The 140 character activism- Hashtag as part of public awareness campaigns

Social media activism has at least since the political protest on Tahrir square in Egypt become an efficient tool for people to participate and contribute to an online media platform, thus creating own online communication channels to maintain the spirit of a revolution. As expressed in the article The revolution will be twittered: ´You cannnot stop people any longer. You cannot control them any longer. They bypass your established media, they can broadcast to one another, they can organize as never before. It may be true that the possibilities by social media platforms as Twitter can be of benefit for the civil society as the media of them and for them, but on the other hand four years after Tahrir the debate if there is a real power of social media in a revolution to change an existing system is ongoing and it does not seem there is any clear answer if yes or no.

It may be courageous to proclaim that only social media have helped revolutions like in Tahrir, rather it must have more been an interplay of more factors. But what social media activism shows is that Twitter or other social media networks can accelarate the effects of such protests and serve as models for further activism on Twitter. For many media activists the hashtags can be a way of how to draw attention to any important issue that may be neglected or downplayed by traditional media. The use of  hashtags on Twitter may be created to raise public awareness about any current issue in the world.

In the last year we could wittness many of these kind of Twitter activism via hashtags that have gone very viral. The #Ferguson was a parallel reaction to the protests in the USA about the jury decision in the Michael Brown case shooting by a police officer that lead to Michael Brown´s death. The initial hashtag further in days transformed into #blacklivesmatter and other related hashtags, that focused on raising awareness or stir the discussion over police treatment of African-Americans. According to some author´s it was Twitter that in case of Fergusson put a light on the issue, that may have otherwise been downplayed or even forgotten. Moreover as said by Desmond-Harris from Vox the hashtag virality put the issue on media agenda: ´Twitter, Instagram, and Vine have given McKesson and others without existing platforms or influential contacts a tool to transform age-old racial justice issues into major national news´. The same year we saw another Twitter action to raise the agenda of what the world is talking about. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag was there to virtually stir the debate about the return of the kidnapped Nigerian girls or to create more pressure on official bodies to take steps to free the girls. This hashtag campaign became so viral, that even the first lady Michelle Obama has been seen to support it as well as many other famous people and celebrities.

These and many other even current examples like the hashtag for the major earthquake in Nepal show that when we focus on activism on Twitter there really is something called as ´hashtag activism´- the essence of 140 characters to spurt public debates and awareness campaigns. According to Phillip Howard from the Digital Activism Research Project the ´hashtag activism´ can also be described as ´…what happens when someone tries to raise public awareness of a political issue using some clever or bitting keyword on social media´. The itself power of these kind of campaign like the online revolution debates are quit interlinked and seem to have the same dillemas, about whether such campaigns using hashtags can actually bring a real change or if they are just civic or public PR tools to support a cause or an issue, but the actual happening should come not from an online world but from real life policies and actions. But one way or another the ´hashtag activism´ as the latest form of online activism is I think about to stay to let people participate and make them part of the online activism movement.


´Hashtag Activism: What does it mean for the public sphere´ In Talking Politics, accessed at:

Sullivan, A. (2009) “The Revolution will be Twitted”, The Atlantic, accessed at:

Can Wikipedia really challenge traditional knowledge ´gatekeepers´?

´Broadly speaking, the most intensive scrutiny has centered on two main issues: Wikipedia’s breathtaking growth and popularity as a basic reference for a remarkably wide sweep of topics in numerous languages; and persistent worries about its quality – its credibility, accuracy, validity, and even (among philosophers) its epistemic value´. (Lievrouw,2011:201)

I think this in a nutshell represents what Wikipedia is nowadays, a source of vast of information of any kind, which but at the same time is a target of long-lasting dilemma whether these information are qualitative enough to compete. I think I am not the only person who on a regular basis visits Wikipedia and goes first to Wikipedia to learn about something unknown. It has became almost routine for Internet users to use Wikipedia, the easy and  encyclopedic way of Wikipedia can give ´information seekers´ as me the starting point to learn. The popularity of Wikipedia may, but in a big portion stem from its commons, being a project of commons knowledge, where knowledge is produced by amateurs and not knowledge ´gatekeepers´ in form of credibilited authors, publishing houses or other traditional links that have the power over knowledge distribution.

