[Who Are These Guys/Gals?]
1. Are you journalists?
Yes we are journalists, but of a different sort from what you might expect. Indymedia Cambridge aims to electronically publish reports on current news and debates of social importance. In that sense we are journalists. On the other hand we do not hold the monopoly on information. Instead we believe that the job of reporting and commenting is better done by allowing a multitude of views to come directly from the actors involved in various social struggles. Furthermore these actors are not simply those in charge or in power, who tend to monopolise the attention of other media. Instead, the aim is to provide a medium for those who are affected by the news, who have a stake but often no voice.
2. Are you anarchists?
Some people participating in the collective and the everyday running of the Indymedia centre would openly label themselves as anarchists, but most others would not. The organizational philosophy of Indymedia Cambridge, and the whole Indymedia network, is based on decentralization and local autonomy that some might associate with a latent anarchist ideology. Some of us just call it transparency and direct democracy. This entails the rejection of being simply the voice of hierarchically organized parties or lobbying organizations and this rejection can also be seen as a sign of anarchism. Alternatively it can be seen as giving a voice to those grassroots activists and other people that do not participate in such structures or align themselves with a party ideology.
3. Are you communists?
Many of us believe in social welfare and collective action. At the same time many of us reject the political organization of ex-Soviet states. Indymedia is both a means and end in itself. It is an exercise in non-hierarchical organizing and decision making, whilst serving as an interface for groups involved in struggles using other methods of organization to work towards similar social goals.
4. Are you related to those anti-globalization people?
Yes we are. Indymedia, as part of a wider project of using media for positive social change, has emerged in parallel with the large international protests against the undemocratic and unaccountable economic institutions that regulate international trade and finance. We are one small piece of what is a large and diverse network of political activists and organizations that are campaigning every day in different ways for a better world for all. We have set as our job to make their, your, and our voices heard all around the world. At the same time local Indymedia collectives are autonomous, in that they make their own decisions about the process by which the collective will run, and do not follow any "orders from above".
5. Is Indymedia a global phenomenon?
It is. There are Indymedia collectives on six continents. Grassroots media organisations have played an important point in popular struggles for justice in places as far apart as Venezuela, Palestine, Woomera and South Korea.
In Mexico, Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas had the following to say about Independent Media:
"In August 1996, we called for the creation of a network of independent media, a network of information. We mean a network to resist the power of the lie that sells us this war that we call the Fourth World War. We need this network not only as a tool for our social movements, but for our lives: this is a project of life, of humanity, humanity which has a right to critical and truthful information."
6. So, what is a collective?
A "collective" is a group of individuals that work for a particular purpose. Indymedia Cambridge is a collective in the sense that people participating in its running have a common goal: to create an alternative media network to channel information about social issues from a different perspective than that seen in other commercial and state-run media. The word "collective" is used to highlight that the group takes actions based on a democratic decision making process; other words, such as "party", "committee" or "group" might have different connotations. Everyone is welcome to get involved in the running of the project by coming to our open organizing meetings and proposing projects or by taking on tasks to make projects happen.
7. I don't have a camera, I don't write well, I can't use computers. Can I still join? or What do I need to be a productive member?
The range of tasks that are required for the everyday running of an indypendant media centre is much wider than simply reporting news. For example we organize film screenings that require publicity and coordination. We also edit a paper selection of news, a job which requires article selection, copy-editing and spell checking. Finally, even running the collective requires some administrative tasks that anyone can help with. If you are not sure what you can do, just get in touch with us and we will definitely find something you are interested in. Apart from being able to provide your energy to indymedia without specialized skills, you should also see it as an opportunity to learn. We are committed to training people both in technical skills, but also in other transferable skills so that everyone in the collective can do what they wish without feeling that technology is a barrier.
8. I am pro-war on Iraq, pro-Sharon on Israel, and believe in a free market. But I do think that having an alternative to corporate media is great. Can I join?
Everyone is welcome to contribute things to the newswire provided they conform to the Editorial Guidelines. Once you become part of the collective, you need to agree with our statements of unity. These are the basic rules under which we are happy to work with each other. You can find a full copy at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/cambridge/static/unity.html
Within the collective, decisions are made by consensus which means that you will have to engage with the other people involved in Cambridge Indymedia. Disagreements over issues that the site focusses on need to be resolved amongst the whole group.
9. Does someone edit my contribution? Who? Why?
Your contribution will not be edited. If you post to the newswire (the righthand column on the site) by clicking on the "Publish Your News" link your article will appear in full, exactly as you have written it. If your article contains anything that clearly breaches our editorial guidelines it will be 'hidden'. This means that it will be removed from our front page but not removed from the site altogether. All hidden articles can be viewed at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/viewallposts.html
See the Editorial Guidelines
for details of why a post might be hidden.
10. I just found a wonderful photo/article/video on the web. Can I post it to the website/mailing list? What if the photo/article/video belongs to the BBC?
Please don't send it to our email list as we get a painful amount of stuff coming through there. The best thing to do is write up a short article yourself and post links to the original item.
Issues of Copyright depend on the source of your material and what the author of the material will allow. Reposts of stuff already published in the corporate media are discouraged in favour of first-hand reporting with your own perspectives. This is something to consider whenever you decide to publish.
11. I took some kick-ass photos of last weeks demo that I want to share. But I don't want someone copying them to use for a political cause that I don't believe in. Can I control how my contribution is used?
All material on Indymedia UK is assumed to be copyleft
unless otherwise noted. That means that other people are encouraged to re-use, re-publish, and re-purpose material as they see fit. However, you are always free to put a copyright notice and whatever restrictions you would like on your own content. Of course, the internet is a very open place, and it is always possible that someone will just use your stuff anyway; if you want to be sure no one will do this, don't publish it on the net.
- 04 Feb 2004
- 23 Feb 2004 Edited up to the end.