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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
OurMedia final report #3: Inspiring, deep and daunting challenges ahead not least Ch31 in Sydney hierarchical model
Mood:  hug me
Topic: independent media

Picture: From top left to right all taken Day 4 at ICE - Information & Cultrual Exchange, Granville field trip1.computer lab called Switch 2. brave Hong Kong democracy activist Oiwan Lam 3. rap artists in the sound booth 4. rap or is it hip hop artist 5. Switch work area 6. Voices of the Nile presentation 7. Melodic song from local youth 8. Interview of traditional owner 9. Somali TV product from ICE 10. Senate candidate from AMWU Doug Cameron.

The morning after the 4 day Our Media conference by the local UWS and UTS I woke up to Geraldine Doogue on radio national here Saturday April 14th 07


08:35: Citizen Journalism  Read Transcript Interviewing Stuart Allan Professor of Media Studies, University of the West of England, and Tony Walker Manager, ABC, Digital Radio www.abcdigitalfutures.net


The OurMedia gathering is described in one notice like this:


The 6th international OURMedia Conference (OM6) is to be held in Sydney in 2007. The OM6 Conference will bring together international and national experts, researchers, policy makers, activists and local community development practitioners to discuss ways to ensure a sustainable future for building …The Sydney conference is to be hosted by the School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney in association with the Centre for Cultural Research at UWS, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, with community partner Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), an organization based in Granville, Sydney.
Past OURMedia conferences have been organized in the United States (2001), Spain (2002), Colombia (2003), Brazil (2004) and India (2005). These conferences have consisted of scholarly and academic presentations, media activism initiatives, policy workshops, community cultural development roundtable debates, new media labs, research-led forums and engagements by local media producers.

Concurrent with this conference there were some related stories about new media apart from the Radio National interview above: We also noticed:

 Boy dupes YouTube to delete videos, and

The main website for organising the Sydney OurMedia conference is here: http://www.ourmedia07.net/


An organisational website is here http://www.ourmedianet.org/general/about_us.html


The Sydney April 2007 conference documentation website is here:



A good summary website describing the enormous social and intellectual capital of this‘network and forum’ including the recent April 07 Sydney conference (the sixth international meeting) is here (including a few pictures)




My own humble 2 previous articles of the Sydney conference with some colourful images complementing this third report are here: at topic independent media on the right menu


- Thursday, 12 April 2007

Our Media conference #2: excellent capacity building continues


- Wednesday, 11 April 2007

When will it be Our Media?: #1 report: Conference of international practitioners kicks off


SAM reported the Australian Climbing Festival on the Easter Weekend where hundreds were greeted by two of the local traditional Aboriginal owners of the land in a 'welcome to country'. The audience were very appreciative and enjoyed the interaction. But at OM6 sadly there was no such authentic interaction the first day though a local was booked apparently. There was the UTS 3/2005 copy of the Southside News which was very strong in solidarity with local Aboriginal concerns. But I wondered about the no show.


In report #1 I noted there was a dearth of local activism in the Guthrie Theatre on opening day with some empty seats. This changed especially by the 4th day and there were always strong hints of an underbelly of activism from this writers schematic chalkings, to poster boards and Chilean posters, to Zanny Begg/Keg De Souza’s activist newspaper “If You See Something, Say Something”. There was also a Polymedia lab for unplanned activities which was at first quiet then gathered some steam.


In the end I concluded the lack of rah rah activism belied the depth of the OurMedia roots. The energy of the event was reflected more in the dull roar of the morning and afternoon tea breaks, and especially the raucous 150 dinner goers at Thai Phatong on Thursday night. This was a gathering of representative experts including CAAMA Aboriginal broadcasters from central Australia. The wikipedia article above notes too:

“Some 70 participants from overseas attended the Sydney conference. OURMedia 6 claims … 130 presentations from people in 35 countries, representing over one hundred organisations.

Currently OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios claims to … a network of over 500 persons from some 50 countries globally. It says that its "purpose" is to "connect scholars, practitionres, activists, artists, and policy-makers to provide spaces for dialogue and exchange".

Certainly the local UWS/UTS website has an impressive list of universities and countries of attendees.

The toned down nature of the event was explained as much by this comment at the end of the 3rd day during the organisation session for next time: “funding for this conference meant deleting activist from every application and then reinserting it in the conference itself.” The horizontal and subterranean nature of OurMedia and it’s deceptively academic style is also revealed by the absence of any formal secretariat so far.

Apparently Clemencia Rodriguez distinguished with her own wikipedia entry did most of this for several years but admitted at one point she “hates writing grant applications and I avoid it as much as possible” . This rang true as she presented a paper on sophisticated culture jamming of a rampaging cattle industry in South America via the salsa song tradition. More here at www.cfsc.org and www.comminit.com  But this sparse resourcing has had other affects: Somewhat exuberant and panicky exhortations of Gabriele Hadl  for us to stay for the planning work of the next conference. Hadl of Austrian orgins and a fluent Japanese speaker at Tokyo University was a stand out dynamic figure at the conference and obviously committed to the network.