On the other hand from my experience during my student life, I many times crossed personal and academic struggle how and if to use Wikipedia as a source of information in my assignment papers or essays. It seems to always come down to the topic of ´not being a trustworthy source´. Thus then when I elaborate about the role of commons knowledge project such as Wikipedia as being a challenge to the traditional institutionalized knowledge and expert authorities as expressed by Lievrouw, it leaves me doubtful. Doubtful about the commons knowledge projects power to rival traditional keepers of knowledge. It makes me question if a collective effort of ordinary people ´information amateurs´ can challenge the dominant means of knowledge institutions. Lievrouw mentions writers who say that collective knowledge enhances the autonomy and liberty of individuals and streghtens democratic practises against technocratic elites, but at the same time he stresses the common issues associated with commons knowledge projects. Firstly Lievrouw says that commons knowledge is volunteer- based, thus it may contribute to the ´free labor´ outlook problem of nowadays creative industries. Secondly that information on websites such as Wikipedia may not be always so democratic, since they also depend on anonymous sources and reproductions of information, thus this leads to the third and for me personally the biggest issue- ´the no guarantee of quality´.

One of the more idealistic ideas about Wikipedia is many times connected to enhancing the democracy with being more free and unbiased source of information than those traditional ones, because it is constituted by a collective effort and not single or priviliged group of professionals. But Wikipedia´s articles are based on many sources some of which include also as their basis ´institutional´ work of some academics, that may already be biased in one direction. Athe same time even the ´amateurs´ itself go in their contribution process to Wikipedia thought sort of gatekeeping, they pick up some articles while neglecting others.

I think its not possible to 100% proclaim that Wikipedia is an alternative and that is the only thing Wikipedia represents, since it at some point will apply a sort of ´filtering of information´ and apply a more like traditional knowledge gatekeepers policies and rules of how to contribute to the website so the information are not just a collection of any information, but trustworthy ones. I think more what Wikipedia can be if not a sole alternative to other power knowledge sources, at least for me is a good basic starting point of entry into my process of getting new knowledge that can direct me to many other usefull links also outside of Wikipedia. Wikipedia I think thus serves as a complementary source of information to traditional sources and thus go hand in hand with them rather than against them.

The idea of a collective people information production site however more than traditional knowledge gatekeepers serve as a platform for participation. People can be part of information distribution channel as contributors, editors and this certainly does in some ways contribute to free expression, free entry of ideas, any ideas, that would not be possible for an amateur contributor, to  express in or break into the structures of old knowledge gatekeepers. Wikipedia despite of the criticism over bugs of reliability and quality, I think does not take its fame of being one of the top commons knowledge projects, being a big information playground to learn, discover and participate. I am sure next time I will encounter any unknown term I will again not hesitate to search for it on Wikipedia, as I believe will do many other Internet users daily.


Lievrouw, L. (2011) Alternative and Activist Media. Cambridge: Polity Press

Digital storytelling: Mapping human stories

Stories are all around us and they constitute our life. We encounter people to get to know them also though their story of life, while we at the same time uncover our own personal stories, that had an impact on our life to other people. And the basic assumption of digital storytelling is exactly that, that everyone has a story to tell and that those stories are powerful. In our stories we may remember an unforgetable moment of finding the true love of our life, but then…It may be a story about a dear person that…It may be the vacation when you were a child when suddenly…All of these stories make sense of who we are.

