Infoshops. Are they the voice of Alternative Media?

When examining Alternative Media it is imperative to discuss the rise of “Infoshops”. This is a phenomenon with a central function of disseminating information, Infoshops started to come out in the 1990’s (although the British model of Infoshops started in the 80s) and are in relation with the “free Information Network” (FINs) and grew out the of the Free Festival Movement, infoshops were not just places of debate through concerts, distributing leaflets or gathering at cafés but also a source of Alternative Media.

The aim of Infoshops when they first started is to counter and create resistance towards capitalism among many other concerns. They entice intellectual argument and people to go out to protest. Some social scientists argued that they function as a repository and distributor of alternative media.

Blood Orange Organization Infoshop

According to Chris Atton they can offer reading rooms of alternative publications (this can take place online now), perhaps even a small library. It can act as a distribution point for free publications and as a retail outlet for priced publications. It often provides cheap do-it-yourself design and reprographic services to alternative publishers.

Today there are many infoshop sites online that act as news platforms; their uniqueness comes from the fact that they don’t follow mainstream rules and conventions. And through my own research I found they speak more about the concerns of the public rather than working according to a certain agenda or try shifting the public’s attention to a specific news which is what the mainstream media does and been doing for so long. By examining some of the infoshop sites such as infoshop.org a variety of articles are published, it was interesting to find the different standpoints and how the point of view about an issue is being presented, you can’t help but to notice after being exposed for so many long time to traditional mainstream media that you are departing to a new way of reading the news, the writing style which is sometimes un-censored, the word “Anarchist” is being used so many times, in overall it allows the reader to formulate a different perspective or see an issue from a different angle, also, since people from all around the world have the right to contribute, infoshops position themselves to be a Huge source of opinions, what I mean is that there is not a lack of topics nor you can find a main focus that the site is trying to take your attention to.

I believe infoshops has a great potential to alter people’s views thus their lives especially that they have an important advantage of being first established in physical space and then moved to the virtual, they have the ability to influence decision makers, this comes from their ability to gather people and perhaps they could become a changing force. But currently an important matter worth considering is that as much as it’s crucial to have people share their views online and have other people read it and absorb their meanings there should be an equal action in real life so as not to remain only in cyber space.

Finally, back to my first question “Are infoshops the voice of Alternative Media?” the answer I think to be Yes they have a great potential of becoming so. But still only time can tell especially with the speed of how technology is evolving and the emergence of new platforms and communication concepts it would be wise not to factualize this assumption.

The pirate pioneers of alternative radio

“Nothing important dies tonight, just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship. The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there’ll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play. But, believe you me, they will still be written, they will still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world.”

I remember this quote from head DJ in the movie The boat that rocked because it is the 1960´s pirate radio stations in the UK, on one of which (Radio Caroline) is partly based this movie, which I recall when I elaborate on the term alternative radio. I think in order to understand what this term means nowadays, we have to look back on some of the turning points in the radio broadcasting like the rise and shine of the early pirate radio stations in Britain. If we omit that these radios were broadcasting illegally, which may not be anymore the case of todays alternative radio stations, we can I think trace some similarities. I think in what were these pirate radios broadcasting offshore true pioneers was the labelling of being the “other” voice to the mainstream. These broadcasting ships were the base of a new generation of youth listeners of The Beatles and all those who loved rock´n´roll and pop music nowhere in the main radio provider BBC in the sixties to be found in such an extend and way of delivering the music. Pirate radio broadcasters in the UK were influential in building up a community of listeners who were different than the one of the BBC. They differed not only in whom they attracted, but why they actually did. Pirate radios with its most famous example Radio Caroline were “radical”. They were experimenting with the ways on how to broadcast the content to the listeners and gave in their playlist the space to also back then unknown artists. Pirate radio stood for a new, anti-hegemonic and counter-cultural aspect and I think this is what mainly all the alternative radio stations that followed after have still in common, to stand against the big corporative radio channels.

Despite the fact that some of the pirate radio stations started later to use commercials in order to finance it, so we can say they were not alternative in the sense of being independent of a larger structure, commercial body, but were alternative in its form of bringing a social change, culturally influencing a generation who wanted an alternative source of music and refused the mainstream. The growing popularity of these “floating radio stations” to attract a young audience with a non-traditional music genres its not sure but may have been also an inspiration and reason of BBC to enhance its programming opening up with its first pop music channel Radio 1.

