IMC Armenia Missionstatement

Indymedia is a global network of collectively run media outlets \x96 independent media centers (IMC\x92s) - for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.

The Armenia Independent Media Center (IMC Armenia) is a democratic collective of people using alternative media as a tool for social transformation in our community. We are the local organizing unit of the global Indymedia network.

Our work includes:

  • Reporting local events that are ignored or poorly covered by corporate media

  • Seeking a world of equality and justice, free from oppression and exploitation

  • Providing tools, skills, and capabilities to others of like mind in our community.

  • Facilitating the networking and coordination of independent journalists in our community.

  • Providing coverage of stories emphasizing the global nature of people's struggles for social, economic, and environmental justice, directly from their perspective.

  • Encouraging, facilitating, and supporting the creation of independent news gathering organizations, and the ongoing development of the Indymedia network of collectives.

  • Indymedia is based upon principles of equality, decentralization and local autonomy. Our network is not derived from a centralized bureaucratic process, but from the self-organization of autonomous collectives that recognize the importance of developing as a union of networks.

  • Indymedia considers open exchange of, and open access to, information a prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society.

  • Our collective, operating from a basis of trust and respect for our contributors, readers, and members, will utilize the "open" model of publishing, allowing individuals, groups and organizations to express their views freely and anonymously if desired.

  • The IMC Network, and our collective, shall be "not for profit".

  • All IMC's recognize the importance of process to social change and are committed to the development of non-hierarchical and anti authoritarian relationships, from interpersonal relationships to group dynamics. Therefore, we will organize ourselves collectively and be committed to the principle of consensus decision making, and using a process that is open and transparent to all.

  • We are committed to caring for one another and our respective communities both collectively and as individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including knowledge, skills and equipment.

  • We are committed to the freedom of "intellectual property" and the use of "free" and "open" software, whenever practical, in order to develop our digital infrastructure, and to increase the independence of our network.

  • We are committed to the principle of human equality, and will not discriminate based upon race, gender, age, class, sexual orientation, or other grounds. Recognizing the vast cultural traditions within the network, we are committed to building and supporting diversity within our community.

(Why)

Armenia lacks an independent media. Journalists still cover press conferences and follow the government\x92s lead. The only non-state owned television station has been denied a license for two years and protests over this have fed a growing opposition movement that lacks media outlets. The government is taking steps to ban meetings and demonstrations and photographers at protests have been attacked. Still, these photographers are not necessarily independent, but only covering news in favor of the opposition, and the opposition is not necessarily any better than the government in power.

There is no independent source of information about what goes on. No means of covering the conflict exist beyond state owned media, and the (thwarted) attempts at establishing opposition media, all of them necessarily biased, none of them effective at truly gauging opinion among the people and reporting fairly on the many contradictions inherent in the current situation. As the opposition grows, it becomes more and more important to publish, and publish widely, independent reporting on the situation in Armenia. Especially with travel restrictions in place, which prevent foreign journalists from operating effectively as well.

Transparency is low or altogether absent, corruption prevalent. Environmental issues are not well publicized and people persist in destructive behavior because of a lack of education about options. Women\x92s issues are rarely discussed and there is no open clearinghouse of information about rights and birth control. The need to establish and grow an independent media will not fade with the success or failure of the present round of protests. All of this is valid even more especially in the more isolated areas outside of the capital, Yerevan. There exists a lack of resources, of information, of independent reporting, of media facilities and meeting places.

We have established our website in Armenian, Russian, and English so that the reporting will be accessible throughout Armenia, so that we will be able to foster collaboration with readers in the NIS, and throughout the world.

Editorial Policy The IMC Armenia web site is an open publishing system, and its use for both posting and reading messages is available to anyone on the Internet. The site is primarily intended for the posting and discussion of opinions, ideas and experiences that relate to current events and news, particularly that of interest to people in Armenia, and South Caucasus. The site is especially intended to be available and useful to peoples, ideas, and news that are overlooked, systematically excluded, or mis-represented by the dominant media. These are necessarily broad categories of postings that include a wide diversity of approaches, however there are types of stories and posting behaviors that are not acceptable.

They include:

  • Duplicates: the most recent ones are kept

  • Empty or "Broken" posts

  • Threats or Intimidation

  • Slander or Libel

  • Hate Speech

  • Illegal Speech

  • Pornography

  • Racist, Fascist, Sexist, etc. posts

  • False News: Stories containing items we know to be false, which are obviously not just bad satire, and which are likely to cause problems for others.

  • Spam: Commercial advertising of goods or services

  • Stories containing copyrighted material that are published without the authorization of the author

  • Stories that fail to respect the right to anonymity

  • Incoherent rants

  • Mass distributions: The same post sent to many different IMC's for no good reason

  • Evil tech: Posts containing, or directly linked to, viruses, nasty Java scripts, etc.

  • Piracy: Posts containing, or directly linked to, restricted copyright material which goes beyond the limits of "fair use".

  • Posts in any other language than Armenian, English or Russian, that we suspect of violating one of the above criteria.

When posting of this sort occurs we may move the story to our "hidden" articles section, which is still viewable by anyone by following the link on the home page. If the risk or problem posed by the story cannot be managed by doing this we may change its status so that it is only viewable by IMC Armenia Editors, pending further consideration, and in extreme cases we may erase it completely from our database.

One of the main reasons that our site software allows the option of posting with a validated email address is to allow visitors to the site to acquire confidence in the reputation of particular authors over time. We may delete the account of a user if we feel that it is being used to deliberately mislead others as to the author\x92s identity or if the user is attempting to "steal" someone else's identity.

We may change the section, subject, or category of a story if we feel doing so more accurately reflects its content.

In the event of an edit to a story we will attempt to contact the author if we have a validated email address for them, and if we feel that doing so will not put members of our collective at risk.

Editors and Administrators will report all their editorial actions on the IMC Armenia email list, stating the story title, the action taken, and the reason for the action that they took. In the event that the action is moving a story to the "hidden" section of the site the list need not be notified as this action is automatically documented for all to see by the site software.

Any item may be nominated for inclusion in the center column by an editor \x96 an email will be sent out to the other editors. If no one blocks he nomination within 12 hours, the item will be placed in the features column.

We will not allow open publishing for photographs**, and other visual material. All photos will be reviewed by an editor before going online. This policy is in place to protect the anonymity of persons in the photographs, if they are engaged in illegal activity, or activity that might bring reprisal from police or government officials, or otherwise endanger them.

If a newsworthy photo is posted but fails to respect the right to anonymity, then the editor will obscure the faces in the picture by blurring them or adding black bars, and then post it.

**This photo policy will be reevaluated at regular intervals, to discern how necessary it is, and to keep our practice as close to open publishing theory as possible while making it a safe medium. And the goal is, of course, complete open publishing in the end.

Anyone who disagrees with an editorial decision is free to bring their concerns to our regular meetings or to the IMC Armenia email list at imc-armenia@lists.direkte-aktie.net

Should you find content on the site you feel is in violation of this policy we invite you draw it to our attention.

This policy is a "work in progress", we welcome your suggestions for improvements to it.

-- ClarA - 07 Jul 2004
Topic revision: r1 - 07 Jul 2004, ClarA
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