As said by Lambert: ´The story become a way to find, if not a re-statement of rooted identity, at least a new center of gravity.´ Further as his experiences during the workshops of Center for Digital Storytelling, he says the re-telling of an incident of trauma, or a situation of achievement, or even a seemingly mundane interaction is made to service the establishment of new equilibrium – a homeostasis – in the storyteller’s sense of self. Thus that the the telling of story can serve for the storyteller as a form of therapy. And then when we move from the moment of the  narrative of the story and combine it with the latest technology, we may grasp that even a at first ordinary story may via images, videos or graphics create a complex picture of the story. All the possible combinations of visuals, sound and the narrative can give the story the essence, bring the story alive, make it more emotional, highlight the uniqueness of the story.

Furthermore even a single individual story can have the impact to be related to a much larger issue, in short digital story can be part of a larger community of people that can relate to the message of the story. And this is one of the aspect why the digital storytelling can be adopted to be a newer form of media engagement. As Lambert says digital storytelling is to support of construction of a healthy individual identity and moving on from the dysfuntional views of dominant media that count on shaping our desires and fears and reshape our identiy as Homo consumerus. And Burgess highlight also the diferentiation point of digitall storytelling to a documentary:

´Digital Storytelling as a ‘movement’ is explicitly designed to amplify the ordinary voice. It aims not only to remediate vernacular creativity, but to legitimate it as a relatively autonomous and worthwhile contribution to public culture. This marks it as an important departure from even the most empathetic ‘social documentary’ traditions.´

The workshop that Mr.Lambert and his colleagues in the Center for Digital Storytelling do is to use the digital options nowadays that are affordable such as video editing tools and publishing and distribution platforms that internet offers such as Vimeo of Youtube to emphasize the participatory media practices. One of the other feature of digital storytelling is that by telling a story digitally the storyteller can learn new digital skills. The differentiating point about a documentary and a digital story is that it is being narratited in the first voice by the storyteller itself. This way most of the stories from Makers, the largest collection of women stories is being produced. The women storytellers in this video are there to serve as an ispiration and maybe motivation, such as the story of Katherine G. Johnson, the NASA mathematician, who grow up in times where for African American girls the options were being a nurse or a teacher. Her story as other stories in on the website thought this stories celebrate women and empower others. Similarly the Bristol stories project releases digital stories about various themes from different people that come from Bristol, thus made by local people that tell their stories about people, places and events that are important to them.


Lambert, J. (2013) Digital Storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community, New York: Routledge

Burgess, J. (2006) Hearing Ordinary Voices: Cultural studies, Vernacular Creativity and Digital Storytelling in Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 20 (2):pp 201-2014

Press play- the power of participatory video

Chris Lunch from the in his TEDx Talk asked the audience how many of them do have a video camera. Obviously the raised hands did only support the already guessed fact that nowadays the majority of people does. Many of us indeed have a video camera on our phones, maybe even daily with us in the bag or pocket, but do we actually use this technology to the fullest? Do we use the video tool in order to make a change in our surrounding environment? And are we actually aware of the potential of the video to contribute to our communities, whether its a local neighboring community, gay community, ethnic community or any other? Does a video camera give us the chance to be the video film makers we wanna see and shoot videos we wanna see about people we know with problems that are familiar to us?

The great power of a participatory video in comparison with video documentaries or video production aimed for the commercial and mainstream TV channels, is the power of freedom to speak about anything and anywhere. Participatory videos are not limited in terms of space they can give to certain people like officials or politicians, they give space to anyone in the community, especially ordinary people. Participatory videos are neither limited in terms of topics they cover. But one of the major point about participatory videos is that the people about whom the video is become itself the producers/directors of the video, they are the ones who unfold the script as they go along with the shooting. Thus the communities are a crucial part of the production process, they are not pasivated by the video camera, but rather activated in their roles as producers, but also as important features of the stories being told. I think this is also one of the reason why Mr.Lunch in his speech says when pointing to the camera: ´´This is not a video camera …. this is a torch hoping communities to research the issues they are facing, uncover the solutions…” The immediate personal experience of the communities directly in the video production process empowers them to brainstorm the problems together, because when we put it in simple words does a professional anthropologist living in for example an African tribe for three month know more about the issues of the community than the community itself? Participatory video thus I think also promotes the idea that communities can be trained to effectively use the video camera, that learning it should not be seen as an obstacle to raise the voice. Instead video trainings give local communities the know how to unfold the issues and problems they face more in depth than any other outside professional filmmaker. The comfort of being interviewed from peer to peer additionaly gives the interviewers the comfort of familiarity when being filmed.

