijamii hukatwa tamaa yasijihusishe na ICANN
kwa vile mpango uliopendekezwa na ICANN hauhakikishi kwamba viti katika Kamati ya GNSO vitagawiwa maeneo au washikadau wote.

Ukweli wa mambo ni kwamba uanachama wa NCUC unawakilisha mashirika 143 yasiyo ya kibiashara pamoja na watu binafsi. Tangu mwaka 2008 uanachama wa NCUC umeongezeka kwa zaidi ya 215% - hii ni kwa mujibu wa mwito wa mashirika ya kijamii. Hakuna shirika hata moja lisilo la kibiashara lililotoa maoni kwamba kuwepo tu kwa viti vya maeneo katika Kamati ya GNSO ndipo kungewafanya kushiriki kwenye ICANN. Katika mashirika yaliyotoa maoni yao, hakuna lilisosema ya kwamba lingeshiriki kwenye ICANN sharti katiba ya NSCG ingewahakikishia kiti kwenye Kamati ya GNSO.

Porojo ya Pili
“Wengi zaidi kutoka mashirika ya kijamii watashiriki kwenye ICANN Bodi itakapoingilia”

Picha ya kweli: Kulazimisha kwa Bodi kwa katiba yake au kutosikiliza kwa Bodi kwa vikundi vya mashirika ya kijamii kutaonekana kama kukataliwa kwa maoni ya vile vikundi vingi vilivyoonelea kwamba ni hii ni dhuluma dhidi ya mashirika ya kijamii. Sifa ya ICANN kati ya mashirika yasiyo ya kibiashara itaharibika kabisa hatua mwafaka isipochukuliwa au suluhu kupatikana. Hata kama vitendo hivyo vingekubalika, matokeo kamili kwa wafanya kazi na kwa katiba ya NCSG itakuwa kuvinyima nguvu vikundi visivyo vya kibiashara na kuvifanya hata visipende kushiriki. Kuteuliwa kwa waakilishi na Bodi hufurutisha vikundi visivyo vya kibiashara na watu binafsi. Isitoshe, SIC inayowakilisha maeneo au washika dau wote inahitaji fedha nyingi sana ambayo mashirika mengi yasiyo ya kibiashara hayawezi kusimamilia. Pia, mpangilio huo utaleta mgawanyiko kati ya vikundi huku vikipigania wanachama na kura. Vikundi vingi visivyo vya kibiashara havitaweza kuingia ICANN GNSO chini ya mpango huo.

Porojo ya Tatu
Kuwepo kwa upinzani kunaweza kupuuzwa tu kama “kampeni ya uandikaji barua”

Hii ni shutma isiyo ya kweli: Upinzani mkali wa mashirika ya kijamii kwa katiba ya SIC ulitokea si mara moja bali mara mbili. Pia, kulikuwa na ongezeko kubwa la wanachama wa NCUC lililotokana na kutopendezwa kwa jamii yote kwa jumla na vitendo vya wafanyakazi pamoja na Bodi. Kujaribu kupunguza ushiriki wa mashirika ya kijamii hakutafanikiwa na kunaonyesha upotovu huu wa hali ya juu. ICANN inahitajika kuwa na nyakati za maoni ya umma kwa maana ni lazima isikize na kujibu maswala ya jamii. Maoni ya umma hutokana na kuwepo kwa mawasiliano na mazungumzo kuhusu hata maswala tata, hata kama ni miito ya kuchukua hatua. Hakuna mpango au sheria inayoipa ICANN au wafanyakazi wake uwezo wa kuamua kutotilia maanani au kupuuza vikundi karibu vyote vilivyoonyesha kutaka kushiriki kwenye marekebisho ya GNSO, eti kwa sababu wamewashutumu wafanyakazi wa ICANN.

Jaribio la ICANN la kutaja maoni haya ya muhimu kama “kampeni ya uandikaji barua” inapuuza ushiriki wa siku zijazo na imani katika mipango ya ICANN ya kuhusisha umma.

Porojo ya Nne
"Mashirika ya kijamii yamegawanyika kuhusu swala la katiba ya NCSG."

