Fora.tv has this video from the Fourth Annual Investigative Reporting Symposium.
Making Iceland a Free Press Haven
How WikiLeaks Protects Sources
The Goals of WikiLeaks
Founding the Bureau of Investigative Journalism
How the Bureau Operates
The Goals of the Bay Citizen
The Investigative Reporting Workshop
The WIRE and Other Projects
Discussion: The Feasibility of Iceland’s Goals
Although the media monitoring service is being touted as helpful to business and corporate clients, you might just be able to imagine its potential uses in open source intelligence. I learned about this service through a major arms journal.
Except from 7th Space Interactive:
Alterian announced its partnership with SocialEyez, the world’s first social media monitoring service designed for the Arab market. SocialEyez has adapted Alterian SM2 technology to cover more Arabic, English and French content from the Middle East as well as address Arabic-specific language complexities. SocialEyez, in conjunction with Alterian, have been working over the past year, to develop and launch an Arabic language interface for Alterian SM2 to make it the world’s first Arab language social media monitoring tool.
SocialEyez is a division of Media Watch Middle East, the leading media monitoring service in the Middle East, offering services in television, radio, social media, online news and internet monitoring across most sectors including commercial, government and PR. SocialEyez clients benefit from comprehensive Arabic and non-Arabic social media monitoring and also indepth qualitative and quantitative analysis of social media content.
This very short video introduces Telestreet as an Italian media jacking movement that “is a network of pirate micro TV transmitters setup by media activists across Italy.” (Thanks, Nico, for the link).
Telestreet began in 2002 and is now composed of over 200 stations in the country.
Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, “owns 3 of the 4 major commercial TV channels, Italy’s bigger publishing house, supermarkets, football clubs and much more. Along with control over the state owned RAI TV networks he has access to over 90% of the daily television audience.”
As a movement, Telestreet is a political response to the centralization of communication.
Franco Berardi (Bifo), a media theorist and philosopher, is the founder of one of the first Telestreets: Orfeo TV. For him Telestreet is a technical, cultural and political project that starts from the need to reverse the power instituted in commercial television. In the 1970s, he was involved in the Italian political movement Autonomia before fleeing to France where he worked with French philosopher Felix Guattari. You can listen to him expand on Telestreet within the video.
The technology used is basic and cheap to transmit to a neighbouring area. Parallel to the television transmission, programs are generally broadcast over the Internet. The example given of a simple transmitter is said to cost about 500 Euros.
Throughout the history of modern politics, including the politicsof movements, the predominant idea has always been that communication is an instrument for pursuing objectives which are in some way external to them. The most favourable and productive moments of communication are the ones where we understand that things are not really that way. Communication is not an instrument because the public can understand what has to be understood. Communication is effective when there is a possibility to be what we want in the social space. Communication is effective when it becomes public domain and can be shared. It is not a announcement of what is not is not working or what should be done in another way, but a shared space of enjoyment and pleasure where we can be together. This is how communication reacquires its original significance of “commonality”, of “becoming common”, of building a land where we are quite happy to plant our feet.
The above quote is an excerpt from an interview with Berardi. You can read the entire interview, Disobedience and Cognitariat, here.
A short 6:22 minute film on the state of the media is available on YouTube, by the excellent documentary film-maker Adam Curtis.
He says that:
Everyone knows that television news can be boring, that’s because it’s often about politics which can be very dull…But these days there’s another problem with watching the news. Night after night we are shown terrible things which we feel we can do nothing about. Images of civil wars, massacres and starving children which leave us feeling helpless and depressed and to which the only response is: “Oh dear.” There is a name for this. It’s called “oh-dearism” and this is the story of the rise of oh dearism in television news.
These films are about economy, ideology, industrial society, or war.
Blind Shaft, directed by Li Yang. This is a Chinese film about con artists working in coal mines, and shows some of the hardships associated with contemporary working life. This film is part of what is sometimes called Sixth Generation Chinese cinema, a style and period that has moved away from the gloss, shine and romanticism of some earlier films. Blind Shaft has a lot in common with Italian neorealism, and though it follows the story of two people, you get a clear sense of the wider social condition faced by the working poor. I feel that there are many similarities with some later Iranian films, that investigate hardship in the daily life of many poor people, the banality of administrative politics and its dislocation from many pressing social concerns.
Here’s a trailer of the film:
The Afghan Alphabet, directed and narrated by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. This is an Iranian documentary of Afghan refugees in Iran. The main focus is on children receiving education for the first time in their refugee camps.
The first third of this video clip is from the documentary:
Here’s a clip from the film, I had a hard time finding a decent video:
Make mine Freedom, produced by Harding College. This animated film is a fascinating work of overt propaganda about ideology: on capitalism and communism. I think it’s from 1948.