Furthermore what I think participatory videos can bring to a community, but also to audiences is the message that anyone can be and is the teller of his own story and those who learn the ability to use the tool of video can make this stories part of what is called “citizen media”. As said by Clemencia Rodriguez participatory video productions can provoke: processes of identity construction, personal and group empowerment, demystification of mainstream media, reversal of power roles, and increasing collective strength. (Rodriguez, 2001:127). Similarly as the access television programming, participatory video can be seen as part of  larger group of radical media, and that these participatory video projects contribute to building up a participatory democracy that involves citizens in the core.


Lunch C. (2013) ´This is not a video camera´, at TEDxTalks

Rodriguez, C. (2001) ´Colombian women producing video stories´, in Fissures in Mediascape: An International Study of Citizen´s Media. Cresskil, New Jersey: Hampton Press

Stein, L. (1998) ´Democratic ´Talk´, Access Television and Participatory Political Communication´, in The Public/Javnost, vol. 5 (2), pp. 21-34


The modern carnivals of Vendetta protesters

Across the centuries, those on the losing ends of the political and economic spectrum have periodically, counteracted repressive forms of governmet with carnivalesque forms of protest. (Bruner, 2005:1)

Thought the history as the author of Carnivalesque Protest and the Humorless State, M. Lane Bruner says, carnival forms of protest have been challenging the powers of state via humor, from political carnivals in the Ancient Rome, in the Middle Age until the Orange Alternative´s carnivalesque protest in Poland during the communism era. According to Claire Tancons: “Carnival hardly exists in the United States anymore…However, the carnivalesque—as a medium of emancipation and a catalyst for civil disobedience—is alive and well, and these contemporary carnivals have retained their rebellious potential.One of the contemporary mask symbols of such carnivalesque disobedience nowadays  that makes a common line for lot of contemporary protests around the world I think is the famous mask of Guy Fawkes used by some demonstrators in the movements against the social and economic inequality in the world- Occupy Wall Street, but seen also during the Arab Spring or Gezi park protests. Gradually with the extensive usage during the various political protests, this mask has become some kind of symbol of resisting the existing state or government powers, an icon that stands for anti-government, anti-establishment sentiments or against a form of state tyranny. And why did the protesters actually decide to use this type of masks to convey a message of an anti-thesis to governments?

The popularity of usage of Guy Fawkes masks in relation to protest movements comes from the itself iconic movie, where V for Vendetta, fighter or the anti-hero tries to stear a revolution against the in movie proclaimed fascism regime of the UK in 2020. The  V´s inspiration for the upraising is drawn from the Gunpowder Plot in the 1605´s England intended to kill the King James I. But it was the Anonymous internet hacktivist group that largely spreaded the usage of this masks and popularized it, as they adopted it as their form of coverage of identity. Individuals that feel connected with the ideas of the Anonymous group or are itself members wear them in public. Furthermore the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been seen worn one of these masks on the London Occupy movement. To question who wears this carnivalesque mask seems to signify that it´s not just an exclusivity of protesters, but to simply disseminate a non-agreement or critisism coming even from politicians to policians pointing out with humor the problematics of an issue. The members of Polish government worn for example Guy Fawke´s masks as an antistance towards the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. I think this can also tell us more about the fact that this mask can be firmly seen as part of current political carnivals. As pointed out by Jonathan Jones : Carnival is entertaining and opens up questions that cannot usually be asked. Guy Fawkes has become the king of a carnival of questions. Far from being sinister, his mask is a jokey icon of festive citizenship.