Si Kweli. Hakujawahi kuwa na maoni ya umma yaliyoegemea upande mmoja kama haya katika historia ya ICANN. Hata kama wafanyikazi wa ICANN wanaiambia Bodi kwamba mashirika ya kijamii yamegawanyika, maoni zaidi yanakataa katiba iliyopendekezwa na ICANN na kuiunga mkono iliyopendekezwa na NCUC. Wanabodi wanaotegemea habari kutoka kwa wafanyikazi wa ICANN pekee wanaweza kuamini kwamba mashirika ya kijamii yamegawanyika , lakini wanabodi ambao wanesoma maoni ya umma wanaweza kuona umoja wa mashirika ya kijamii katika kupinga kulazimishwa kufanya ICANN inavyotaka.

Porojo ya Tano
"Mashirika ya Kijamii yaliyoko kwa sasa hayawakilishi kamili washikadau wote"

Si kweli kwa vyovyote. Kwa sasa, kikundi cha mashirika ya kijamii, kijulikanacho kama NCUC kina wanachama 143 ambao kati yao 73 ni mashirika yasiyo ya kibiashara na watu banafsi 70 kutoka nchi 48. Hili ni ongezeko la 215% tangu kanuni ya uakilishaji wa wote ianzishwe.

Ushiriki wa jamii isiyo ya kibiashara umeongezeka na kwa hivyo si haki kusema kusema kwamba NCUC haishirikishi washika dau wote bila ya kusema hivyo juu ya jamii zingine. Hata mwaka wa 2006, utafiti huru uliofanywa na London School of Economics ulionyesha kuwa NCUC iliwakilisha maeneo mengi zaidi na pia ilikuwa na watu wengi zaidi tofauti katika kamati ya GNSO wakati wowote, na kwamba ilibadilisha zaidi wawakilishi wake katika kamati hio ikilinganishwa na jamii zile zingine sita.

Kwa upande mwingine, jamii ya wanabiashara imekuwa ikiwakilishwa na watu wale wale 5 kwa Kamati kwa muongo mmoja na kulipokuwa na mwito wa marekebisho ya GNSO, 3 kati ya wanakamati 6 wa jamii ya kibiashra watawakilisha Marekani.

Porojo ya Sita
“ALAC inapendelea mkataba uliopendekezwa na wafanyakazi wa ICANN kuliko ule wa mashirika ya kijamii”

Uwongo: Kiongozi mmoja wa ALAC alisema kuwa anapendelea maktaba uliopendekezwa na wafanyikazi. Wafanyikazi walichukua msemo huo na kuupeleka kwa Bodi ya ICANN huku wakidai kwamba ALAC inapendelea mkataba uliopendekezwa na wafanyikazi wa ICANN. Kwa kweli, taarifa rasmi iliyotolewa na ALAC na iliyopitishwa na na ALAC ilisema kuwa
wanachama wengi wa ALAC waliunga mkono pendekezo la “kulitenganisha swala la viti vya Kamati kutoka kwa maeneo ni jambo nzuri na mwelekeo mwema.”

Porojo ya Saba
"Mkataba wa NCUC utakipa kikundi kile kile kidogo viti 6 badala ya 3"

Uwongo: Kwa miezi minane iliyopita, NCUC imekuwa ikitangaza kuwa itajitawanya muda tu NCSG itakapoundwa. Haina maana kuwa na “jamii ya mashirika yasiyo ya kibiashara” na vile vile “washika dau wasio wa kibiashara” kwani haya ni maneno yenye maana sawa. Kwa hivyo, viongozi wa NCUC hawatakuwa na uwezo wa kuendesha NCSG mpya – uongozi mpya utachaguliwa. Chini ya mkataba, mashirika na watu wote binafsi watapiga kura kuchaga viti vya Kamati, na si tu wanachama wa hapo mbeleni wa NCUC. Masharti makali kuhusu uakilishi kutoka maeneo yote ya kijografia yatamaanisha kuwa wanaowania kutoka maeneo yote duniani watachaguliwa hata kama hawatapata wingi wa kura.

Porojo ya Nane
"NCUC haitagawana viti vya Kamati na jamii zingine za mashirika yasiyo ya kibiashara."

