Underground Press

Definition

Underground press is the independently published and distributed underground papers. It’s a system of clandestine printing and distribution of dissident or banned literature. The underground papers are published by independent insiders and they report on the lifestyle changes and attitudes in a much more radical and authentic manner. They are interested in the counterculture and they try to define the image and identity of this culture. Actually the underground press does not say what you thought but it expresses what you feel.

The history

After the 1960s social movements emerged and the young culture began to interest in social actions, the mainstream media lost its power and began to be ignored by the people. Thus, people who wanted to learn what was happening in Vietnam or in USA politics, or who wanted to learn about the protests or rallies, or who wanted to read and learn about underground music and movies leaned to alternative press. For a decade underground press had a highly important place in the 1960s counterculture because it was the only virtual monopoly on stories and perspectives. According to McMillan’s thesis; “underground press helped to build the counterculture idea, the rise of the anti-war activism and the new left”.

Some Examples:

–          A bi-weekly newspaper published in Canada. The Underground Press.

http://www.undergroundpress.ca/

–          A satirical humor magazine in UK. Oz.

http://www.ozit.co.uk/

–          An underground newspaper in UK. International times.

http://internationaltimes.it/

–          Underground newsppaer in US. Avatar.

http://www.trussel.com/lyman/avatar/avatar.htm

References:

1-      Shaw, R. (2011). The 1960s Underground Press Lives On. Retrieved from: http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=8928

2-      Underground Press. The British Library. Retrieved from: http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/21cc/counterculture/undergroundpress/undergroundpress.html

3-      Underground Press. Wikipedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_press

Social movements, media and the public sphere

Social Media & Social Movement

New media Networks as a means of social sharing Networks’ use are increasing every day and the real life has been transformed to the virtual environment. In this new media period the circulation and sharing of information can be provided easier when it is compared to the past and the users can actively share whatever they have. The users as subject can either be the source of the news or the reviewer of that news. This environment not only provides people’s attendance in the aim of such issues like daily news, information or communication but also it provides them to be an active participant in the issues like politics, ideology, economics and culture. The new media networks have a sensational and rapid structure. This new network and reporting have a very dynamic structure that can break down all the rules that have been determined by the order. Social media is such a field that the only editor is yourself while you are publishing the news and there isn’t any self-censorship. Social media is a revolutionary phenomenon revolts against the dominant media and traditional order of the media.

Social media has an active role in most of the social events and hosts a great variety of activities. The new emerging media derivations have an important place in the dissemination of information. Social media tool has brought together both the people and the communities that are organized for the same purpose. It creates an environment that links social movements and accelerate the actions. It has created a media channel in which activists publish their news, actions and their own productions. Social media is highly important and effective for social movements in every country.

Social movements including different forms of regulations, strive for accelerating, preventing or reversing social changes with different strategies of behavior and mobilization. Social movement is a concept which expresses the activities of individuals who are more or less organized and who want convey their aims to the public agenda. The reason for social media emergence is; the participants’ deprivation of the tools that participate in the decision making processes of a party or a political organization as the collective actors.  Social movements may occur because of putting pressure on the managers and the lack of a democratic culture system. Generally the actors of social movements are the people who are non-formal and not organized. Social movements depend on social media which sustains and extends the networks. The Arab spring has also demonstrated that online social networks and social media have become a highly important efficient platform for social movements.

Video: Arab Spring and Social Media

References:

1-      Babacan, M. E. & Haşlak, İ. & Hira, İ. Sosyal Medya ve Arap Baharı. Retrieved from: http://www.aid.sakarya.edu.tr/uploads/Pdf_2011_3.pdf

2-      Toplumsal Hareket. Vikipedi. Retrieved from: http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toplumsal_hareket

3-      Kılıç, S. (2009). Kamuoyu Oluşum Sürecinde Sosyal Hareketler ve Medya. Niğde Üniversitesi İİBF Dergisi; 2:2, s: 150-167. Retrieved from: http://iibfdergi.nigde.edu.tr/attachments/article/117/10.pdf

Online/Internet Revolutions

The reason that makes internet technology different from other technologies and the factors that enable the internet technology has developed that rapidly, are the internet users who are very open to develop this technology and who are always in an interaction with the technology. This difference cause Internet to develop and change itself rapidly and quietly invade our lives.  The internet has been developing and spreading so fast that nobody can catch up its speed. The speed of the enlargement of the internet has been very surprising both in the world and in our country. Even the wireless connection has begun to spread when the wired connections have not been exactly settled yet. Moreover, it was not too expensive like the other new technologies. It has become cheap very quickly unlike the other new technologies which were highly expensive when they were first produced. Internet has already become the biggest revolution in the world made by human beings. Internet has replaced its indispensable place in our lives. Furthermore, it has begun to cause some generation conflicts and differences of opinion among people. While some of us have started to use it very efficiently, some of us have not been even aware of that. Grandparents and grandkids, even parents and kids can be given as an example for this generation conflict. Internet has become a virtual copy of our lives. New concepts have come into our lives like; internet shopping, internet dating, chatting on the internet, internet business and making money from internet. We have begun to discuss the problems which Internet causes, without thinking how this revolution has become reality. The children who are interested in computers and internet all day and children who have begun to become asocial day by day are the main concerns of the agenda.

