Indymedia is News Service not a free for all mouthpiece.

Firstly, Bristol Indymedia is not owned by the whole movement, it is a service managed a group of volunteers who raise money to pay for the site, develop the service voluntarily, deal with issues arising from it, run meetings etc. These volunteers make decisions on how the service is run,without volunteers there is no Indymedia. 

We have recently had criticism about our proposed new policy of deleting property damage posts. We have thought about this and this is our revised thinking.

Indymedia is a platform for people to publish news. It is not a place for groups to incite criminal damage and explain how to undertake property destruction.

This does not mean that someone could not post a news report on an act of criminal damage or civil disobedience.

What it does mean is that groups who are undertaking criminal damage cannot use the site as their mouthpiece to incite people to carry out acts of destruction.

An made up example of this would be first person statements like the following:

WE are the (insert a group here) and WE caused this property damage here because WE believe that the system sucks for whatever reason. This is how WE did this, you take this thing and do this and then destroy this.  WE also believe that you should be doing the same thing. 

This is not citizen journalism, this is not a news statement, this is a statement from a group promoting criminal acts through our website. If this is what a group wishes to do then there are loads of places that groups can places statements of their actions and why they did it.

If someone wants to write a news item about these acts then an article written like this would not be removed.

On Sunday a group called (insert name of group here) alleged that they caused this property damage here because of these reasons…. If you want to read more about this please go to this website where they have released a statement.

We will not act as MOUTHPIECE for a group to PROMOTE AND INCITE ACTS OF CRIMINAL DAMAGE,  particularly when this is being published anonymously with a complete lack of accountability. We are not a PLATFORM site we are an CITIZEN JOURNALISM SITE for people to post NEWS ITEMS on. We will categorically DELETE these posts from the website as we have done so in the past.  

We are happy for people to publish news items that report on acts of civil disobedience that include criminal damage, such as this that was posted on the UK Indymedia about the EDO campaign:

“Anti-militarist activists entered the ITT/EDO MBM arms factory in Moulescombe, Brighton in the early hours of this morning, where they are believed to have caused extensive damage to the offices, and to equipment used to make arms, including the ‘zero retention force arming units’ and ‘ejector release unit 151′ which the Smash EDO/ITT campaign says are supplied to the Israeli Air Force. The campaign became aware of the action when they received a phone call from those inside the factory this morning who said that they were ‘decommissioning’ the factory in solidarity with the people of Gaza, who are currently at the receiving end of the factories products.

The arms factory has been targetted by the Smash EDO Campaign for a number of years. In 2005 EDO MBM took High Court action in an attempt to curtail protest at the factory. They lost the action, which proved to be an expensive own-goal as it gave the campaign increased exposure, and brought it to national attention. In 2008 the factory was taken over by ITT.

Weekly protests have been held outside the factory since 2004, and there have been a number of national demos, at the factory and on the streets of Brighton. On October 15th, the SHUT ITT Demo succeeded in shutting the factory for the day.

According to reports in the national media, today’s action may have the effect of shutting down the factory for some time. The BBC quotes Det Ch Insp Graham Pratt as saying: “Windows had been smashed and offices turned over in what I would describe as wanton vandalism, but with machinery and equipment so targeted that it could have been done with a view of bringing business to a standstill….The damage is significant and the value substantial.”

Prior to entering the factory, the activists made a video (attached) in which they explained their reasons for the action. One commented: “Israel are committing a gross crime now in Gaza. Israel have killed hundreds of children. I think its absolutely disgusting that weapons made in our cities and in our country are being used to kill innocent women and children. They have been used indiscriminately. If the law and the police cant do anything about it its about time somebody else did.”

About 30 police are believed to have attended the factory, where they witnessed computers and office equipment being thrown out of first floor windows. Nine people are believed to have been arrested and taken to the Hollingbury and Worthing Police Stations, where police say they are being held on ‘suspicion of burglary’. One protester is believed to have required hospital treatment.”

We are not the only Indymedia site to have this policy.