Bruner, M.L. (2005) “Carnivalesque Protest and the Humorless State”, in Text&Performance Quarterly, Vol.25, No.2, pp.136-155

Jones, J. (2011) Occupy´s V for Vendetta protest mask is a symbol of festive citizenshipin The Guardian

Tancons, C. (2011) “Occupy Wall Street: Carnival Against Capital? Carnivalesque as Protest Sensibility” in e-flux

Olson, P. (2012) ” Amid ACTA Outcry Politicians Don Anonymous Guy Fawkes Masks” in Forbes

V for Vendetta movie



radical media;jammıng the polıtıcal:reverse engıneerıng,hackıng domınant codes

Radıcal media could be thought as something complementary-modifier thing instead of it is trying to destruct mainstream tendencies or replace them completely.It is an important step on the way of democracy. glitter of intelligence because it does include creativity, sensitive adjusments-modifies on thin string even sometimes without  budget or in the situation of contingency which is based on any rapid political, social, educational, financial events in country -city-region-local arena or in globe.Dances, Street theatre, Street performances,cartoons,posters,parodies,satire,performance arts,graffitis,murals,popular songs and many more can be used for radical media-alternative media,jammıng the wrong political approaches,reverse engineering and most importantly hacking the dominant codes in society which are thought-perceived as harmful .These alternative struggles are not just aiming political distortion in country but also for distortions-corruptions by the mean of values, habits, social tendencies, some social behaviours, intolarance in public for some minorities,sternness who are applied to different view holders.Radical media wants to be voice also for all these aside from political wars.Radical media already encourages participation, readers become writers, consumers become producers, watchers sometimes become part of work and it is againts to hierarchical order in media and instead they advocate horizontal structure so thats why it is much more close to mentality of democracy.On the other hand  ın contrast right wing of political mind which is skipping sometimes to standpatter-preservative interventions , radical media struggles mostly remembered with left views by the mean of being socialist, being communist instead of capitalist, being proggressive instead of being standpatter and so on.We may use the term of ‘counterhegomony’ in here.Fight-struggle-race for hegomony.Hegomony of particular class, ethnicity,social group, gender, political ideology and existence.Radical media sometimes try to generate counter hegomony or create a balance in society by preparing suitable-fair ground to lay the matters on table .Furthermore of course the things have got also technological aspects like computers, social web sites, blogs, all internet features are waiting for being used in creative hands.This is not just about new media versus traditional media but also creativity versus stagnation maybe.Without serious big productions-incomes, extreme number of worker , radical media or alternative voice of Street is proof of always there are somethings to do.When we come to the title about reverse engineering , we can say community media, new media, radical media or graffıtı-street performance based things all have same target which is building reverse engineering .Reverse engineering term is already connected with counter hegomony term in society and political stuffs.İt is about having contrary consciousness .Radical media is much more interested with reality which mainstream media do not always reflect enough according to them. Jammıng the some political things is also connected with democracy if they have wrong- provocative, defected,corrupted, inadequate, incomplete messages tp society or particular minority-community.Hacking the dominant codes means being against to blindly dominant culture, hegomony, values, views in society by creating much more awareness with events-alternative ways aside from mainstream media channels.


community radio versus commercial one( week 5 alternative radio)