Internet has been a revolutionary tool for the political and social issues as well. The first example can be the political campaign that was carried out over the internet was very effective in the election of the first black prime minister in USA. Another example is the social movement called Arab Spring. We started to feel the impact of the internet with the events that were emerged after Ahmedinehjad’s victory in the elections. Arab spring in which internet was used very effectively and the organization of masses was done over internet we have obviously seen the power of the internet and the revolutions that are done over the internet. Internet has become a place, in which the social movements are discussed and organized and virtual wars break out. The best part of it of course, we are able to do all these things in the comfort of our homes.

Alternative Media

The Difference between Mainstream Media and Alternative Media

What is mainstream media?

The mainstream media usually acts for the voice of the majority. The main aim of the mainstream media is to amuse people. Usually they do not want people to deal with serious things instead they want them to deal with famous people or sports facilities. It is also possible to explain the “Televole” movement with this mainstream media. Generally the mainstream media sees the people as uneducated and silly. According to mainstream media directors the dominated opinion about people is; they should be kept away from the public sphere because if they interfere in the issue they will cause problems, the people’s duty is to be the audience not the participant. Media has started to operate as a commercial business with the effect of the change of capitalist system and the change in the marketing conditions. The aim of the commercial enterprises is to maximize their profits. Therefore, with the changing conditions media only seeks to maximize their profits as a commercial enterprise. Of course mainstream media aims to maximize their profit but their main aim should be giving information, molding public opinions in economical, political and cultural issues, raising awareness of people and guiding people because these are the essential aims of mainstream media. The ones who render this mainstream media to a profitable sector are the holding companies whose only care is the profit.

What is alternative media?

Some segments of the population who are not represented in the globalized media environment have created an alternative media against the mainstream media to make their voices heard by the public. While I am talking about alternative media I don’t just mention the new communication technologies or new mass communication tools but I mean standing against the tradition. Alternative media and alternative press means to be alternative in terms of your perspective and your knowledge. Alternative media is a form of mass communication which rejects or challenges the settled and institutionalized politics Alternative media exhibits the news which the mass media or press do not show, write or explain about with an accurate and reliable understanding on journalism. It can be defined as a media tool which includes the local news of the country and can be an opponent media tool when it is appropriate. Commercial concerns are not important for alternative media unlike the mainstream media. Alternative media gives priority to the local citizens to create a communication channel among them and offers a free, participatory platform for the people who can express their ideas and opinions freely.

PARTICIPATORY/CITIZEN JOURNALISM

Participatory journalism which is also known as citizen journalism, street journalism or public media is the act of citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.” According to Shayne Bowman & Chris Willis “the intent of this citizen participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.” Citizen journalism is a specific form of citizen media as well as user generated content. The spread of the computers and rapid communication systems has induced the people to deal closely with the media. Especially, the fast development of social media networks, provides a new concept all around the world; “amateur reporters”. The citizens have started to spread the news that they gather, the research results that they find by completing them with photographs, to the online news websites and online newspapers. To transfer the videos on YouTube has become a task for people and everyday thousand of videos have begun to be uploaded on YouTube. Everyone sees him/herself as a “journalist”. Rather, the definition of media journalism has changed.

In recent years, the habits of the readers and viewers have changed because of the rapid development of digital technology. Readers, who have been contended just with newspapers in order to get news for many years, have started to change their attitudes when they see the unlimited possibilities of the internet. New and different behavior modals, trends and preferences have emerged with the technology. Today’s reader and consumer is no longer see the news that are imposed on them by the newspapers sufficient. The reader wants to contribute to the news and they want to be the part of the news. The facilities that are offered by the internet and latest models of 3G mobile phones, allows readers to participate increasingly.

The “citizen journalists” have begun to put forward that they are much more objective and they announce the news, which the media does not want to feature, to the public and they claim that they have an important role in the fulfillment of democracy.

The newspapers and the professional journalists, was not very pleased with this “citizen journalism” concept previously. They side against the citizen journalists. But later, they have realized that they can benefit from that news. Then they have decided to evaluate these free sources after a strict control.

Turkey’s first and only citizen journalism program is “Haber Sizsiniz”. The increasing number of citizen journalists, send news to this program from all over Turkey. It broadcasts the news that comes from the audience every week. Haber Sizsiniz meets with its audience every Saturday.

http://www.habersizsiniz.trthaber.com/

http://habersizsiniz.tv/

http://www.trthaber.com/haberekrani/turkiyenin-ilk-ve-tek-vatandas-gazeteciligi-programi-2760.html

References:

1-      Keşişoğlu, G. (2009). Vatandaş Gazeteciliği ve Bloglar. Dünya’da Medya. Retrieved from; http://www.dunya.com/

Alternative computing practices

E-Democracy in Turkey

To start with I want to define what democracy is according to people of a society. Many people support democracy because of a variety of reasons. For some, democracy is a way of protecting the interests of individuals or some groups. For others, democracy is a way to achieve the common good for the society. Some other perspectives towards democracy says that democracy is the best way to decide how to manage a community.