Representing ‘ the other’ (week -3)

The terms of radical media or alternative media can be thought as an extra presentation style and settlement instead of being perceived them as some enterprises that try to replace mainstream media or destroy mainstream media structure in the world.Some spesific groups who especially belong to particular race, ethnicity, political belief, sexual tendency, educational-economical,social class haven’t been represented enough or as equal- fair-objective ways in generally mainstream media channels.No matter if it is tv channel, radio channel, movie or magazine, this is actually a bit rebellion to elitist dominancy for people who believes repressed, ignored , infringed , pushed to back side people also had needed to show themselves to the around.Without seeking for serious profit,financial incomes by rejecting even advertising stuffs and sometimes by using volunteer workers and letting unprofessional,amateur guys for creating, distributing , broadcasting are not easy things to do without passion especially when the matter is not having capital, state-trade help behind you.Participation, being heterogeneous, horizontally settlement, information-ideology flows, being almost non-profit, minority,role replacement are just some key words from their world views- alternative media descriptions.Alternative media try to show readers can be writers and consumers can be producers too in this role and duty exchance according to their perspective.Opening a channel of communication for misrepresented, stigmatized or repressed societal groups is a part of alternative media description when we look at most of academic texts.It is all about freedom, democracy, being against to dark side of capitalism and shifting little bit socialism as understanding under the roof of humanity and equality.Another key word for alternative media is rhizome.Characteristics of rhizome are explained in texts as the principles of connection ,heterogeneity,multiplicity,asignifying rupture when we try to connect it to alternative media.Too many lines are getting growing from rhizome like alternative media, fresh , new and very promising.Radical media or alternative media shouldn’t be thought as recidivist things which trying to bury mainstream media to the ground but instead we may imagine them as extra sources, objective sources, alternative world views, giving chance to them always turn back us as positive way especially in today’s very complicated, blurred and capitalist world.

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

Underground Media

Undergrand Press

When we talk about the undergarnd press we can talk about free speech, free and do not limited to the writes. It is opposite of the mainstream media because mainstream media use ffor manipulation by media owners. But undergrand press against of the it and in there we can see reality about the world. They are free because they are not belong to the financial budget. And most of them built by volunteers. Their aim are free speech and protects rights, etc. Their aims show to people alternative way. It is aginst an other ideology. Like Bianet is an example of mainstream media. And like haberfabrikası. Their aim be voice of the different ethnic groups and critises the system. They try to give real news and comment about system. http://fraksiyon.org/sabahat-tuncelden-19-aralik-sorusu/

Haber fabrikası was founded by volunteers and their aim be voice of the ethnic groups. I choose these site beacuse they represent their ideologies and they give objective views.

In my opinion these groups can show their ideologies and can be easily contact with other who are the near of them ideologies. In mainstream media we can not see openly ideologies. They are belongs to the system and do not critises freely. But in underground media we can see it.

The Volunteer Aspect of The Underground Press

When we look at the underground press, volunteer labor plays an important role. As the sources are limited and small money in the sector, it is almost impossible to pay an avarage wage to the labor. That is the reason why, underground press provides its labor from volunteers.

 

Having volunteer has economical advantages for sure. However, it also has a lot of disadvantages. First of all, it is hard to find a qualified labor who took certain, neccessary training or/and had enough experience in the current field. Those volunteers are mostly young people who wants to get some experience and do not have a lot of financial obligations or people who already have current jobs but want to get involved in underground press because of their worldview/interests. In both sides, working volunteerly as a part of underground press definitely related to their world view. If you do not share the similar perspective with the underground press that you are part of, it is hard to work for it volunteerly. As a result, it is essential to determine your target audience as they are and will be your volunteers as well. Instead of gaining a wider readership, actually led to a decline in circulation , since many of the potential audience felt that their sectional interests were already better served by specialist publications that concentrated in grater detail on particular area. (Khiabany, G. 2000) In other words, in underground press sector, you need to have specific worldview, specific target audience who share the similar worldview with your press. After you recruit your volunteers, it is the first step in order to make them feel that they are not just working for your press but they can use your press as a chanel to express themselves.

 

Second of all, another disadvantages of having volunteer labor is, you can not be sure from the sustainability. As they are not tied to your underground press economically, it is understandable if they decide to move on from different field. For this case, it is important to have a certain person who is responsible from the volunteers. As a result, this person can observe the involvement process of the volunteers and strengthen volunteers’ ties by using certain methods like one-to-one discussions to get feedback as well as setting new goals for them in order to keep them still interested in the subject. Of course, it will help to broaden the horizons of the volunteers to keep them in the organization. However, I believe giving different job descriptions also very crucial. For a volunteer, it is important to enjoy and improve her/his potentials. If a certain person does same things, first it may seem interesting to learn and challange themselves but after a while, it becomes monotone and not very enjoyable. That’s why, periodicly shifting the vacancies and encouring volunteers to work in different areas will make them enthusiactic to stay more in the underground press.