Since alternative media understanding in progress alternative/community radio broadcasting has always been thought as important part of it in addition to alternative press.Of cource as finance, format structure,governance, process or settlement part are different from mainstream-proffesional radio broadcasting.Naturally there are also differences among United States community radio broadcasting and the ones in Europe or in Latin America but in roots their aims more or less same.Reaching particular communities, minorities, repressed groups, create voice about feminism, different sexual tendencies, reaching particular racial-ethnic groups or distribute different tastes of political beliefs, musical stuffs or world views-news are can be considered as their common targets no matter where that community radio broadcasting takes a place in world.But to summarize main difference among Us and Euraope in basic we can say by looking at the article of David Dunaway : ‘ North American stations founded on a philosophy of open access,amateurism, and direct service are today retooling themselves to sere larger audiences by beefing up their marketing skills and staff.In Europe , community stations seem to be exploring the North American community radio model at the moment when many US stations are forced to abondon it for more commercial formats.’This is just like role replacement among them.Moreover  slipping to commercial formats is very dangerous for basic structure of community radio because it is against to it’s soul and mentality.Community radio is seeking primarily to put front what is stayed behind as values, beliefs, habity, lifestyles, views and more instead of putting to first floor the things like profits, high elevel incomes or big advertising jobs.Furthermore it is not just about geographical differences but also time differences because there are serious diversities among 1970’s-1980’s and 90’s.Lets compare 1974 and 1999.In  1974 as governance we see anarchosyndicalism but in 1999 there is hierarchy as proffesionals are supervising proffesionals.In 70’s while it is largely local, in 90’s largely national-international.As a format we had seen eclectic, patchwork, folk, freeform,radical free speech, we saw in 90’s consistent, streamed programs ,liberal-unexcepttionable structure.In 1974 we encounter with as funding ;local , grassroots donations, help of local institutions but in 90’s national help,local underwriting declining federal/state funds.While we see identity as local, responsive freewheeling, amateur station loyalty access in 70’s, ın 1999 we see regional structure,marketable, proffesionalist program loyalty and production values.Taxes, having licence agreements, state’s donation-fund cuts or income cuts are parts of community-alternative radio broadcasting and moreover if we consider this radio understanding is closer to left side more  and then we see right political side and conservative groups can be enemy for community-alternative radio broadcasting since they try to labelling them as marginal-extreme ,harmful producers for society.Community radio is perceiving it’s audience mass as also producer, opinion source, sometimes volunteer workers, fund-donation providers their board subscribers and many more. This is the proof of also their non-hierarchical but horizontal structure or producements and progress too.Maybe 1970’s can be called as era of experiment and test, 80’s are more radical times and with 1990’s we see more chancing structure and understanding as they are skipping to being  more proffesional settlement and commercial understanding to survive.

Beyond feminism in the women community radios

In 2014 the Bristol based community radio Ujima Radio aired a show ´Women on the Waves´ as a look back on women in broadcasting from Bristol´s FEM FM  until the present time. FEM FM was one of the first solely female radio station in Britain, as said by Kate Coyer started to broadcast in 1992, in time when women were under-represented in both mainstream and community stations- only 22% of full-time paid staff in community radio across Europe were women (Coyer, 2007:22). The question if in 2015 women as broadcasters are under-represented is still open. But the activities of UK´s Soundwomen networking platform or the FEM FM Future projects like the Ujima Radio collaboration in order to raise a future generation of female broadcasters, only shows that even thought women positions in the broadcasting may have raised, the encouraging of women to enter the broadcasting and supporting them has its strong base  also 20 years later.

The problem of female under-representing on air is but not just a matter of equaling the balance between men and female presenters, but increasing the voice of females in general. When talking about the differences of commercial radio and community radio this is the domain of the community radios who localize and specialize on and support a certain community like women. As presented in the article about the Montreal conference of Community-Oriented Radio Broadcasters from Peter M. Lewis, community radios are a reaction toward established models either of the state broadcasting system or the commercial one. Furthermore in comparison with commercial radio, that tend to neglect important ´minority´ voices, for community radios needs are crucial.

One of unique examples of a community radio is Astute Radio. In their broadcasting they give space to women and girls from minority communities to challenge gender and other stereotypes. When I look on the broad issues that this radio deals with it leaves me, only but thinking that a female community radio station is not just about feminism, but about giving space to stories of women that any other women can relate to. From abolishing the myths of a female scientist, overcoming a burnout syndrom to overcoming the loss of job. The interviews of women, various women from different backgrounds with diverse stories are inspiring, encouraging and hardly being find in this form in any other commercialy driven radio station. Astute Radio would perfectly fit into the framework of Maria Eugenia Chávez´s views about a community radio.

