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News :: War and Militarism
The Anti war movement and the media: Boston welcomes David Barsamian
08 Feb 2007
On Wednesday, January 31, 2007, Boston had the pleasure of welcoming David Barsamian alongside community members and activists for a round table discussion hosted by Suren Moodliar from Encuentro 5. The topic of the night’s gathering? The anti-war movement and the media.
AltMediaBarsamianPeters.JPG
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The audience of 30, and the panel composed of Alternative Radio host David Barsamian, activist Cynthia Peters and journalists John Grebe (host of the radio show “Sounds of Dissent on WZBC-FM), Esther Cervantes (From Dollars & Sense magazine) and Linda Pinkow (WMBR news Director) discussed how alternative media could take back free speech, provide income for the alternative reporters and give the truth a louder voice at a time when people want to hear it. The discussion started with this single thought: Imagine how many people would turn out to an anti-war demonstration if mainstream media covered the preparations, the struggle of the organizers, the behind the scenes. If the information of when and where was available to the masses?

Because the reach of alternative media is still limited-especially in the east coast- a lot of citizen do not have the information and cannot be more involved. Which is something Cynthia Peters, long time local activist agrees with. Pointing out that main stream media is only influenced by advertisements and sees the people as consumers - Hence the hundreds of articles on cell phones, flat screen TVs, real estate listings and pictures of pretty people dressed up at parties clogging the pages of “News” papers- she asked us:
“ Why not a section on how to be a citizen? We need to be taught how to organize the change as well!”

The evening started with David Barsamian, who broke the ice with a character he likes to call Dick Veneer from “Façade News”: Dedicating to keeping you in the dark; We deceive you believe- We go to the surface and stay there- David talked about his early days, when he had to pass cassettes of his show at request, slowly reaching more and more people who wanted to hear real news! We know we are not getting all the information we should be getting and yet are not using all that is available to change that! Now is the time to do so, thanks to the Internet and digital technology, and broaden the reach of alternative news.

John Grebe reminded us that although main stream media does not seem to care about the quality of information it spreads, news corporation just wants to maximize profits: reporters are being forced into competition as their co-workers get laid-off and have now turned their reporting into: “getting the news the investors want” in order to keep their job. Esther Cervantes agreed that unfortunately, because alternative media can’t pay and relies on donations it is harder for reporters to share their voice freely and express they’re real opinion. Linda pondered this thought: Perhaps we should storm news offices, and demanded real news!

So perhaps it is time the community gave a little something back to alternative media: instead of donations, why not pay a small fee for the truthful news we get on the internet and thus enable reporters and radio show hosts to give us the real facts, without censure and on a full-time basis? This would give alternative media the mean to hire more journalists, pay for air-time, reach even more people… and who knows… slowly change the way the news is reported. Tonight’s panel said it best: If listeners, viewers and readers can have the information to become active citizen -get all the facts, find out about events, protests, become more involve – that’s when the real change will be able to start!


David Barsamian, a producer, writer, journalist and lecturer famous in the independent media community for his award-winning radio show- Alternative Radio-based in Boulder, Colorado. (For a listing of radio stations carrying Alternative radio, please visit http://www.alternativeradio.org/radio_stations_carrying_ar.shtml).
Cynthia Peters teaches in the Worker Education Program at SEIU local 2020. She is a contributor to Z magazine as well as other publications. http://www.zmag.org/bios/homepage.cfm?authorID=79

To listen to Boston Indymedia audio recordings on this event, go to:

Cynthia Peters speaks at Encuentro 5.
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/197561/index.php

David Barsamian
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/197553/index.php

John Grebe, Esther Cervantes and Linda Pinkow discuss leftist media strategy with David Barsamian and Cynthia Peters. Moderated by Suren Moodliar.
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/197564/index.php

This work is in the public domain.
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