Si Kweli: Mkataba wa NCUC uliundwa ili kuwezesha mashirika yasiyo ya kibiashara kuwa na wawaniaji wao wa viti vya Kamati. Ikilinganishwa na uwepo na uanachama wa NCUC, jamii nyingi zenye ajenda zinazoshindana zitajitokeza. Kukua kwa maeneo kutoka mashinani hadi juu ni bora kuliko mwelekeo wa Bodi/Wafanyikazi- pia unafanana zaidi na mapedekezo ya BGC. Maktaba wa SIC unaelekeza uundaji wa maeneo kutoka juu na hii ni ngumu na inaipa Bodi uwezo uliozidi kuamua “ushirikishaji” au “umuhimu” wa washiriki wapya. Kwa vile uakilishi wa maeneo unategemea viti vya Kamati. Viti vya Kamati vikilinganishwa na maeneo, kila eneo litakuwa na mivurutano kuhusu kupewa kwa viti hivi vya Kamati

Porojo ya Tisa
"NCUC inataka kunyakua haki ya Bodi ya kupitisha maeneo”

Uwongo: Watu wanaosema hivi ni dhahiri ya kwamba hawajasoma mkataba uliopendekezwa na NCUC. NCUC inapendekeza kwambo Bodi iwe na uwezo wa kupitisha au kukataza maeneo mapya yaliyoundwa chini ya mkataba huo.

Pendekezo letu ni kuwe na na mielekezo ya kufuatwa (k.m nambari ya wagombea) kwa kuundwa kwa maeneo mapya halafu mapendekezo yatumwe kwa Bodi. Dhana ilikuwa kupunguza mzigo wa uundaji wa maeneo mapya kwa wagombea na pia kwa Bodi.

Mkataba uliopendekezwa na NCUC una mapendekezo rahisi sana ya kuunda maeneo mapya ukilinganishwa na ule wa SIC ambao utafanya uundaji wa maeneo mapya kuwa jambo gumu sana. Porojo ya Kumi “Azma ya kuwa na eneo ni kuwa na kiti kwenya Kamati ya GNSO.”

Uwongo: wengine hudai kwamba viti vya Kamati ya GNSO lazima vilinganishwe kikamili na maeneo haswa kwa vile eneo halina maana bila kuhakikishiwa kiti kwenye Kamati ya GNSO. Lakini, kusema hivyo ni kutoelewa umuhimu wa maeneo katika GNSO mpya, ambao ni kuwapa sauti na namna ya kushiriki katika utengenezaji wa sera –wala si kuhakikishiwa kuwa na mjumbe asiye hata na mori wa kuafikiana na maeneo mengine.

Viwili kati ya vikundi vitatu vya washikadau (Registries and Registrars) vilipitisha mwelekeo wa mkataba wa NCUC wa kutenganisha viti vya GNSO kutoka kwa maeneo, walakini NCUC imekatazwa kuchagua wajumbe wake kulingana na SG.

Ungana na NCUC
Mashirika na watu wote binafsi kutoka jamii ya wasio wanabiashara wanaalikwa kuungana na NCUC kwenye mpango ya utengenezaji wa sera za GNSO ya ICANN. Leta maoni yako kwa mazungumzo ya sera za mtandao wa Internet na usaidie kulinda watumizi wa mtandao wasio wa kibiashara kwa kushiriki kwa ICANN kupitia kwa NCUC. Ingia leo kwa kwenda hapa:


From The Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) 20 August 2009
Myth 1
"Existing civil society groups are not representative or diverse enough."
Untrue by any reasonable standard. The current civil society grouping, the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC), now has 142 members including 73 noncommercial organizations and 69 individuals in 48 countries. This is an increase of 215% since the parity principle was established.1 Noncommercial participation in ICANN is now more diverse than any other constituency, so it is completely unfair to level this charge at NCUC without applying it to others. Even back in 2006, an independent report by the London School of Economics showed that NCUC was the most diverse geographically, had the largest number of different people serving on the GNSO Council over time, and the highest turn-over in council representatives of any of the 6 constituencies. In contrast, the commercial users’ constituency has recycled the same 5 people on the Council for a decade and upon the GNSO reform, the first 3 of 6 GNSO Councilors from Commercial Stakeholder Group will represent the United States.

Myth 2
"The NCUC charter would give the same small group 6 votes instead of 3." False. For the past 8 months, NCUC has stated that it will dissolve when the NCSG is formed. It does not make sense to have a "Noncommercial Users Constituency" and a "Noncommercial Stakeholders Group,” as they are synonymous terms. Thus, NCUC leaders would not be in control of a new NCSG – a completely new leadership would be elected. Under the NCUC charter proposal, all noncommercial groups and individuals would vote on Council seats, not just former NCUC members. Strict geographic diversity requirements would mean that candidates from throughout the world would have to be selected even if they could not get a majority of total votes.

