A symposium was held last weekend at Hokkaido University to highlight the contributions of citizens media to summit reporting and the role of media centers.
The event was organized by the G8 Shimin Media Center Pre-Establishment Working Group （G８市民メディアセンター設立準備会）with cooperation from Hokkaido U faculty and the G8 Media Network and had been announced on the second page of the Hokkaido Shinbun, the major local newspaper. About 30 people attended, many saying (in a survey) they were ‘highly interested’ in alternative media. NHK, the local public service broadcasters reported afterwards.
Panelists in the first session talked about definitions and histories of citizens media, their differences to mainstream media, radio movements in Hokkaido, and the potential for activating citizens media in Hokkaido.
The second session spoke about alternative and citizens media in summits, including the Indymedia network and the Association of Progressive Communications (APC). A participant report of radio activists work at last year’s G8 in Germany followed, rounded out by a sneak preview of G8MediaNetworkTV, a video site for not just ‘protest footage’ but background information. It wants to appeal also to the uninitiated. One of the pieces shown was a moving interview with an activist anti-G8 activist. The mass media in Japan paint critics of the G8 as irrational, violent and dangerous. In contrast, this activist provides a calm and quiet explanation of the reasons for opposing the G8, and her vision for a meeting that is not just a protest, but a community showing how politics can be made differently. The camera lingers quietly on her face, and cuts are softened by dissolves. This piece, more than any talk answered the symposium question- why do we need citizens media at summits.