Text : Motivations Behind The Tools
In a context where the media have influenced a lot of political decisions these last years ( see the influence of the videos in the last al-aqsa intifada ) and is able to influence opinions in western countries, it seems very necessary to have a well-balanced view of the situation and this implies that the source of information shouldn't be so much controlled by rich and wealthy western media groups. A few independent journalists have opened the way and have tried to report on the situation, involving themselves until a situation of danger and sometimes it ended up tragically ( cases of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall ), but, although they tried to bring another view of the situation, it was still in the frame of foreign reporters going there to report.
We must also underline that the usual media ( tv, radio, newspaper ) always ask for sensationalist headlines and, in this sense, they rarely speak of the real and daily life and problems of the common people, we even know some cases where some news have been blackened and exagerated to raise audience figures in western countries.
These problems inherent to the traditional media ( the control and the sensationalism ) give a twisted view of realities and sometimes orient people politically. So, where is the problem there and how can it be addressed ( if not fixed ) ?
We do not pretend all these risks can be avoided with new technologies ( as you know, pedophilia and snuff movies have a big success on the internet and a mechanism of control will always be necessary ), but the problem of political manipulations is mainly caused by the structure and size of media production units, who always end up in the hands of some political group and censor the real voice of common people, so, mainly this a problem of scale and costs of media production.
That's where we must propose another alternative, on a more human scale and with affordable technologies.
A group of people that we represent here, a multitud of individuals with different histories, background and nationalities ( italian, french, spanish and spanish colonized, argentinian, chilean, mexican, colombian, brasilian, norvegian, slovenian, ...) joined together over the last three years to create a human-scale media and an empathic network of human experiences in different locations of the globe ( mainly europe and south america ), this informal structure took the name of G.I.S.S. ( Global Independent Streaming Support ).
It is mainly run by free software activists, that lend some resources and servers to make it growing in terms of connections, but, keeping in mind that the media production unit must remain accessible to everyone ( so, yes, a simple internet connection and a basic computer equipped with a microphone and eventually a camera is enough to become one of the broadcasting agents ).
This structure have been created from the needs to have access to independent multi-media voices like around 100 emitting radios right now ( Radio numero critico ( chile ), Radio Paca ( barcelona ), ... ) and some video streams created for special events like World and European Social Forums ( Porto Alegre, Caracas, Atenas ) or free software events ( FISL Porto Alegre, Spanish Hackmeetings, ... ).
A general list of emitting channels and a map of the sources and listeners show the activity of the network in real-time : http://gollum.artefacte.org/mapuse/map.html and http://gollum.artefacte.org/mapuse/map-bf.html ( Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion projection ).
It is linked to different audio, video and text archives : horitzo TV (http://horitzo.tv/mediabase), piksel (http://www.piksel.no/piksel07/streams.htm), indymedia (http://www.indymedia.org), ... For each emitting station, it is made easy to build its own web interface taking advantage of the modular architecture of the software components proposed. It is also possible to join the network by registering its own server in the ring of servers.
These tools can be used to build real independent emitting stations ( radio or television ), like in the experience of Horitzo TV ( http://www.horitzo.tv ), proposing alternatives to the official media industry ( CNN or al-jazeera ) that can help connecting different parts of the world 'fuera de cobertura' like palestine, galicia or colombia,and that will be available also to the scattered people around the world and of course to everybody interested in hearing a different voice than the one of the main-stream media.
(text by yves degoyon, 2007)