Here’s the video:
I’m again watching videos of the popular philosopher Manuel DeLanda speak on Deleuze‘s break with the tradition of philosophy based on the logic of general and particular categories of thought. I’m especially curious about this in light of trying to better communicate meaning, to surpass semantic meaning and touch on the significance of things, as DeLanda puts it. He articulates a trap that I often see myself falling into, bogged down by the phenomena of language while missing the significance of reality subject to an event or issue.
I first expressed a desire to fundamentally reformulate how I ask questions, the content of investigation, and the medium by which it’s communicated in an earlier post: Synecdoche and Political Analysis in the News.
I think the videos below are great tools in this quest. Plus, I have trouble understanding Deleuze without someone to translate him for me.
The videos are posted on the European Graduate School’s YouTube channel.
This short video by Douleurs Sans Frontières elegantly captures the nature of the war experience in occupied Palestine.
The surge in French production of Western European animation has been impressive in the past few years. The animation is certainly taking a lot from the rich history of illustration present in Western European graphic novels and is a distinct style from the other dominant schools coming out of the US and Japan.
French animation seems to have a heavier, earthy colour palette and the motion of bodies has an edge to it when compared to US animation. I understand that some of the sharpness or jaggedness is a result of the limitations of computer animation but there seems to be an underlying difference in the philosophy of motion and light. I think that animation from the US is influenced by the exaggerated movements present in comic theatre while the French take from dramatic theatre.
Extreme editorial bias, formal and informal censorship, and political interference is a bane of journalists in the Middle East, both local and international. At times, this results in ambiguous or clear battle lines being drawn between media houses that have become partially or fully politicized. The traditional media of print, radio, and television is, however, being challenged in some places by a rise of alternatives provided by the Internet.
In many cases, the state has not yet had an effective response to control these new mediums of communication, and the traditional media is increasingly being influenced by independent journalists, and political activists via blogs and social networking sites. It remains to be seen if states adapt and develop new modes of control over freedom of communication, and if the Internet proves to be an effective long term medium of political comment and organization.
Below is information on the state of the media in Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel taken from a number of studies and posts.
Synecdoche is my favourite of Kaufman‘s stories put to film, perhaps because he had a full hand in directing it, and more of what he intended came through. There was an added dimension here that I don’t remember in his other films.
At first I thought there was some resemblance to Trier’s, Dogville, and that perhaps the directing debut allowed Kaufman to better express a theory of a lack of a natural self in human identity by being in charge of the film and using more nuanced communication through the film’s visual symbology. Now, I wonder if Kaufman isn’t more like Peter Greenaway and seeking to break from cinema entirely by rejecting the traditional form of the medium and essentially trying to forge a new medium of light and sound by transcending both theatre and cinema.
Perhaps Kaufman’s film had less to do with the lack of true or natural self usually portrayed in theatrical and dreamscape cinema styles and more in line with a break from the overarching symbolic order that people use to navigate through social life: Lacan’s ‘Big Other’. In essence telling us that we don’t need to work within the limited parameters of an existing socio-symbolic network.
It may be worth looking at the film again with these in mind:
Ideal Ego – how I would like to be and how I would like others to see me. (an aspect of Lacan‘s Small Other theory of psychoanalysis).
Ego Ideal – that part of the socio-symbolic order (Big Other) of our lives that I use to judge myself by. “The agency whose gaze I try to impress with my ego image,” as Slavoj Zizek puts it.
Superego – the same agency (Big Other) in its vengeful, sadistic, punishing aspect. Deriding you for failing to meet its expectations; “the cruel and insatiable agency which bombards me with impossible demands and which mocks my failed attempts to meet them.” (again Zizek).
I watched some 15 minutes of a Greenaway film (A Zed and Two Noughts) just now. The staged character of this film and Synecdoche gave me an idea I’ll mention in a bit. I think in Synecdoche there was more emphasis on Ideal Ego, and in Greenaway’s more focus on the Ego Ideal. So, in the first more focus on the Eye within myself, and in Greenaway’s on the immaterial Eye of social agency.
I’m impressed by comtemporary filmakers expressing these concepts and experimenting with new means of communication. Often the Eye is quite literal in cinema: The scene of a car accident over-dramatized, the dead in obviously exaggerated poses while a caricature of a mob of photojournalists document the scene, immediately to be followed by a newspaper headlines of the accident that go beyond representation and take the place of the original incident.
I’ve also seen the same done in fiction literature, using variety of ingenious tools.
Has the same been done in journalism or analysis aimed at a popular audience? How does someone go about this? I’m curious, intrigued, and feel challenged to try. If only I knew where to begin.