During this session, activist and increasingly media practitioner, Jethro Pettit, the descendant of a campaigning newspaper owning abolitionist against slavery, also made a plea that Our Media get some more solid resourcing of its network organisation.

Perhaps in this way the international community, alternative and Indigenous media might get more of what it deserves while Multinational corporations co opt mass populations sometimes subtely, often blatantly.

Pictures: From top left to right, all taken day 3 at UTS Harris St 1.The highly impressive Ahmed Swapan Mahmud of Bangladesh group Voice www.voicebd.org with conference organiser Dr Juan Salazar of UTS 2. Chalkings relating to Big Media abc, News Ltd, Lake Cowal issue 3.  Tom Dawkins of www.vibewire.net at youth forum 4. dull roar of out of session fug 5. cute organiser 6. heavy weight organisers from left a. Jethro Pettit b. ? c. Gabriele Hadl d. ? from Canada e. Clemencia Rodrigeuz (refer wikipedia) f.Juan Salazar g. Elli Rennie  h. Alfonso Gumucio (wikipedia) 7. at right Ilaria Vanni of UTS here  8. very sparse Liberian radio station

In Sydney for instance we have the scandal of the Ch31 TV licence failing to broadcast excellent programmes produced by the ICE resource centre at Granville. We have local academics criticising 31 for its “woeful lack of a participatory model” and Ch31 Melbourne veterans describing their comparative success based on

1. low financial gearing and high volume advertising to small business

2. only groups directly involved in production of tv programmes are stakeholders in the management and operation of the channel.

In fact we made a point of a doorstop interview of Professor Wayne McKenna, dean of Uni of Western Sydney on Tuesday 10th of April 07 which proceeded like this:

SAM: Hi Professor, I’m with one of the programme providers for Ch31, can you answer a question on the record?

Prof: No, You’re with a programme provider?’

 SAM: Yes,

Prof: Off the record [......some things said, nothing too surprising].‘

Prof: On the record, we never intended to operate community tv. Our interest is educational opportunities.

SAM : So you need a partner to satisfy the investment by UWS so far [at least a $million]

Prof: Our aim is to consolidate the future of Ch31.

SAM: I suppose theres is a great need in that part of the city out at UWS?

Prof: Yes. When I pushed for it to be in Penrith it wasn’t very popular.

SAM: Do you think it’s possible to synthesize the education/training agenda with the community sector practitioners participation?

Prof: Yes, let me choose my words carefully. Yes I do think its possible and we would like to strengthen links there.

SAM: OK on that positive note thanks for your time .

But the hopeful words are not the actual experience of the community sector that had a functioning, viable and accessible Ch31 for a good 10 years admittedly of patchy quality, until it was put out to tender and allocated to a UWS back consortium that prompty took it off air for 18 months. Now limping along it is rumoured to be falling over with UWS a beggar in the marketplace to save its educational asset that really belongs to civil society not university beancounters as such.

It was civil society we inspected on the 4th day of the conference (as pictured at top), who were the losers in this betrayal of participatory tv broadcasting ideals in favour of thinly disguised training subsidy to Big Media TV sector: In particular the community around such as the Information & Cultural Exchange resource centre on Parramatta Rd in Granville http://www.ice.org.au/

On the ground floor of the AMWU building we got a stirring speech on fair trade and innovation from Senate candidate Doug Cameron, whose union sponsers the centre:

We had a brief chance to ask him: "Do you think you will get a ministry if and when the ALP win the federal election? "

Doug Cameron amused: “Oh I don’t think so, there are a lot of voices against that happening. Anyway that’s not why I am doing it. It’s to get a voice for these issues.”

[from his speech such as oppressive globalisation, centralisation of media, excessive corporate bonuses, extreme industrial relations, denial of the real global warming threat, poor innovation here in Australia, quarry farm and tourist destination]

The more I thought about the last 4 days of meeting and learning the more I concluded that for this world to avoid a brutal endgame from global warming, or terrifying nuclear proliferation as per this story from the AFP on April 12th

Russians warn against US missile defence project | The World | The Australian

we at SAM think one of the few ways to save this world would be if the media sector reformed itself to actually serve the People rather than their own excessive privilege and finances and access to Big Politics and Big Business. And that is a very big if. In fact anthropologists tell us that every civilisation has crashed and burned for exceeding their limits. But you won’t hear that in the mainstream media. No one wants to buy depressing reality like that. 

Postscript #1 19th April 2007, notes this unsatisfactory foray to the UN Security Council by Britian on global warming here, including reference to Bangladesh and Maldives at major risk:

UN rebuff for Britain on global warming

Posted by editor at 12:03 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007 11:35 AM NZT
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
Self censoring Gerard Henderson a public intellectual fraud?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: corporates

Picture: Right wing Gerard Henderson as per his profile on the govt broadcaster website here is guilty of self censoring over hate speech of fellow traveller Alan Jones (pictured below).