 

In conclusion, it is  hard to run a underground press as the sources are scarce. However, using different strategies will help the organization to figure out what they should not do and what they should do by making mistakes. Making mistakes is not a fault but making same mistakes again and again and not learning from them is not realistic and rationalistic.

 

References;

Khiabany, G. (2000) “Red Pepper: a New Model for the Alternative Press?”, in Media, Culture and Society, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 447-463

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERGOUND MEDIA IN TURKEY

Underground media aims to show alternative way. Because it reflects some spesific ideology. So we can say that there is freedom of speech in underground media. However it is important to think about this question: “Alternative to what?” In my opinion it is alternative to current, general stuation in the world. For example; Feminist ideology is a alternative to patriarchal system in the world. Or communist ideology is an alternative of capitalist system. Therefore these ideologies has been reflected through underground media.
When we think about Turkey, we can see a lot of exaples of underground press. Some newspapers such as, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Taraf, Sözcü etc…All of these reflects one spesific ideolojy. For example, Cumhuriyet newspaper is a Left-wing newspaper. So that reason it criticise AKP’s policies.
Not only press but also there is a lot of examples from television channels about underground media. Such as Samanyolu TV, Kanal 7, Ulusal TV or Cem TV. All these can be examples of it. Let’s think about Cem TV. This Channel represents Alevis in Turkey. On the other hand it has Kemalist ideology and reflects that. Ulusal TV is also reflects Kemalist ideology. However when we look at Samanyolu and Kanal 7,we can see both has relegious ideology. Especially Kanal 7 broadcasts some relegious programs.
In conclusion; Turkey has a lot of examples of underground media. Because when we think about the structure of Turkey, we can see a lot of different ideologies; there are rightist, leftist, kurds, alevis, jewish, feminist, etc… It keeps a lot of ideologies so it is no doubt that must be represented through media organs.

Alternative media, alternative way

 

 

Harry Fear, he and his work are example of my case study. Who is he, and what his work is?

Palestina, Izrael, conflict are still here, still there, sixty five years. Maybe it’s time to put that in history books, not in front page of some newspaper.

To be neutral, or to be part of truth is to be alternative or to make alternative.

Today,  ‘everybody’  know about big loby of Israel on each corner in the world, and  big influence of Israel on global mainstream media. But in this situation, we have also some kind of influence on media from Arab countries. Also we can say that we have some ‘neutral’ mainstream media who presenting ‘neutral’ information for ‘all’. In any case, in my view, only way for truth is alternative media, or Harry Fear in this situation. But when I said ‘truth’, that doesn’t mean that I believe in a hundred percent of truth from any kind of media today. Because, one percent is there to always ask for more alternative, and for more truth. But, ninety nine percent is enough for brain preparing to accept that information.

Let’s talk about ‘ninety nine percent of truth’, let’s talk about Harry Fear. Harry Fear is independent journalist,  some people calling him ‘conflict reporter’.  One of the big reason why he decide to be alternative, to be volunteers journalist, is because mainstream media doesn’t give us truth about what’s happening in Gaza. He saw that nobody else doesn’t presenting, giving information trought non stream media in serious way about situation in Gaza.  Some western media do not show pictures of children who die every day, do not give the exact number of fatalities, they are not willing or that is not part of their agenda to be at the right place at the right time. And this is not the case only with the situation in Gaza, it is so in most cases.

Harry Fear don’t have powerful mainstream tv channel, but he has a powerful non mainstream tv channel http://harryfear.tv    or youtube channel. Other his powerful alternative media weapons are his facebook profile https://www.facebook.com/harryfear?fref=ts with twenty-six thousand subscribers , his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/officialharryfear?fref=ts, and website http://www.harryfear.co.uk/. Because ‘the right place at the right time’ a lot of mainstream media are used his source to get some information.  When we look at all of his live streams, movies, statements, we might think he is too biased. We might think he’s on the side of the Palestinians. But maybe that’s because we are all in some way on the side of  the mainstream media, or on the west side, or the side of the half truths, or often on the side of untruth. And the normal is that when we get out of the dark of manipulation of the mainstream media, the truth becomes too bright, it can even make us blind, but this is actually ability to see, because we were blind before, but now we get the truth, the vision.