US Indymedia has the following in their guidelines on what to post:

What not to post:

US-IMC editorial team volunteers reserve the right to hide posts that:

  • advocate criminal activity indicating a specific time, place and/or manner

  • are duplicate posts (the most recent remaining on the newswire)
  • are obviously libelous or slanderous
  • interfere with the technical functionality of the website
  • are intended to disrupt the site
  • are empty posts (no content or gibberish)
  • are commercial advertisements
  • promote racism, homophobia, sexism, or other discrimination.
  • are obviously incorrect or misleading, including attempts to spread dis-information
  • contain threats and/or intimidation
  • flooding and spamming

In their what to post section they state that

What to post:

General Site Guidelines

  • Please post news items only; post your comments after existing articles.
  • Please post just one copy of your story. It may take a while for media to show up, so please be patient.
  • If you want to post multiple stories from other sites, please summarize and link them in one article rather than posting many articles one after the other which push other articles off the front page.

We encourage people to publish:

  • Researched, timely articles;
  • Eyewitness accounts of progressive actions and demonstrations;
  • Coverage of issues of importance to the United States;
  • Media analysis;
  • Investigative reports exposing injustice;
  • Coverage of events affecting underrepresented groups;
  • Media produced from within underrepresented groups;
  • Local stories with national or global significance;
  • Stories on people or projects working towards social and economic justice.
  • Original, underreported stories of local, regional, national, or global importance;

These are similar to our guidelines on what to post. If you do not agree with this policy, then we suggest that you set up and run your own news website, which you are responsible and accountable for managing.

People who have strong views on this should join the Collective and take the initiative in actually running the site.

Bristol Indymedia Collective

 

5 comments

  1. Porcupine /

    This is a *major* improvement and answers most of my original criticisms. Thanks for listening :-)

    I would still suggest that you look into getting site-users to take some part in deciding what content is promoted and hidden, for the sake of your own work-load if nothing else. Perhaps a two-teir system, where your say takes priority (in order to prevent astroturfing), but anything that hasn’t yet been seen by an admin is hidden to the public if it recieves too many ‘downvotes’. That way spam control is made simpler in the majority of cases. It would also allow admins to evaluate editorial decisions if they could see this kind of feedback from their users.

    I do not know what system Bristol Indymedia is built on, but I have experience in node.js web development and in information security, so I would be happy to help out in building what I’ve described above if I can….

  2. As per LZ’s comment on the previous post and with porcupine’s comment above there seems to be a call for a public meeting. Last time this occurred no one attended bar the current imcvol team I am reliably informed. The project desperately needs volunteers.

    The current system is wordpress based I believe and it was chosen as it was most complete and removed the need to hand make a full system for a newswire. I believe they could not find an up/down vote system for wordpress, I’m sure they are intrigued to know of one.

    Personally I think it is very sad Porcupine that you suggest that all volunteers for this project are sexist due to the content of one post. That seems extremely offensive and the place for such allegations is under that post. It also reduces anyone’s desire to get involved in this project. Words hurt! everyone should think before they type.

    This is a much more well rounded and considered response imcvol team then the previous post. It’s well thought out and I support it.

    • Porcupine /

      > there seems to be a call for a public meeting
      I don’t really want to go to a meeting, tbh. I could make some changes via a pull request or a patch. Whether the IMC team accepts/applies it is up to them in any case

      > The current system is wordpress based
      Was the original code modified at all? If so, is it public?

      > Personally I think it is very sad Porcupine that you suggest
      > that all volunteers for this project are sexist due to the
      > content of one post. That seems extremely offensive and the
      > place for such allegations is under that post. It also
      > reduces anyone’s desire to get involved in this project.
      It is never offensive to accuse someone of being sexist, unless you’re blatantly wrong. Are you suggesting that you shouldn’t call out sexism in activist projects, because it discourages people from getting involved? If one mod promotes a post containing sexism and the others do nothing about it – then they are all responsible IMHO. There is a clear policy against it, and if anything that’s what made me espescially angry – instead of deleting the post, it was promoted! Yet prior to the statement released the other day, they were censoring posts that did not explicitly or clearly contravene their guidelines, while at the same time actively violating those guidlines themselves by promoting said post. I should also have said something under the offending post, that’s true (and I only didn’t because I’m a lazy coward), but it is related.

