Democratic Talk: Reflections from Places Looking for Change [Week 7]

According to Barber the purpose of democratic talk is to create citizens who can think as a public (1984), I would like to shed light in this article on one part of the world which is the Middle East, which has been going through turmoil in the past five years. I will have to argue that a critical factor for this eruption is the lack of a Democratic Talk in some of these countries. What has come to be known as the Arab Spring has started in many Arab countries out of struggle for free speech. There were instances where people were jailed for expressing their simplest thoughts about what’s going on in their countries, so this urge for free expression has erupted. But why did it erupt all of the sudden, or was it really sudden or an accumulation of suppressed thoughts and aspirations to participate in political talk. I think the latter is more valid. There are some examples of initiatives that took place showing people’s eagerness to express their opinions such as bloggers in Tunisia who started “7ell blog” or “start blogging” which a web page and Facebook page were also set up to further propagate their messages, another forms of expression took place in Libya for instance where Rappers started rapping against the Gaddafi regime. However, according to Allen Fountain Al-Jazeera channel comes out to be the most distinctly Alternative view in the Middle East (2007).

A crucial element that can allow people to be involved in political participation is to learn “How”, where Barber’s conception of democratic talk is supported by media theorists who link civic education to active participation in public deliberation and debate (Abramson, Arterton and Orren 1988; Entman 1989), from this we can see how imperative it is to integrate active participation in civic education which is a factor that is more often neglected.

Throughout the years many projects has evolved to allow people to participate and voice out their concerns and work to amend their social reality some of them has started very modestly with tapes being circulated, however, today many took a further step to be online like Labor beat, Alternative Views and there is Paper Tiger Television. I have to somehow argue that in some places more than other, alternative media has positioned itself as a reliable and trust worthy source of information perhaps starting a new episode of them replacing the more dominant main stream media. People are hungry for getting different views of news, reliance on state television has drastically weakened. So, it become important for people who are making news through alternative media to establish more strategic and organize their operation and make them more tolerant to external forces so as not to be swept away by the first crisis but still serve the causes they started for.

Press play- the power of participatory video

Chris Lunch from the Insighshare.org 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.

Reference:

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

 

Cultural Jammers are the History Writers of Our Time

Through the ages people have always found ways to express themselves, their views and their affiliations. Artist like Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Andy Warhol had left their marks behind for generations to some, some were controversial at their time, like Picasso’s Guernica painting or Warhol’s art. These figures can be described as Cultural Jammers, create with mirrors’ and are related to what Gramsci (1971: 417) called a ‘new way of conceiving the world’ and ‘modifying . . . popular thought and mummified popular culture’ (Baily, 2007).

However, many whom are considered Cultural Jammers today are forces [that] counter-hegemony as a strategy to challenge dominant forces and discourses in society (Baily, 2007), among these, the name of Ron English come to the surface as one of the most recognizable artists of current times who had made some powerful images on the street, in museums, movie, books and television. He had a very unique way of combining, what he describes as, high and low culture, his images meshes together modern superheroes to figures from far away history. One of his famous art works is Marilyn Monroe’s image he made. However, another important Jammers of our internet age are the Anynomous group, which is a loosely associated international network of activist and hacktivist entities which promote anonymous social engagement by direct action. It originated in 2003 on the image board 4chan [website], representing the concept of many online and offline community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic*1. hacktivism, another notion that has become commonplace in recent years to describe digital activism (Baily, 2007). The Anynomous group has been active in opposing behemoth corporations and government organization because of their practices against ordinary citizens. Such hacktivist work included hacking the U.S Federal Reserve. I think this is one of the most powerful movements of our time, its un-centrality and unclear chain of commands (which I doubt to exist) made it so wide spread worldwide.

These Jammers are contributing in shaping our societies that we live in. Their work can be felt and reach everyone today, especially with the Internet. So, no one can deny their impact and perhaps their work can get to be so profound that it can change the course of history.

References:

*1 http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Anonymous_%28group%29

Ron English Website https://www.popaganda.com/news?page=1

Baily, O. Cammaerts, B and Carpenier,N. (2008) Understanding Alternative Media. Berkshire: Open University Press

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.

Reference:

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 http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/04/occupy-movement-guy-fawkes-mask

Tancons, C. (2011) “Occupy Wall Street: Carnival Against Capital? Carnivalesque as Protest Sensibility” in e-flux http://www.e-flux.com/journal/occupy-wall-street-carnival-against-capital-carnivalesque-as-protest-sensibility/

Olson, P. (2012) ” Amid ACTA Outcry Politicians Don Anonymous Guy Fawkes Masks” in Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2012/01/27/amid-acta-outcy-politicians-don-anonymous-guy-fawkes-masks/

V for Vendetta movie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta_%28film%29

 

 

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.

Pirates of the Radio!

The sixties and seventies of the twentieth century in Europe has witnessed a tremendous eruptions calling for change, such as in France when the student movement unified with the working class asking for social change although it was later silenced, Britain on the other hand had similar experience where there was a time where calls for cultural change was high in demand, never the less, there was a caliber of people who went on to challenge the authorities and the state, they wanted to reach their voice and ideas or even music to the world, and their means were Pirate Radios.