Myth 3
“More civil society groups will get involved if the Board intervenes.” A complete illusion. Board imposition of its own charter and its refusal to listen to civil society groups will be interpreted as rejection of the many groups that commented and as discrimination against civil society participation. ICANN’s reputation among noncommercial groups will be irreparably damaged unless this action is reversed or a compromise is found. Even if we were to accept these actions and try to work with them, the total impact of the staff/SIC NCSG charter will be to handicap noncommercial groups and make them less likely to participate.The appointment of representatives by the Board disenfranchises noncommercial groups and individuals. The constituency-based SIC structure requires too much organizational overhead for most noncommercial organizations to sustain; it also pits groups against each other in political competition for votes and members. Most noncommercial organizations will not enter the ICANN GNSO under those conditions.

We encourage those GNSO constituencies who claim is NCUC is insufficiently large enough to deserve representational parity with commercial users on the GNSO Council to publish their own constituency’s current membership roster, as NCUC does at:

Myth 4
"NCUC will not share council seats with other noncommercial constituencies."
Wrong. NCUC’s proposed charter was designed to allow dozens of new noncommercial constituencies to form at will and to advance their own candidates for Council seats. Given the diversity and breadth of NCUC's membership, many different constituencies with competing agendas are likely to form. The organic, bottom-up self-forming approach to constituency formation is much better than the board/staff approach – and more consistent with the BGC recommendations. The SIC charter makes constituency formation very top-heavy and difficult, and gives the staff and Board arbitrary power to decide how “representative” or “significant” new participants are. Because it ties constituencies to Council seats, every new constituency instigates power struggles over the allocation of Council seats.

Myth 5
"The NCUC wants to take away the Board's right to approve constituencies."
False. People who said this have obviously not read the NCUC-proposed charter. NCUC’s proposal let the board approve or disapprove of new constituencies formed under its proposed charter. Our proposal simply offered to apply some simple, objective criteria (e.g., number of applicants) to new constituency groupings and then make a recommendation to the Board. The idea was to reduce the burden of forming a new constituency for both the applicants and the Board.

Myth 6
"ALAC prefers the ICANN staff drafted charter over the civil society drafted charter."
False. One ALAC leader said that she prefers the staff drafted charter. ICANN staff ran away with this comment and falsely told the ICANN Board of Directors that ALAC prefers the staff drafted charter. In fact, the formal statement actually approved by ALAC said that many members of ALAC supported the NCUC proposal and that “the de-linking of Council seats from Constituencies is a very good move in the right direction.”

Myth 7
"Civil society is divided on the NCSG charter issue."
Wrong. There has never been such an overwhelmingly lopsided public comment period in ICANN’s history. While ICANN’s staff is telling the Board that civil society is divided, the clear, documented consensus among civil society groups has been against the ICANN drafted NCSG charter and in favor of the NCUC one. Board members who rely only on staff-provided information may believe civil society is divided, but Board members who have actually read the public comments can see the solidarity of civil society against what ICANN is trying to impose on them.

Myth 8
The outpouring of civil society opposition can be dismissed as the product of a 'letter writing

An outrageous claim. Overwhelming civil society opposition to the SIC charter emerged not once, but twice. In addition, there is the massive growth in NCUC membership stimulated by the broader community’s opposition to the staff and Board actions. Attempts to minimize the degree to which civil society has been undermined by these developments are simply not going to work, and reveal a shocking degree of insularity and arrogance. ICANN is required to have public comment periods because it is supposed to listen to and be responsive to public opinion. Public opinion results from networks of communication and public dialogue on controversial issues, including organized calls to action. No policy or bylaw gives ICANN staff the authority
to decide that it can discount or ignore nearly all of the groups who have taken an interest in the GNSO reforms, simply because they have taken a position critical of the staff’s. ICANN's attempt to discount critical comments by labeling them a "letter writing campaign" undermines future participation and confidence in ICANN public processes.

