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.
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.