Community radios are rich with stories of women. All of these tales could fill hours and hours of broadcasts and women’s voices would be the conduit for bringing these talking stories to life. Thus, it would be a radio broadcast story about women and radio.(Chávez, Unesco: Gender and newsroom cultures)

One of such stories of a women and a community based radio is also the launching of Nisaa Gaza, Palestinian  female radio. Islam Barbar, a 26-year old women thanks to a grant from UK, Palestinian NGO that gave her the technic and with volunteers made her dream about a community radio that would deal with women rights true. But at the same time the presence of men and women in her radio station is also about a message that gender issues are not the exclusivity of women. (Kutab, Huffington post blog). The empowerment of women like Islam Barbar and other women though a community radio is one of the scopes of the World Association of Community Broadcasters that is supporting the ideas of women-led iniciatives around the world.


About Astute Radio

Coyer, K., Dowmunt, T. and Fountain, A. (2007) The Alternative Media Handbook. London: Routledge

Kuttab, D. (2014) ´Palestinian trying to rebuild progressive women radio´, in Huggington Post blog.

Lewis, P. (1984) ´Community Radio: The Montreal Conference and after´, in Media, Culture &  Society, vol. 6, pp. 137-150.

Maria Eugenia Chávez. ´Scheherezades: a thousand an one stories of women in community radio´, in UNESCO: Gender and Newsroom cultures

The Bristol Post (2014) ´Women on the Waves: Ujima Radio and Fem FM present the next generation of radio talent´, in The Bristol Post


The voices from undeground. Samizdats in the former Czechoslovakia

During the communism period in Czechoslovakia the press faced in many ways censorship and was as in other countries of the former Soviet Union part of a whole system of controlling the communication. As stated by Downing: “The leading reason for the significance of the radical media in this case is that Soviety system particularly relied on its channeling and strict control of communication and media, its use of them as a transmission belt for the party´s view of reality” (Downing, 2000:355). Some of the civil activists however decided to produce an “underground press” instead, called samizdat to circumvent the censorship. Samizdat is a word that comes from Russian language and refers to underground publications either written by hand or typewriter distributed from hand to hand and produced only in limited prints. Mostly the activity of samizdat press was done by civil society, those who produced this kind of press were called dissidents, people who oposed the current regime, expressed their ideas about the regime and were often for their activities punished or imprisoned. Samizdat was common in the region of the former Soviet Union countries under the communism regime.

In the former Czechoslovakia samizdat publications started at the beginning of the 1960´s. The raise of this kind of press started after the suppresion of the Prague Spring in the 1968 and invasion of the Soviet Russian troops to Czechoslovakia. After the suppresion of the liberation, Czechoslovakia was put under the “normalization” process which meant a heavy censorship of the freedom of the press. The Office for printing and information was establish to ensure that information that are in contradiction with the intern and international politics of the state will not be published.

In Slovakia famous “underground press” consisted of Christian religious samizdat publications that tried to express their belief under the communism regime which penalized and followed the church, 1982 is the beginning of the samizdat magazine Náboženstvo a súčasnosť (Religion and present) and other 26 publications of samizdat press, 23 from this were Christian oriented. The prints of one of the samizdat religious publications were around 200 to 2000 pieces, publications were mostly printed in one of the biggest ofset print machines in the capital, Bratislava. In 1987 the religious samizdat reached its peak in Slovakia with the publications 31 požiadaviek moravských katolíkov (31 requirements of Moravian Christians) that wanted to ensure the freedom of religious expression in the former Czechoslovakia.

In Czech republic “underground press” was formed around universities and faculties and produced by students. Most of them differed from the official press in the way they experimented with the content, discussed taboo topics, open debates, critics and published also texts of forbiden authors of that time. One of the “real” samizdats that started at the university but later on went beyond was samizdat Revue 88. It was produced and distributed by students of  the university in Brno, who wrote under their real names and even wrote the adress where their lived, which was unique and courageous. Many of the students were threatened to be kicked out of the universities or imprisoned.