World need more ‘conflict reporters’, more journalist volunteers, the truth, world need non stream or alternative media. More alternative media, more truth, and less lies and manipulation of mainstream media. Lots of lies often contributes and support  many deaths of innocent civilians, especially in conflicts such as in Gaza. So we all have a duty to fight with lies, to fight for the truth, to fight for humanity. My opinion is that one way of fighting for humanity are trough alternative media.

What UnderGround Press is?

WHAT UNDERGROUND PRESS IS?  HOW IT HOLD A PLACE IN OUR LIFES?

I firstly begin with the meaning of underground press then I give some examples of journals which are associate with underground press, as I talk about them I give way articles of under ground press . If I think about meaning of underground press, it includes freedom of speech, free to write opinions to become independent without seeing limitations and restrictions.Actually, it is war of thinking because it shows alternative to right and digress what traditional media penetrates issues and manipulates people to think in one way especially in traditional media, it isn’t possible to react, or produce counter opinions because they can’t allow people to think in other way. I think that if  I talk about underground press, it is shaped according to some specific opinions, ideologies, counter thoughts like journals of leftist or right, like feminists who defend women rights to men, like environmentalists who call people to take care their environment,to take precautions for global warming, like university students who oppose to political hands, like trade unions who want to establish their rights to powerfuls but the important thing to establish, undoubtedly people who participate in this area is so crucial because many of them work voluntarily because of limited budget and it is so crucial to hold people in one place in terms of good management.

If we look at Turkey, yes there are some examples of them, they try to survive towards many problems such as economic and political or social. What my examples are; Kurtuluş Sosyalist Dergi which was start to publish at 2001 and its main purpose is to create communist working class , defend rights of working class and generally accentuates difference of communist ideas. In its publication, also they hold a place elections, politic crises, Kurdish issue, democratic issue of working class, globalization, capitalism etc so it continue to its existence today(I take these informations from     http://kurtulussosyalistdergi.awardspace.com/index.htm) The other example about underground press from Turkey is Pazartesi Journal. Its target audience is that women. This journal was started to publish at 1995 and it provided material support from Frauenansiftung, which is established in Germany. Why I hold a place its journal is that because its contents depend on feminist opinions and try to provide support of feminist movement by women . It includes that women’s lip. Its purpose is that defend womens right to men and aggrieve hegemony of men in a harsly way. ( I have an idea about this journal from  http://www.pazartesidergisi.com/index.html ) Undoubtedly, there are many journals but some of them that I give place because they separate from other fashion or cooking journals with its ideologies, and visions.

My last example about underground  press is caricatur journals. In Turkey, especially Leman, and Penguen which are humorous type of journal.Their purpose is to react decision of political hand in terms of economy, education, health, environment etc. These humorous journals are independent. Their  first purpose isn’t to purchase money but they show their reactions and I think that they are voices of people who don’t react situations of Turkey in a freely way, I think that many people who read Leman and Penguen support and encourage themselves to talk about issues, problems in Turkey in their daily life. (http://www.google.com.tr/search?hl=tr&safe=active&q=leman%20dergisi%20tepki&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&biw=1366&bih=667&um=1&ie=UTF8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=5_9FUdW-A7TE4gTw8YGwAQ#imgrc=l4vWyUii6EXgpM%3A%3B-0t-IjcF-lBJPM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ffotogaleri.haber7.com%252Finner%252F%252F749320110802111649218.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.haber7.com%252Fdergiler%252Fhaber%252F769834-leman-korkusunu-kapak-yapti%3B493%3B574) : In this link, we see that how our ruling part has which type on ideology on military men so these are examples about underground press.

Now, I shortly give way to some articles from our syllabus.I The first article which is written by Gholam Khiabany and it is called Red Pepper. It is montly magazine but what its difference is that it takes hand leftist opinion and it is advanced by Comedia and it  was placing itself within an influential current of left political thinking in Britain.( It is taken from article) Also, in this article an author who deals with  the other publication which is called The Socialist and which is shaped in terms of Socialist Movement but the most important thing is that author who holds a place that Income and Expenditure of journal and financial problems. As I read all of them, it isn’t easy to manage this type of journal because it should be plan to regulate budget. On the other hand, I see that the importance of advertising in terms of income so what I want to summarize about this article is that yes Red Pepper and The Socialist try to survive for their ideologies and fights with some problems in terms of financial difficulties. On the other hand, the article which is called ‘The Alternative Press’ penetrates alternatives which means variety kinds of magazines which has different contents like hippy magazines. Also, in this article, there are issues which are penetrared in this sector like economic and modes of organization and production and audience. In modes of organization, division of labour, budgeting, planing is so crucial. In audience issue, not only content but also readers, their  educational background, their interest should be thought. In addition to all of them, two magazines are examined which are called New Socialist and New Internationalist and what their differences are that New Socialist which is for Labour Party activists and Labour Movement and on the other hand New Internationalist which is specialist publication and it takes hand development issues so I want to summarize that how these two articles takes into account in terms of alternative press.