      Would you also disagree strongly with one of the other commenters, who called the insurrectionists ‘stupid’ and ‘a cop front’? Those are serious accusations too…

  3. Levvee /

    The post that you referred as sexist was one about Sunrise Off Grid festival a festival which has a whole area that is dedicated to women. It even has a Red Tent which is “A red tent circle is a circle of women in your local town or community whose intention is to meet regularly and deepen their connection to the Sacred Feminine.” yet you call this sexist. The organisers of the festival were criticised at the Anarchist bookfair for just calling their project Building Man so now they have added a feminine aspect to the project they are again criticized. The event is also participatory, there are loads of women involved in organizing it and running workshops who obviously don’t feel its sexist. I think it was a good post to promote and I hope lots of people go to the event. I think you need to think a bit more about what you are stating online, as you obviously have not looked into this properly. I also see that you don’t really want to get involved in Indymedia, yet are still happy to moan about it. In terms of the Insurrectionist action, they have directly attacked Bristol Indymedia and all Bristol Anarchist under their post

    “Fuck Indymedia and the Anarcho-Left” here http://325.nostate.net/?p=9288

    Where they state
    “Indymedia UK & Bristol have repeatedly allowed their websites to be used as platforms to smear and denigrate the insurrectional project, that of the FAI/CCF/IRF, 325 and the anarchists of praxis.

    It is known for a long time that these sites allow the spreading of lies and falsities against the insurrectionals, and that they allow the publishing of photos of demonstrations without naturally blurring the faces of those taking part, compromising their security, and most disgusting, those being arrested, rapidly aiding the filling of police files with their actions.

    Not only do they allow the publishing and dissemination of rumours which only serve repression but they have acted as judges on the supposed nature of the sabotages and attacks. They sought to impose their discrimination on the attacks and upon the action groups, aiming at having a dominating influence on their behaviour, like the civil anarchists who also believed through their hysterical denunciations they could impose their own servility on the uncontrollables.

    Their hostility to our projects is nothing surprising, as IMC UK & Bristol are tiny forums for the last desperate cries of the British activist herd who are stuck in the mire of legalism and so-called ‘direct’ democracy. Despite continuous anarchist property destruction and the riots of 2011, the ‘movement’ has been shown to be almost totally out-of-touch and out-of-date; the fire of individual insurgency was not in need of amateur journalistic fleas, keyboard kaisers or do-gooder hyaenas.

    The new anarchist international war also does not need or require such useless people, because it has created its own information structures and helped co-create and form many more, that have solidified struggles in the ‘social’ and ‘anti-social’. The informal international translation and counter-information network has a specific reality that comprises much more than any of its individual parts, one that has eclipsed many Indymedia sites that have been based on a very weak set of political and social values, largely based on the phoney social contract of civil rights, negotiation and legal defiance of democracy that characterised the ‘anti-summit’/ ‘anti-globalisation’ period from where it sprang 13 years ago. The informal internet anarchist network overcomes many of these previous sites of information activism, and an ongoing development is taking place internationally. Many of the prior spaces of the ‘movement’, physical and virtual, are now in the hands of the enemy, or might as well be.

    Nothing but a stale socialist breeze of nostalgia for ‘better days’ will come from the ‘social/anarchist movement’ in the UK. Their civility is the polar opposite of the evolution of the new internationalist anarchy and next generation armed struggle. Civil anarchism denounces the new anarchist war, its methods, principles and they reject the insurrectional consciousness, revolutionary language and the individual awareness of the immediacy of the attack.”

    So basically anyone reading this who is involved in positive action in Bristol has been slated by a bunch of elitist, nihilist individuals, who have nothing to offer apart from criminal damage (nice one for the insurance companies) and attacking people in Bristol who are trying to make a better world. Yet, even after posting this nonsense they still want to use Indymedia to post stuff, hypocrites.

    • Porcupine /

      > I also see that you don’t really want to get involved
      > in Indymedia, yet are still happy to moan about it.
      Uh, I just offered to do them some work, for free, that would be both complex and time-consuming, and that would make the site easier to maintain.

      > you obviously have not looked into this properly.
      Maybe I will look into it deeper than I already have. But I have reviewed the website and the post, so I doubt this will change my mind.

      > In terms of the Insurrectionist action, they have directly
      > attacked Bristol Indymedia and all Bristol Anarchist
      I don’t see why you are bringing 325 into this? I didn’t think that all insurectionaries where involved in that – maybe you know something I don’t? In any case, I’m not involved in it or in any part of the insurrectionary movement, and this discussion is about Indymedia. Slating other groups or saying ‘they criticised us first!’ won’t change my opinions on that.

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