The reason of the rise of the samizdat publications in the former Czechoslovakia was the political situation during the 1970-1980´s under the “normalization” and the refusal of the official ideology of the socialism that was serving the rulling elite and its official culture that was supportive of the regime. The unofficial culture in the form of literature and press deleloped at one hand to samizdat, authors that were producing illegaly, underground from the state and on the other hand exile authors, raising their voices outside of the state. The representatives were often isolated, they and their families and friends intimidated, authors of such pres were forbiden to travel or sometimes even work, they were criminalized and in the public eye presented as enemies of the western agents or deviants. Most of the time they were also under the constant police control. Even thought of all this repressive methods against the “underground press”, samizdat literature and press enabled to enact at that time debates and topics that were completely absent in the public or forbiden. They were the critical minority who stood up against the wrongs of the regime and pointed a finger on the rulling elites.



Čarnoburský J. (2005). Odpor proti komunizmu. Impulz Revue

Downing, J. (2000) Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements. CA: Sage

Posset, J. Česká samizdatová periodika 1968-1989. Brno

Soukopová J. (2010). Zázrak jménem Revue 88 aneb Když samizdat delali studenti.


alternative solutions (week 4-alternative press)

Alternative media may include cinema ,tv movies, advertising campaigns or radio broadcasting channels but when the matter is to encounter with surviving problems , alternative press has as much trouble as others above.Magazine or newspaper , from finding publisher to finding trustable distribution channels , from gaining volunteer talented guys to work with and make them loyal and faithful, from facing with financial-economical problems since denying advertising support as looking for gifts, donations,grants to be able to handle political issues by staying out of mainstream media circle.Being socialist, being communist or being left  focused are some frequent features of alternative press too because it is also kinda against to narcotizing politics of main stream media-press by giving particular things in always in particular shape by ignoring some facts.Anti racism, feminism, gay supoorts, sexual tendencies, minority rights, immigrant problems, lower class situations, minority’s different values, habits, world views or political perspectives are included and considered as vital in alternative press.Alternative press has to find some different distribution channels to give a voice or publisher.Today’s capitalism worl, under the hegemony of mainstream media , it is so hard to find alternative publisher-distribution channels naturally.Most of alternative press magazines-newspaper had pretty short life because without regular serious income and just with some donations, funds,grants or reader’s help you can not survive long.Alternative press is not seeking for commercial-advertising convey to audience-readers but seeking for conveying ideas, ideologies, alternative world views so it became hard to keep living.Alternative press is working also as  community based thing which care too much reader’s opinions, ideas, their letters which are being posted to newspaper or magazine.İt is based on also interactive, horizontal structure that readers can be writers and consumers also become producers when they give ideas, offers to magazine for example.In England under the roof of socialist movement idea the Red Pepper magazine was a good example to show how hard to survive as being alternative press.Red Pepper had faced many financial,economical political problems during its life but ın everytime when it falls down , it succeded to come back as being much more powerful, experienced because the workers did market reasearch, surveys, reader researches, following expectations and by settle the balance between taking advertising-commercial stuff and spreading alternative informations,ideologies or putting good balance among political tendencies ,election terms, and showing themselves much more bigger than really they are to create big voice by the name of labor part, socialist movement , standing against exploiting mainstream press -capitalist ideology.Today in 2000’s we have still many alternative press-magazines-newspapers,texts and so on but still without ignoring advertising, commercial stuff and without taking particular political support-govermental support or regular serious financial income it is so hard to survive or reach bigger environment.One side we may see proffesional workers but on the other hand they have maybe non proffesional but full of passion, loyalty, volunteer, dedicated guys in alternative press so this fact can create a bit better balance among them.Alternative press is carrying the motto on even its name so it could always find alternative ways to make their voice heard and reach particular community in creative ways.