Myth 9
“Civil Society won’t participate in ICANN under NCUC’s charter proposal.”
False. ICANN staffers and others claim that civil society is discouraged from engaging at ICANN because NCUC’s charter proposal does not guarantee GNSO Council seats to constituencies. The facts tell the opposite story. Since 2008 NCUC’s membership has increased by more 215% – largely in direct response to civil society’s support for the NCUC charter. Not a single noncommercial organization commented in the public comment forum that hard-wiring council seats to constituencies will induce their participation in ICANN. None of the noncommercial organizations that commented on the NCSG Charter said they would participate in ICANN only if NCSG's Charter secured the constituencies a guaranteed seat on the GNSO.

Myth 10
“The purpose of a constituency is to have your very own GNSO Council Seat.”
False. Some claim GNSO Council seats must be hard-wired to specific constituencies because a constituency is meaningless without a guaranteed GNSO Council representative. However this interpretation fails to understand the role of constituencies in the new GNSO, which is to give a voice and a means of participation in the policy development process -- not a guaranteed councilor who has little incentive to reach beyond her constituency and find consensus with other constituencies. Two of the other three stakeholder groups (Registries and Registrars) adopted NCUC’s charter approach of decoupling GNSO Council seats from constituencies. Only NCUC has been prevented from electing its councilors on a SG-wide basis.

All noncommercial organizations and individuals are invited to join NCUC and participate in policy development in ICANN’s GNSO. Bring your experience and your perspective to Internet policy discussions and help protect noncommercial users of the Internet by participating at ICANN via the NCUC. Join today:

ALAC - At-Large Advisory Committee
ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is responsible for considering and providing
advice on the activities of the ICANN, as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users
(the "At-Large" community).

gTLD - Generic Top Level Domain
Most TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as "generic" TLDs, or "gTLDs". They
can be subdivided into two types, "sponsored" TLDs (sTLDs) and "unsponsored TLDs (uTLDs),
as described in more detail below.

In the 1980s, seven gTLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org) were created. Domain
names may be registered in three of these (.com, .net, and .org) without restriction; the other four
have limited purposes. Over the next twelve years, various discussions occurred concerning
additional gTLDs, leading to the selection in November 2000 of seven new TLDs for
introduction. These were introduced in 2001 and 2002. Four of the new TLDs (.biz, .info,
.name, and .pro) are unsponsored. The other three new TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are

GNSO - Generic Names Supporting Organization
The GNSO is responsible for developing policy recommendations to the ICANN Board that
relate to generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The GNSO is the body of 6 constituencies, as follows: the Commercial and Business constituency, the gTLD Registry constituency, the ISP constituency, the non-commercial constituency, the registrar's constituency, and the IP constituency.

However, the GNSO is in the process of restructuring away from a framework of 6 constituencies to 4 stakeholder groups: Commercial, Noncommercial, Registrar, Registry. The Noncommercial and Commercial Stakeholder Groups together make up the “Non-contracting Parties House” in the new bi-cameral GNSO; and the Registrar and Registry Stakeholder Groups
will together comprise the “Contracting Parties House” in the new GNSO structure (beginning Oct. 2009).

ICANN - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions

NCUC - Noncommercial Users Constituency
The Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC) is the home for noncommercial organizations and individuals in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). With real voting power in ICANN policy making and Board selection, it develops and supports positions that protect noncommercial communication and activity on the Internet. NCUC works to promote the public interest in ICANN policy and is the only noncommercial constituency in ICANN’s GSNO (there are 5 commercial constituencies). The NCUC is open to noncommercial organizations and individuals involved in education, community networking, public policy advocacy, development, promotion of the arts, digital rights, children's welfare, religion, consumer protection, scientific research, human rights and many other areas. NCUC maintains a website at

NCSG - Noncommercial Stakeholders Group
The GNSO is in the process of being restructured from “6 constituencies” to “4 stakeholder
groups”, including a Noncommercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG) into which all noncommercial organizations and individuals will belong for policy development purposes, including members of the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC). The NCSG and the Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG) will together comprise the “Non-contracting Parties House” in the new bicameral GNSO structure beginning October 2009.

