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Speakers confirmed for WikiLeaks Special Session at 2011 IAMCR Conference

Back in February I posted that plans were afoot to hold a Special Session on WikiLeaks at the annual conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Since then, two Special Sessions have come together which will run back to back on July 15th in Istanbul,Turkey

My involvement has been in helping to organise what will be the first session: “Lessons from/for WikiLeaks: Perspectives from Media and Communications”.  The rationale driving the panel may be read here and was developed by leaders of the Community Communication Section and Global Media Policy Working Group, along with cooperation from Ibrahim Saleh of the Journalism Section and the IAMCR Secretariat.

The 90 minute session will consists of talks from 4 speakers who will each speak for 8 minutes and 3 remote Skype interventions of 5 minutes each. We have intentionally structured this session to have ample time for discussion and debate between the panellists and field questions from audience members.

The speakers for the session are as follows:

Special Session: Lessons from/for WikiLeaks | Perspectives from Media and Communications

Panelists

1) Bart Cammaerts ,London School of Economics, UK  |  “WikiLeaks as information and communication resistance”

2) Hopeton S. Dunn, University of the West Indies, Jamaica |  “Something Old, Something New…” : Marrying New and Old Approaches to Political Exposure in theCaribbean- A Wikileaks Case Study”

3) Lisa Lynch, Concordia University, Canada | “The Neverending Story: WikiLeaks and Media Futures”

4) Ibrahim Saleh, University of Cape Town, South Africa | “Weak Ties: Big Changes: WikiLeaks inNorth Africa& theMiddle East (MENA)”

 

With remote/Skype Interventions from:

1) Greg Mitchell,  The Nation | Title: “Enemy at the Gates? The Major Media and WikiLeaks”

2) Gabriella Coleman, New York University,USA | Title: “The Politics of Hacking in the Age of Information”

3) Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Producer/Host “The Stream”, Al Jazeera | Title: “WikiLeaks, Journalism and the Arab Spring”

 

Chair: Patrick McCurdy,  Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

 

Biographies of Panelists

Dr. Bart Cammaerts is senior lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His research examines multi-stakeholder policy processes, media strategies of activists, alternative media and issues regarding power, resistance and public-ness and has published in these areas. Bart Cammaerts chairs the Communication and Democracy Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) and is vice-chair of the Communication technology Policy section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).

Professor Hopeton Dunn is the Director of the Caribbean Programme in Telecommunications Policy and Technology Management (TPM)  at the Mona School of Business, University of theWest Indies, inJamaica, where he holds the Digicel Foundation Chair in Telecoms Policy and Management. Dr. Dunn is also the current Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and acting Secretary-General of the IAMCR. He is a former Chairman of Jamaica’s Telecommunications Advisory Council (JTAC), which provided advice to the Jamaican government during the country’s transition from a monopoly to a multiplayer market in telecom services. He currently serves as a member of the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, and a long-standing board member of the National Library of Jamaica.

Dr. Gabriella Coleman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. Her research and teaching centres on the politics of hacking and digital activism. Her book, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Pleasures of Hacking, is forthcoming with Princeton University Press.

Dr. Lisa Lynch works broadly at the intersection between culture, technology, and political change, publishing, presenting and teaching her research in the fields of new media, the cultural reception of genetics, science fiction, disaster narratives, visual culture and humanrights. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from Literature and Medicine and New Literary Historyto Open Democracy and The Arab Studies Journal. She is currently at work on a book project on the ever-increasing boundary skirmishes between traditional, institutional sites of facticity and newer, contingent sites of authority

Greg Mitchell served as editor of Editor & Publisher, the “bible” of the newspaper industry in theU.S., from 2002 to 2009.  He has written for The Nation since 2010, and began a popular daily blog on WikiLeaks that November.  He is the author of eleven books, most recently “The Age of WikiLeaks” and “Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences.” Among his other books are “HiroshimainAmerica” (with Robert Jay Lifton) and “So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits, and the President, Failed onIraq.”  He lives in theNew York Cityarea.