Pirate Radios were a form of alternative media in which they were unlicensed and some of them operated from ships in the sea at that period of time, especially in England, among the famous of these were the Swinging Radio England (SRE) and the Irish pirate radio stations.

Swinging Radio England (SRE) was an American Top 40 station founded by Don Pierson who was an American car dealer and a former Texas mayor, the idea was to air American music in the UK. The station operated from May to November 1966 from a World War II vessel built in the USA as a supply ship. One thing that distinguished (SRE) is that it did not exclude advertising as a source of funding. The station aired music that was not heard before in England. Some of the ironies and problems that faced the station when it was finally aired that its frequency clashed with an Italian state owned radio station and was too close to the BBC network in Scotland. Although this was sorted out, but still the station had a problem in getting advertising revenue to fund itself in which eventually it had to close down.

Looking from a political point of view, there was ‘Radio Free Derry’ which was a pirate radio station that operated in Dublin, Ireland by the Irish republican movement with an aim to spread propaganda. This station was looked at closely by the authorities in Ireland, another Irish pirate radio was ‘Radio Milinda’ although it was a music radio station nevertheless it was one of the first raided and prosecuted pirate radio stations by authorities in 1972, finally, there was ‘Radio Pirate Woman’ that aired in 1990 which it broadcast information on abortion services and discussed other issues that affected women.

These pirate radios represented the people who were averse to authorities in their countries and whom went to extreme measures to get themselves heard. Whether they were political like the Irish Pirate Radios or just trying to air music, they both came with new concepts and ideologies and both were challenging authorities.

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.

References:

About Astute Radio http://www.astute-radio.com/about/

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. http://www.amarc.org/?q=node/1963

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 http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/publications/gamag_research_agenda_chavez.pdf

The Bristol Post (2014) ´Women on the Waves: Ujima Radio and Fem FM present the next generation of radio talent´, in The Bristol Post
http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Women-Waves-Ujima-Radio-Fem-FM-present-generation/story-21090158-detail/story.html

 

Who would’ve thought the Best combination is when a Capitalist Marries a Socialist!

Publications have been struggling to continue printing its issues ever since the word Publishing started, although the ones which we can call mainstream or commercial publishing still get to survive and more over thrive in their readership markets, but what about those less popular ones, those which follow a political party, ideology or a cause, those which are often called Alternative publications, How can they survive in this behemoth market where skill and resources are crucial?

Well, most probably for the larger portion of these publications they don’t survive. How this can be fixed? There are two approaches has been widely argued the Comedia approach which gives great emphasis on utilizing the capitalistic methods in management, finance and advertising. I would have liked to argue that it is imperative and rather would be unrealistic to disregard such methods, after all you have to know where are you sailing; a magazine needs to know who is its target audience, what’s their preferences, do they want a magazine that covers many topics or one with a focal focus, it’s also important to know numbers in terms of cost, budget and revenue. But after all this said an example that can dispute the success of a fully capitalist approach rise in the form of Red Pepper magazine which according to Gholam Kiabany in his paper “Red Pepper: a new model for the alternative”1 a Leninist theory of socialist press proved to work.

I find Red Pepper is an interesting case study for how a publication stemming from the British leftist politics survived. Though it was not easy, it went through stages of failures and many versions and adopting and shifting in its strategy till it reached its final shape. I believe its survival is due to a marriage between adopting capitalistic methods for managing things and a socialist view by not aiming for financial rewards and resilience from its founders and mainly its editor Hilary Wainwright who witnessed two flopping versions of the magazine but still she did not lose hope in making it work and also not to forget the other workers and writers who volunteered in running and writing articles for the magazine. Today you can find Red Pepper still exists and its online (www.redpepper.org.uk), and this is a proof that it managed to survive.

After what’s said, an important factor is being introduced today, which is the Internet, online publishing can cut costs and allows reaching a wider audience within shorter time frame, although one must not neglect to utilize online strategies where there are specialized experts who are hired just to do that.

After all, this marriage between a capitalistic methods and socialist perspective proved to work, so maybe it can work out in real life between nations as well to bring more balance to the world.

Resources:

“Red Pepper: a new model for the alternative press?”: https://mcs.sagepub.com/content/22/4/447

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.

 

Reference:

Čarnoburský J. (2005). Odpor proti komunizmu. Impulz Revue http://www.impulzrevue.sk/article.php?26

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

Posset, J. Česká samizdatová periodika 1968-1989. Brno http://www.scriptum.cz/Posset_Johanna_Ceska_samizdatova_periodika_1968-1989.pdf

Soukopová J. (2010). Zázrak jménem Revue 88 aneb Když samizdat delali studenti. iDnes.cz http://brno.idnes.cz/zazrak-jmenem-revue-88-aneb-kdyz-samizdat-delali-studenti-pk9-/brno-zpravy.aspx?c=A100324_1356492_brno-zpravy_dmk