NCUC Letter to ICANN Board and CEO on NCSG Charter Controversy:

Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC):

NCUC submitted NCSG charter proposal:

Robin Gross on “Is ICANN Accountable to the Public Interest?”:

ICANN GNSO Chair Avri Doria on “Why I Joined the NCUC”:

Internet Governance Project: “4 ICANN Board members dissent in vote on NCSG charter”:

2006 London School of Economics Independent Report on GNSO:

“Top 10 Myths About Civil Society Participation in ICANN” by NCUC 6

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Argentine president sends media reform to Congress

* Government in dispute with media group Grupo Clarin
* Ruling party to lose congressional control next year (Adds quote by former head of state regulator)
By Helen Popper Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:50pm EDT

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Argentina's president sent a media reform bill to Congress on Thursday, saying it would strengthen democracy by reducing the control of a handful of companies that dominate broadcasting. Many people in the industry agree with the need to overhaul broadcasting regulations drawn up during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, to reflect huge technological changes, but the government proposal has sparked controversy.

President Cristina Fernandez, who has fallen out with the country's biggest media group Grupo Clarin (CLA.BA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and often criticizes news media, said the new broadcast law would challenge private companies' domination of the airwaves. "Freedom of expression can't become freedom to extort (and) press freedom can't be confused with freedom for press owners," she said in a speech at the presidential palace. "This bill is for every one of us who wants to live in a more democratic and plural Argentina," she added.

The reform bill, which Fernandez launched in March, would allocate a third of broadcast frequencies to private companies, a third to state broadcasters and the rest to nonprofit organizations such as churches and universities. It would also limit the number of licenses any one company can hold and aim to guarantee quotas for Argentine-made music, films and programs.

Leftist groups have welcomed the government proposal, but critics say the reform is ill-timed and politically motivated. "(This bill) was only agreed between people with the same point of view," said Julio Barbaro, a former head of state broadcast regulator Comfer. "They're looking for war with this bill ... I hope Congress doesn't vote on it," he told reporters.

Fernandez lost control of Congress in a June mid-term vote, but the newly elected lawmakers do not take their seats until December. It will likely be harder for the government to pass controversial measures when the new legislature is in place. Much of the suspicion over the government's motives stems from its spat with Grupo Clarin, one of Latin America's largest media conglomerates and the company that analysts say stands to lose most from the proposed reform.

The group's leading newspaper Clarin and television channel TN have become increasingly critical of the government, and Fernandez dealt another blow to the group by taking over soccer broadcast rights that had been owned by a Clarin partnership. Fernandez, who has boosted state control of the economy by nationalizing private pensions and the top airline, is suspicious of the traditional media like many leftist leaders in Latin America. (With additional reporting by Guido Nejamkis, editing by Vicki Allen) -- From Reuters
Community media animation from Argentina.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rosamonde Anin Somuah Speaks about Community Radio

Rosamonde is a PHD student in Canada from Ghana.

John Downing on the Various Terms for Community Media

This interview was taped by Harold Secue and Victoria Maldonado in July, 2009, at the Our Media conference held in Medellin, Colombia. Many of the participants were asked which of the many terms (participatory media, citizens' media, social change media, etc) they preferred. John Downing is editing a book on Social Change media. Downing is the author of two volumes of Radical Media. He is a professor at the University of Southern Illinois.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Montes de Maria Colectivo de Comunicacion

Chilca, one of the students of the Escuela Audiovisual Infantil frames the shot. Photo from Tomando Conciencia

This July the Our Media group met in Medellin, Colombia. Among the presentations were films from Montes de Maria. Children at the Escuela Audiovisual Infantil in that region have made many films addressing issues of concern to children.
This interview with Maria Eugenia Lora Muñoz, who started as a student in the program, was produced by Victoria Maldonado and Harold Secué at the conference in Medellin. In it Maria Eugenia describes the workshops and how the themes and distribution means are chosen by the children themselves.
Monie listens to the community radio station. Photo from Tomando Conciencia

The following clip is part of a series made at the Escuela about the rights of children. Each episode of the series ilustrates one right. This one is about the right for children to have time to play and have friends.

Some of the films produced by the children are on youTube.

The school has a vegetable garden and this segment shows how a group of children gather ingredients to make soup, including unlocking the school to pick some tomatos.

A similar focus on food and school nutrition in New York City is in What's on Your Plate."The audience follows two seventh graders as they make the journey that food takes, from the farm to CSAs and farmer’s markets, to schools and into the home. Sadie and Safiyah meet all the people involved in feeding the tremendous appetite of nine million New Yorkers. Throughout the film, the girls explore some essential questions: Why does food that is bad for us exist? Why can’t everyone eat healthy, non-processed food all the time?"--From the Slow Food blog.