What e-democracy means is; using computer Networks in the management, doing the democratic activities via the computer Networks, using Internet or e-mails in order to participate. Thus, the citizens can defend themselves and can react to some phenomena by using these information and communication technologies.

In order to be successful e-democracy system must perform two important objectives:

1-      To provide access to the informational and political processes, services and short-cuts to the citizens.

2-      Make the passive citizens to get involved in this system by informing and representing the citizen, encouraging them to vote, to provide a counseling service for them, to create a unity and make them to be active in this system.

In order to make e-democracy work appropriately, the technological infrastructure, the regulations and the level of political socialization should be sufficient. In addition to this, in the transition process of the e-democracy, the e-culture should also be prevalent.

In the transition process to e-democracy in Turkey we have some basic problems like; e-culture, political socialization, the lack of legislation, the insufficiency of technological infrastructure and the lack of experts in this area. In Turkey the information technology is being used in business procedures or the citizens use it for playing games or following the magazine etc. Giving feedback on the issues that concern the citizens or follow them through the information technologies has not been common yet in Turkey.  As a society we have a personality that obeys and accepts an authority. We do not have an interrogative, investigator and participatory soul.

The e-democracy project website in Turkey: http://e-democracy-project.net/

References:

1-       Şahin, A. & Temizel, H. & Temizel, M. Türkiye’de Demokrasiden E-Demoraksiye Geçiş Süreci ve Karşılaşılan Sorunlar. Retrieved from;  http://www.siyasaliletisim.org/pdf/edemokrasiyegecis.pdf

 

Tactics of cultural resistance graffiti, jokes, street theatre, and culture jamming

CULTURE JAMMING

Culture jamming, is the act of using existing media such as billboards, bus-ads, posters, and other ads to comment on those very media themselves or on society in general, using the original medium’s communication method. It is based on the idea that advertising is little more than propaganda for established interests, and that there is little escape from this propaganda in industrialized nations.

The most well known form of culture jamming may be the subvertising which can be defined as the creative anti-ads of making parodies of corporate and political advertisements in order to make an ironic statement. these images target a specific audience to whom they wanted to make an enlightenment and make them to think about their decisions. In other words subvertising means sabotaging advertising / political campaigns, the encroachment of multi-national corporations on everyday life, and attacking other high profile targets. It can be considered as a process to create some awareness. the images I have uploaded below can be thought as the political forms of culture jamming. As we can see from the examples subvertising aims to subvert the intended messages of the advertisements. these subvertisings can be completely a new created image or an alteration of an existing one. and it is often done in a satirical way.

ı can say that in Turkey these political subvertising are mostly executed by the left. we can hardly ever see the right in such activities. These type of subvertisings can only be seen in social media like websites, blogs, facebook or twitter. we cannot see them on billboards or on TV because government has the power to cover them up but it is hard to control all the social media. Nevertheless they even do that.

Community Radio as a means of Communication

Radio broadcasting can be divided into 3 categories. These are; public-service broadcasting, commercial/private broadcasting and community broadcasting. The first is usually a state supported and controlled by an authority. The second one is usually owned and controlled by an individual and advertising have a highly important place in these broadcasts as they make much of their money from advertisings. The third one, which is the community radio/broadcasting, is usually owned and controlled by small communities. Generally their aim is to provide help for the public and they aim to serve benefit for the communities where they broadcast. Community can be defined as a group of people who share common characteristics and interests. So a possible definition for the community radio can be “a radio station which is characterized by its ownership and programming and the community it is authorized to serve. It is owned and controlled by a non-profit organization whose structure provides for membership, management, operation and programming primarily by members of the community at large. Its programming should be based on community access and participation and should reflect the special interests and needs of the listenership it is licensed to serve.”

As an example for the community radio broadcasting I can give the local radio stations which I listen while I drive from one city to another. For example if you drive from Izmir to Ankara there are many small cities and towns you pass through. And you have a chance to listen their local radio channels. In most of them the radio stations you listen in the big cities do not have sufficient signal thus you have to listen their local radio stations. The most obvious difference I’ve realized in these local broadcasts is the advertisings. They just advertise their local products such the local clothing or food brands or the local restaurants and cafes. You hardly ever come across with a big or a famous brand. Sometimes unlike the other public and private broadcasts they organize some competitions and if there is a concert or a show in their city they give free tickets for them. The reason I said unlike the public and private broadcast is that, in the competitions they make, they only give free tickets or free invitation cards just in big cities like Istanbul or Ankara. But in the community radios this situation is different. Of course I do not mean the community radios in the big cities but in the small cities or towns.

Another aspect of community radios is, they usually work for to announce their audience voice to the public. If a city, a town, a district or even a school have some problems they can help them by giving the floor to the audience and make them to announce their problems. Thus they have a chance to change something and a mass of people can realize the problems after these broadcasts. For example in a university, the students utter their problems about the school administration, lessons, or foods through their community radios.

Reference: Fraser, C. & Estrada, S. R. (2001). Community Radio Handbook; Community Radio in the Broadcasting Scene. UNESCO.