Friday 8 August 2008

Collective or Individual Signatures? For now we have to do both

The political and social reality of our country dictates that certain statements, positions, analyses, or information have no validity whatsoever unless there is a face, name, and address associated with them.

Oppression in our country is personal. The primary suppression of voices which are critical of the two illegitimate regimes that rule over our divided island begins at home, with intimidation at the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the family.

Most of our intimate and familiar bonds and relationships are used to silence people. The imperative to comply is swallowed down with every social interaction we have, with almost everyone we encounter.

This form of silencing is especially successful for views which involve cultural, sexual, spiritual, or political liberation themes that are not allowed public expression anywhere else in our country. The establishment media collaborate with the regimes even as they pretend to be "independent": they enforce the silencing of dissent by denying access to avenues of expression.

Anonymous journalism has its merits, especially for providing necessary protection to certain vulnerable voices whose identities must be protected. But its inverse, eponymous journalism, is necessary too. Often, especially in the realm of radical politics and alternative culture there is a need for a familiar personal voice identified with a known face to take a stance, to provide validity to information. These can not be substituted by anonymous statements.

Collective entities have not yet evolved in our country that are trustworthy, with a good reputation of being authoritative without being authoritarian. Unfortunately IndyMedia's evolution in that direction is still incomplete. We recognize that even though we would like our collective signature to have a worthy reputation, we know that as a global organization we are not yet ready for it: sometimes we need to publicize an item with a signature of a known individual, whose views or positions need to be presented as such.

The global IndyMedia network has not yet found a good balance between its collective identity and its individual members. The needs of the liberation Movement often call for editorial decisions for which our network is not yet ready. So we do what we can. We prefer the publication of collective statements, but if the Movement will not benefit from it, or if we can serve the Movement better otherwise, we opt for publications signed with a name and address of individuals.

We contribute as much as possible to the development of collective voices and collective actions within the alternative~ radical community with various ways. But we also recognize that from time to time we need to promote the publication of eponymous materials signed by a known person with a face, name, and address. This in turn helps to encourage or inspire people to take a stance, which then helps generate collective responses or collective entities to form.

The individual who shoulders an occasional (or frequent) social risk to embrace difficult positions, or to validate information in our pages, which, if left anonymous will be ignored, has a place among us.

January 2006

Cyprus IndyMedia Collective


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