Indymedia's Independence: From Activist Media to Free Software (01 Jul 2004)
Indymedia displays a different version of openness and free speech rights than that of FOSS. Its edifice is an expression of the opinion that free speech does not only flow from legal protection, nor is free speech a right that should necessarily be valued over all other ideals. Political expression and participation is fundamentally seen as a by-product of structural conditions and the invisible workings of ideology. One IMC activist asserted that though local centers and individual activists "have different beliefs in the sanctity of free speech," many IMCs have undergone a "maturation of the free speech ideal." In one respect, this maturation could be seen as a realization that provides a partial solution to Marcuse's influential, trenchant critique of free speech in Repressive Tolerance. Marcuse notes that free speech is as much about access to economic resources as it is about legal protection: "The change of influencing, in any effective way, this majority is at a price, in dollars totally out of the reach of the radical opposition. Here too, free competition and exchange of ideas have become a fare. The left has no equal voice, no equal access to mass media and their public facilities" (1965: 199).
Indymedia's current position is a less-than-uncompromising commitment to free speech. Instead it seeks to level the playing field of expression by providing a platform for that "equal voice." IMCs are altering structural conditions through the founding of "public facilities" in the form of technologies necessary for "the change of influencing."
Article URL: http://journal.planetwork.net/article.php?lab=coleman0704
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