Northern Indymedia (a.k.a. IMC Northern England) is one of a global network of web-based media centres offering independent, non-corporate news coverage. We believe that a participatory, directly democratic society can only develop when we are free to write our own accounts of our struggles against capital, our creative campaigns and acts of resistance; and to read and be inspired to action by the deeds of others. That is why we made this site.
Consider how the mainstream media functions. A small number of powerful corporations control most of what we see, hear and read. The outlets are paid for by advertisements, so they can't be too critical of their owners or advertisers even when they're blatantly destroying the planet and it's occupants, for fear of losing their income. Through a complex system of patronage whereby access to leaks, briefings and interviews is restricted, only those news media that are subservient to the powerful elites of the legislature, executive and judiciary are granted information about the inner workings of the state. The condition on which this access is given is that only superficial criticism is tolerated.
No wonder, then, that when social movements and our direct actions threaten the status quo, this is at best portrayed as a side-issue - more often we see activists subtly undermined, marginalised or deliberately misrepresented. There is a very large and efficient machine dedicated to controlling the way we see ourselves. We have to be repeatedly told that we are weak in the face of state and corporate power; that voting for a representative is the most important thing we can do to change the world; that we need to fear other people; that only money can allow us to meet our needs; that wage labour is inevitable, and countless other lies. Norms of sexuality, social interaction and subjectivity have to be reinforced in the interests of maintaining consumption.
Now consider the alternative: a news medium where everyone has equal access to the audience; where the audience come to get inspired to take action, then report it themselves; where volunteers do all the work, nobody earns a wage and the only costs are met by donations; where the content of the site is free for anyone to openly question or re-use; where there is no 'filter' through which news has to pass before being published; where the truths of our own personal experiences are given priority over everything else. This is Indymedia.
- is run by a collective who have regular face-to-face meetings
- is made up of people who are actively working for social change and agree with this mission statement
- provides an open newswire for all those in Northern England who are struggling for a better world - one without exploitation, oppression, domination, militarism and environmental destruction
- rejects the manipulation of "public opinion" to suit the agendas of corporate and state power, and instead aims to amplify voices of dissent and creativity
- provides training and advice on the use of information and media technology, making it easier for people to participate in the growing global movements for social justice, human rights, peace and ecological balance
- creates a 'common' by rejecting the idea that information can be property
- breaks down the artificial barriers between activists and people who would not generally see themselves in that light, providing an interactive medium for the local community through which anyone can post anything of importance - a news story, some analysis, a picture, a video, an audio file, or just a helpful comment
- seeks to link global issues such as war, debt, poverty, AIDs, militarism, climate change, resource shortages, enclosure of land and knowledge, migration and globalisation, to everyday experiences like racism, health and education cuts, unemployment, landlordism, lack of social housing, privatisation, poor transport, pollution and the erosion of local democracy
- provides a forum for the promotion of local DIY events and culture - such as art exhibitions, gigs, film festivals, sporting occasions and community meetings - promoting a more socially cohesive community
- rejects the notion of editorial neutrality in favour of openness about the biases that all of us have
So, don't hate the media - be the media!
IMC Northern England, July 2009