Dr. Ibrahim Saleh is Convenor of Political Communication at the Centre for Film and Media Studies,University of Cape Town,South Africa, a Fulbright scholar, a senior media expert on theMiddle Eastand North Africa (MENA), and an indexed scholar in the Media Sustainability Index (MSI). Saleh’s research includes monographs and anthologies with most of his research in indexed publications. Saleh’s third book was published in 2006: Prior to the Eruption of the Grapes of Wrath in theMiddle East: The Necessity of Communicating Instead of Clashing. Saleh has received several international prizes such as the Carnegie Research Award (2010), Fulbright Certificate of Merit (2009), the World Association of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) in 2007, and the Arab-US Association for Communication Educators (AUSACE) in 2005 and 2006. Saleh chairs the Journalism Research and Education Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is a journalist and currently produces and co-hosts “The Stream” ­ a new web community with a daily TV show on Al Jazeera English that taps into the extraordinary potential of social media to disseminate news. Before joining Al Jazeera English he worked as a reporter and producer for The Doha Film Institute, PBS’s award-winning documentary series Wide Angle, and The New York Times. He has also worked as a freelance reporter inNew York,Beirut,Dubai,Kuwait,DohaandAmman. Soon after graduating with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Ahmed began teaching New Media courses as an Adjunct Professor, including The Bronx Beat and New Media Skills. In 2008, his Masters Thesis earned him a Webby Award for “Defining Middle Ground: The Next Generation of Muslim New Yorkers”.  His work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Frontline/World online, TimeOut, and Washington Week. He also served as a new media mentor on News 21, a collaboration of 12 journalism schools experimenting with forms of in-depth investigative reporting aboutAmerica’s changing social fabric.

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Radical media? UK ad firm threatens activists with legal action over the use of term ‘radical media’

Academics and activists likely recognise the term ‘Radical Media’ from the influential and ground breaking book ‘Radical Media’ written by John Downing first published in 1984.  However, @radical.media, a media company with offices in London has recently claimed ownership over the term ‘Radical Media’ and has threatened legal action against organisers for calling their conference on social movement media and critique: ‘Radical Media’.

The full text of the letter threatening legal action from @radical.media LLC may be read here. In short, in the cease and desist letter they claim that the use of the term could tarnish their ‘reputation’.  In response to this letter conference organisers have changed their conference title to ‘Rebellious Media: Media, Activxt ism and Social Change’ (Although I think they should change it back!) but @radical.media remains unhappy that the conference has kept the conference domain active which is: http://radicalmediaconference.wordpress.com/

 The conference itself looks fantastic with speakers such as Michael Albert, coordinator of the world’s largest radical website, ZNet John Pilger, radical documentary film maker Jessica Azulay, formerly of The New Standard Robert McChesney, renowned media scholar. The ‘Radical Media’ conference is certainly within the activist spirit of ‘radical media’; I only wish I was able to attend the conference in person.

Returning to the misplaced and over zealous actions of the @radica.media group, there are many things with their actions.

To begin with, the concept of ‘radical media’ is an established notion within the field of media and communication studies, social movement studies and the study of alternative media that has been in the public domain since 1984. The book was republished in 2000 and the concept of ‘radical media’ was picked up and used by a wave of scholars interested in studying the rise of the Global Justice Movement in the wake of the 1999 WTO protests against Seattle. As an example, a Google scholar search returns over 1,600 articles that use the concept of ‘radical media’.

For Downing, the idea of radical media was preferable to terms such as ‘alternative media’ in order to capture the motivation of small scale, independent and politically driven media.  The speakers and topics at the Radical Media Conference in London are precisely in the spirit of ‘radical media’ that Downing first wrote about over 27 years ago.

The actions of @radical.media are deplorable and disappointing and reflect the company’s lack of vision not to mention their lack of a ‘radical’ edge.  Looking at what they do, I can see nothing ‘radical’ [in the original sense of the word] about @radical.media; they make advertisements. If anything @radical.media is the pure embodiment of the antithesis of how radical media has been written about for two and a half decades. Sure, they may have a flash website and perhaps they collect ‘urban art’, but to threaten legal action over a name, particularly when the idea is used in good faith and has precedent of being used to describe social movement media for 27 years is simply ridiculous.

The idea of ‘radical media’ is not something that can or should be owned by any corporation. It is a concept which has been used in academia for over 27 years to not only critique corporate media, but to conceptualise how political activists use media to challenge, resist and subvert the power of corporate media.

It is my hope that word of @radical.media’s actions is spread far and wide and that their threat of legal action indeed reflects back on their reputation.  I would encourage those of you who find the actions of @radical.media deplorable to tell them by sending an email to the CEO or corporate president or getting in touch by other means. If you know people who are clients of @radical.media, tell them too.

So, with this in mind, spread the word about the unacceptable actions of @radical.media. Tweet about it, blog about it in order to send a message that corporate bullying, threats and scare tactics are not acceptable.

Edit: It was just brought to my attention that @arcadefire employ @radical.media for their music video. Given the band Arcade Fire have expressed an affinity for radical politics, why not tweet them about the actions of @radical.media too.

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