WSIS media lab, fwd: [alien8 at [Imc-europe] Proposal: Polymedia Lab]

Chris Croome chris at
Thu Jul 31 12:36:08 UTC 2003

Hash: SHA1


Mark Ray suggested that I should forward the following
proposal for a Polymedia Lab at the WSIS to these two

The email that follows can be found on the web, together
with an RTF version, at this address:

I think that there is some overlap with the ideas of the
FSF and this proposal and I'm sure that the people
organising this would welcome input for the FSF.


PS sorry to join this list and then just forward stuff
from elsewhere -- I'll now do some lurking :-)

- ----- Forwarded message from alien8 <alien8 at> -----

From: alien8 <alien8 at>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 10:25:21 +0200
To: imc-europe at
List-Id: For organising a European IMC meetings and co-ordination
Subject: [Imc-europe] Proposal: Polymedia Lab

Media Lab 2/03: Polymedia Lab at WSIS
8-13 December 2003 - Geneva - WSIS

Information increasingly represents the ground on which authority is
based and on which struggles are being fought out. Intellectual
Property is becoming a major means of control, and the media-led
battles for the thoughts and the consent of people are playing a
central role in global politics - once again proven by the tales on
weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq war.

As an intervention into the reorganisation of power, communication
and information, we propose a media lab during the World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS).

The WSIS - Background
In December 2003 the United Nations will hold the first part of a
global conference on information and communication: The World Summit
on the Information Society (WSIS). WSIS will be the first in the
recent series of global summits to deal with information issues. Just
as the Rio summit in 1992 structured the politics of sustainable
development, the WSIS may set the framework for how issues around
information and communication will be perceived and dealt with in the
future. Because of the dominant role of Northern governments and
corporations, we can expect further moves towards neoliberalisation,
the privatisation of knowledge, and repressive cybersecurity regimes,
while development concerns will be swept aside by the spread of
western technology.

Polymedia Lab at the WSIS
We are proposing to hold a media and communication laboratory as a
counter-event to the WSIS. Based on the experiences of the Hub in
Florence in November 2002, and organised in close cooperation with
the proposed media lab for the next European Social Forum in Paris,
Polymedia Lab will be a temporary space of experimentation and
confrontation for alternative and grassroots communication projects.
It will serve as a platform to develop and experiment with horizontal
communication, to share experiences and knowledge, to create networks
of alternative communication projects, and present an alternative
vision of information society.

Polymedia Lab will focus on horizontality, emancipation, openness,
creativity and freedom, where WSIS will be about hierarchy,
exclusion, and control. It will present practical projects by those
who actually develop information society on a grassroots level. While
WSIS will be busy presenting dry documents by those who use, exploit
and repress the work of others, we will engage in an act of
communications insurgency.

What would we envision? What could take place at Polymedia Lab?
- - a big open Indymedia Centre with public access terminals
- - pirate TV and pirate radio (local)
- - video and radio streams (global, multidirectional, and in
interaction with streams being produced elsewhere)
- - presentations on issues around the information society: media
concentration, intellectual property rights, infowar, ISP and media
laws, etc.
- - skill-sharing workshops on technological aspects of communication:
Linux, pgp, WiFi, satellite transmission, hacking, streaming, etc.
- - permanent workshops on non-technical aspects of communication:
horizontal, non-hierarchical ways of communicating
- - network meetings of groups and individuals involved with free TV,
free radio, Indymedia, video, etc. to develop and facilitate

Who are we talking to?
In addition to being platforms for exchange, experiment and
networking, media labs aim to reach out to other communities and to
publicise horizontal grassroots approaches. At the WSIS, Polymedia
Lab will try to interact with "Civil Society"  (as defined by the
UN). Hundreds of NGOs and civil society groups are involved in the
summit preparation process, around 700 members of civil society
participated in the last preparatory conference alone. We will
strengthen links and exchange with some of the more progressive civil
society organisations, while at the same time questioning and
criticising the role of NGOs in the UN process, the corporate
takeover of the UN, and Corporatised Global Governance. We will
demonstrate other ways to raise our voices than lobbying and
gratefully participating in a global summit.

At the same time, Polymedia Lab will spread news and analysis about
the WSIS to other parts of the world through polymedia reporting and
multidirectional video and radio streaming, providing an interface
for remote participation and for interactive workshops with those who
cannot come to Geneva.

- From media lab part 1 to part 2
The WSIS media lab should become the climax of a month-long concerted
alternative information society campaign, to be started at the ESF
media lab in Paris in November. During that month we will educate
ourselves and others about the WSIS and its possible impacts,
counteract the summit agenda, and show the value of information and
communication systems based on freedom, horizontality and cooperation.

Let's get started...
As a next step we will need to form an organising group. Polymedia
Lab will only happen if many people and groups join the effort.
Please tell us if you would like to participate by sending an email
to "wsis at". That address has also been set up as a
mailing list for organising the lab. In addition, we hope that many
groups and individuals will prepare workshops, radio programmes,
actions, etc. If you are one of them, please let us know via the same

Polymedia Lab was first proposed at a meeting on counter-events to
the WSIS in April 2003. It will be part of a whole series of
counter-events which also include the World Communication Rights
Forum and a Make-World conference.

Polymedia Lab Initiative Group
(individuals from European IMCs)

Imc-europe mailing list
Imc-europe at

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