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