Qui sommes-nous ?An Independent Information Agency for the Environment and Social Alternatives

Alter-médias

Alter-médias is an association aiming to support and help create independent information channels, sources and outlets which :

Offer a decoded picture of current affairs and social and environmental issues, and their significance both locally and globally.

Put forward concrete alternatives and innovative proposals which respond to the pressing social and ecological questions at hand.

Connect journalists, NGO actors, researchers as well as any individuals that are responsive to these issues to develop together awareness-raising materials.

Provide training for individuals and organizations, teaching them techniques to produce and distribute information (texts, videos, photos, website conception, etc.).

Alter-médias has supported “Basta !” (www.bastamag.net), a website on social and environmental issues, international solidarity and active citizenship since its launch in the autumn of 2008. “Basta !” is a participative information website whose written, visual and audiovisual content has been published on the Internet since December 2008. Access to the site is free.

BASTA ! The editorial project

Why Basta !?

It is first and foremost an appeal. An appeal which is also a warning about the turn events are taking in Europe and around the world : economic crisis, democratic crisis, social crisis, environmental crisis… Basta ! is an appeal for resistance, a resistance which involves commitment to creating another society and another world. In spite of everything, this other world is beginning to take shape thanks to the actions and ideas of a number of movements from all over the world : these political, social, cultural and “global justice” movements which are emerging in defiance of economic cynicism, mass individualism and destructive policies

As socially-committed journalists, in our capacity as the privileged onlookers of these movements, we not only want to – we have to play a role. Not as mere conveyors or as another ideologically rigid outlet of the press, but as providers of information, explanation and interrogation. We are certain that a new political and philosophical lease of life is needed in a world faced with enormous risks. But we intend to maintain our analytical role.

Develop alternative information

In our societies where interactions are becoming more and more complex, access to quality information is of primordial importance : in order to sharpen critical thinking and revive a worn-out democracy, to pinpoint serious current crises, and fuel collective responses. International solidarity groups, and other movements and organizations that seek to advocate a different model of society need to reflect on how to address this genuine need.

The media should not only be thought of as a communication instrument for such-and-such cause or campaign. Although it is essential, it is not enough just to criticize existing mainstream media. Supporting new alternative medias and strengthening existent ones is of vital importance.

Fusing social and ecological issues

Healthcare, employment, inequalities, the economy, living conditions, environmental protection, democracy, access to basic rights, state policies, management of natural resources… All these topics, whether they be on a local, regional, national, European or international scale, fall under the banner of social and ecological issues. It is these issues that we have initially chosen to address.

Social and ecological issues are still largely separated, divided and even opposed, in peoples’ minds, in the press and on the Web. While the social question remains neglected in the prostituted concept of “sustainable development”, ecology is often reduced to just a trend. Sometimes, these two subjects are simply pushed aside (in fact if not in speech) as the unfortunate but necessary collateral damage of our post-industrial societies, speeding ahead in the direction of unlimited growth with competitiveness and profitability as its sole criteria. One issue we are particularly interested in is that of agriculture, its different functions, its impact on peoples’ health and on the environment.

Original information and editorial independence

By delving into the rich variety of sources addressing these subjects – NGO experts, “whistle-blowers”, researchers, academics, politicians, labor union representatives, social movements, community groups, independent journalists, activists, partners in developing countries – and by giving an important place to research, on-the-field reporting and testimonials, Basta ! aims to equip its readers with original information and complementary
analyses on social and ecological developments.

Event coverage needs to be complemented with interpretative and documentary resources so that it can be contextualized and offer readers concrete avenues for change (alternatives, initiatives to participate in, contacts of organizations, etc.). Falling into pessimistic analysis or fruitless indignation is something we seek to avoid.

Platform for community-based expression, junction of social movements

Rallying (whether one-off or of a longer or shorter duration) and citizen campaigns are the lifeblood of social and political life. Basta ! gives a voice to socially-involved individuals, groups and organizations through various written or audiovisual mediums (articles, filmed interviews, videos of protests and direct action, recordings of testimonials, on line photos, exchanging views with readers, etc.).

The Basta ! website seeks to be a junction, a space where different “cultures” - activist, NGO, union, political and academic can meet and work together on the issues at hand.

Aims

Aims concerning the general public : to inform, pinpoint and raise awareness

- Pinpoint social and ecological issues in current affairs, provide access to alternative analyses and encourage responsiveness.

- Publicize community and individual actions, social claims, solidarity movements, and the alternatives they offer, primarily through images and videos.

- Enable these alternatives to be appropriated, open them up for collective development through interactive spaces and debates.

- Using journalists involved in the project as mediators, promote dialogue between individuals, community group representatives, specialists and politicians on social and environmental issues.

Aims concerning community groups and citizen movements : to publicize, bring together and encourage dialogue

- Create a space where community groups and local citizen initiatives can be heard.

- Draw thoughts, movements and experiences together from every angle, as facilitated by the Internet, enable those involved both locally and internationally to share, to meet and to discuss.

- Question how relevant the proposed alternatives are, whether local or global. Encourage debates and dialogue between activists and readers.

- Highlight the global dynamic of change which forms the background of these movements, actors and alternatives.

Key topics covered

- Agriculture, GMOs, food issues, and alternatives to the productivist model
- Ecological housing
- The financial crisis and its social consequences
- Health in the workplace and “stress-based” management
- The social and environmental practices of companies and alternatives offered by the solidarity economy sector.
- Questions related to the emergence of new technologies : nanomaterials, nano-foods, artificial seeds…

En bref