In conclusion, I explain firstly meaning of underground press for me and give alternative journals in Turkey and then I shortly summarize two articles. In Turkey, some journals try to survive, perpetuate their ideologies . It is so difficult in Turkey because of political hands but the other issues to continue alternative press is not only budget but also people who are writer gather around in same place is not easy task but I think that the most important characteristic of these alternative journals are to show people that different kinds of issue with different points of view and show varieties for our lifes because it isn’t possible to develop ourselves with traditional media so every people should be this type of journals to have an idea, to learn what is going on about events, people and our lifes but in today condition, it opens to discussion that how many journals take an action independently in terms of their ideologies or opinions through the world ? or how many years that political hands allow them to continue their publications?

 

 

 

Alternative Media – Grassroots (case study)

Previous week Izmir Economy University department of Media and Communication organized a seminar (SMNP), where various guests both from Turkey and abroad with Mr. John Downing as an honored guest and main speaker, had a chance to introduce their work media related.

Many of the topics were relevant to the alternative media, and as MA students of media and communication we had a great chance to participate in the seminar. Personally I was impressed by many speakers and their work, such as Resistanbul, a group of activists who try to expose and fight against injustices happening to local as well as immigrant people in Istanbul.  Mister Erdinc Erdenc, an ex-mainstream media journalist who has abandoned the mainstream media and is now highly active journalist of the alternative media in Turkey, and many others.

I decided to take Marco Kuhne one of the producers of a graswurzel.tv, translated in English as grassroots.tv, as a study case of an alternative media in action. Marco Kuhne considers himself and his colleagues work as a video activists part of an alternative journalism. The reason being that they try to make video of different activist groups mostly in Germany and also in other countries throughout the Europe. They claim that mainstream media often shows the violent images of protesters and by doing that they are shown as hooligans, criminals in a way that police is trying to handle them and their behavior even by force if necessary. In this picture police becomes the hero and defender and stabilizer of national peace and security. The other approach of mainstream media towards the activist groups is that they completely or nearly completely ignore them; large peaceful demonstrations become just a side note in the newspapers or are not mentioned at all.

That is where Graswurzel or Grassroots enter in the scene. They try to show both sides of the activist movements and what activists have to say for themselves, they give them the space and chance to express their views and intentions. Grassroots follow the activists with cameras and try not to get involved in a sense by adding additional comments or notes to the videos, although sometimes it is necessary since activists are not always willing to give comments. Grassroots also don’t add any additional side effects to the videos, music and so forth, they try to be as close to reality as possible, in a way they try to be a clear medium through which the audience will get better understanding of the activists and their intentions. Mainstream media on the contrary is mostly all about commenting, censoring, even adding musical and video side effects to make the news more attractive lift the adrenaline in the audience and heavily representing as well as supporting one side of the argument strongly and therefore not creating the objectivity.

Since grassroots are not a mainstream media they don’t have a powerful, TV channel such as BBC News, CNN they have to rely on technology such as internet, and upload their videos on Web sites, YouTube, and ITunes etc. That doesn’t stop the audience, the number of views on YouTube for example show that many of the videos published by grassroots have been viewed by thousands of people. They also don’t work with sponsors and are not commercially supported, which of course limits the financial income, but on the other hand if they did so, they would no longer represent the alternative journalism which is mainly supported by donations and volunteer work.

Audience attending the SMNP seminar last week in Izmir was impressed and even humored by the video presented by Grassroots showing the rather unorthodox protest of hundreds of clowns against nuclear factory. Giving us the images and inspiring idea how protest can be a creative process, in which we are all invited, once we realize that we have a power to say no to environmental dangers, government/political decisions etc.

The small critique that I would add here would be the website of graswurzel.org, since the producers are all Germans and most of the protests are happening in Germany, the website as well is in a German language, I am sure that if English version on the website was available as well, they would attract wider, international audience hungry to see more.

Finally, it is important to have alternative media such as grassroots in every country, it is important to show both sides of the story and give the opportunity not just to the powerful, rich corporations and institutions but also to us – an ordinary people who make the majority of society, who question and criticize the government and environmental threatening decisions taken without the consensus and knowledge of majority of society. This kind of media and this videos may be seen as small attempts to break into society’s consciousness, but in a long run some of the videos and attempts may turn into historical events.