Some interesting links follow, and yes, at least somewhat related to the above:
Zizek on narrative: Christ, Hegel, Wagner
Video of Peter Greenaway on Opera, Film, and Death:
Roundup of Analysis and Investigative Articles: Israeli air strike on Syria, Canadian intervention, War, Diplomacy, and Trade Unions
Ray Close on the Mysterious Israeli Air Attack on Syria. Ray Close, who was CIA bureau chief in Saudia Arabia for many years, sent around these musings on the Israeli raid on Syria. This is my Monday morning (speculative) analysis of the mysterious Israeli air attack on Syria on September 6, 2007 (with due thanks to others who have contributed their wise perspectives): 1. The Israelis offered us intelligence that Syria is beginning to develop a nuclear capability based on North Korean technology. They urged the US to cooperate with them in mounting a military attack to destroy the Syrian site. The advantages of this action, as presented to the Bush administration with great urgency by the Israelis, would be… (Syria Comment)
Deconstructing the Haiti coup. Below is from the National Film Board: Darren Ell interviews the director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Brian Concannon, about the political situation and specifically the crimes of UN forces (MINUSTAH) in Haiti. Concannon is a thorough, articulate and elequent speaker on the subject of Haitian politics.
Yves Engler is co-author of the groundbreaking book Canada in Haiti: The War on the Poor Majority. It is the first and only in-depth analysis of Canada’s participation in the 2004 coup d’état against the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In this podcast, Yves discusses key elements of Canada’s participation in the coup.
White Guys with Guns: Canada’s Military in Afghanistan. With a few exceptions, media coverage of the mission has been generally sympathetic to the claims and actions of Canadian military officials. It is the purpose of this essay to shed light on the less-reported aspects of the mission, about which our military and government officials rarely speak. (Dave Markland, Mostly Water/ZNet)
Slum Fights. The Pentagon Plans for a New Hundred Years’ War. Duane Schattle doesn’t mince words. “The cities are the problem,” he says. A retired Marine infantry lieutenant colonel who worked on urban warfare issues at the Pentagon in the late 1990s, he now serves as director of the Joint Urban Operations Office at U.S. Joint Forces Command. He sees the war in the streets of Iraq’s cities as the prototype for tomorrow’s battlespace. “This is the next fight,” he warns. “The future of warfare is what we see now.” He isn’t alone. “We think urban is the future,” says James Lasswell, a retired colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. (Nick Turse, TomDispatch)
Ticking clocks and ‘accidental’ war. Whilst Washington looks at the Iranian prospects through the prism of a binary, to bomb or to acquiesce decision, facing President Bush over the remainder of his presidency, the actors in the region see the conflict as imminent and arriving in a roundabout way, through the backdoor – either via escalation of Western and Israeli tension with Syria; or from events in Lebanon, or a combination of both interacting with each other. All these key actors are convinced that conflict, should it occur, will convulse the entire region. (Alastair Crooke, Conflicts Forum)
Pearls for coal. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators began a series of secret meetings on Monday in an effort to draft a joint document for the upcoming US-sponsored peace conference, scheduled to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, in November. The two sides continue to be deeply divided on the major issues at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. According to Palestinian officials close to the talks, the two negotiating teams are likely to spend more time on formulating and asserting their own respective opening positions than bridging the gaps between them. (Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram)
Egypt: Mutual support? Forget it. What should be made of the voluntary cancellation of the editions of 22 independent and opposition newspapers? Is it a coherent way to protest against what journalists believe is a concerted campaign to silence voices critical of the regime? Or is it a shot in the foot? Such questions came to a head when the vast majority of independent and opposition newspapers failed to appear on 7 October in protest against the latest round of custodial sentences handed down to journalists. (Shaden Shehab, Al-Ahram)
Egypt: The Militancy of Mahalla al-Kubra. For the second time in less than a year, in the final week of September the 24,000 workers of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla al-Kubra went on strike — and won. As they did the first time, in December 2006, the workers occupied the Nile Delta town’s mammoth textile mill and rebuffed the initial mediation efforts of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). (Joel Beinin, Middle East Report)
Turkey fears Kurds, not Armenians. “We did not exterminate the Armenians,” Ankara says in effect, “and, by the way, we’re going to not exterminate the Kurds, too.” Turkey’s threat to invade northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels is linked to its outrage over a US Congressional resolution recognizing that Turkey committed genocide against its Armenian population in 1915. Why the Turks should take out their rancour at the US on the Kurds might seem anomalous until we consider that the issue of Armenian genocide has become a proxy for Turkey’s future disposition towards the Kurds. (Spengler, Asia Times)
The Turnaround in Sino-Indian Relations. Many observers have recently argued that the newly forged Indo-U.S. alliance will work against its “intended aims of Chinese encirclement.” Although India denies its part in any attempt at “Chinese containment” to the publicly acknowledged satisfaction of China, the theory nevertheless persists. China’s response to the Indo-U.S. alliance is, however, quite creative. Instead of reacting with alarm, Beijing has gone on a charm offensive to draw New Delhi into a triangular entente among China, India and Russia. India, which has languished under foreign subjugation for centuries, has a visceral aversion to strategic alliances with world powers. Since its independence in 1947, it has followed what could be described as the “Third Way” in world diplomacy, which manifested itself in the birth of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) in the 1950s. China is now building bridges to India based in part on the latter’s instinctive wariness of foreign influences, which is evident in India’s homegrown opposition to its nuclear deal with the U.S. (Tarique Niazi, Japan Focus)