There he is again, the old slogger in the Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald today. It was John Howard's office in the old days, and before that slumming at meetings of the ultra right The H.R. Nicholls Society in the early 1990's in Melbourne along with union buster Peter Costello.

Yep it's Gerard Henderson with his usual impressive house of cards which reads all fine until you notice the grotesque self censorship.

What is it today? What glaring omission? What hopeless moral blindspot leveraging his Big Media and Big Politics access to literally mind fuck the population?

Well the clue is in the headline Hate in the name of free speech because, as Mark Day in the Media section of The Australian last Thursday April 12th notes (below) and the whole media sector except Henderson will say, conservative broadcaster Alan Jones is guilty as sin, as found by the national regulator, of promoting gang related racist violence:

ACMA links Alan Jones to Cronulla violence. 10/04/2007. ABC News ...

Jones broadcast incited violence: ACMA - Breaking News - National ...

Picture: Alan Jones, radio broadcaster for 2GB, image lifted from The Australian, famous for the white supremacist notion "Australians are one culture many races" which is convenient because it implicitly promotes the anglo English culture as "the one" given the traditional colonial domination of the place, not least the Aboriginal indigenous.

And here is Mark Day laying it out in The Media section of The Australian

There must be a reckoning for Jones's vitriol | Mark Day | The Media, in The Australian April 12th 2007 ...

"Jones faced eight allegations of inciting violence or vilification. He got off five and went down on three. He described Australians of Middle Eastern origin as "grubs" and laughed heartily at the suggestion that "if you shoot one, the rest will run", and got away with it.

ACMA decided it could not be said that "an ordinary reasonable listener would have regarded the program as likely to urge, prompt or stimulate a person to violent action, inspire or encourage violence by way of assistance or approval." But when Jones read an email from a listener, he ran into trouble.

"J has a good answer," Jones said. "He says police and the council are impotent here, all rhetoric and no action.

"My suggestion is to invite the biker gangs to be present at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive - the biker gangs have been much maligned, but they do a lot of good things - it would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back on to the train for the return trip to their lairs.

"Australians old and new should not have to put up with this scum."

ACMA found the suggestion to invite bikie gangs to intimidate Lebanese rail passengers gave the impression that people of Lebanese or Middle Eastern background were forming gangs intent on causing harm to "Australians". ACMA said it was "of the view that an ordinary reasonable listener would regard the endorsement of the biker gang invitation as likely to encourage violence".

The findings against Jones contribute to a litany of findings against 2GB by ACMA. "

[bold added]


But this 'hate in the name of free speech' by a Howard Govt ally Alan Jones is not mentioned once in today's column by Gerard Henderson in a one sided Muslim and Left baiting exercise. The Green Left Weekly gets parodied in the last column but not Alan Jones on his own side of politics. That's willful blindness or willful propagandising to omit Jones role in hate speech.

Indeed in a curious echo of this magical ability of the ultra Right to airbrush their own noxious speech when brought finally to account we notice top W Bush adviser Karl Rove has managed to lose 4 years of emails that would reveal his cynical tricks to a US Senate judiciary committee: White House embarrassed by missing Rove emails

Here is Mark Day again at his blog of April 12th re pressure on the national media regulator here to actually do something about race provocateurs like Jones:

"After the cash for comment inquiry found against him, Jones launched a ferocious counterattack, declaring he was right and the ABA was wrong. As a tactic, it worked, because there was no mass audience defection. There is therefore no surprise that Jones has tried the same trick in the wake of the vilification finding against him.

But ACMA under chairman Chris Chapman is a different kettle of fish. Chapman, a little more than a year into his job, has been hit with a heavy workload as a result of media reform legislation passed last yea, and has struggled to sort out some of the loose ends of the legislation. But he has shown a steely resolve to stick to the letter of the law, which now gives him wider options to deal with Jones or any other transgressor.

Jones and Singleton say they will refuse to accept negotiated enforceable undertakings to ensure there are no repeats of the station’s three judgments of vilification in the past four months. That may be a show of bravado, but it is also stupid because Chapman can simply impose licence conditions, a higher level of penalty. " The Australian Mark Day Blog

Indeed the omission by Henderson of this powerful tension and reality involving Jones is so grotesque given Henderson's own choice of topic about "hate" and "free speech" we feel there is adequate evidence to label him a public intellectual fraud and moral lightweight/spinnner. An industrious propagandist. 

There does seem to be alot of double talk going on at the moment about ethical behaviour in the Big and little Media. Take this hilarious cartoon (which is so true) again in The Australian over the Network 7 Sunrise alleged "fake dawn" which frankly looks like a political and industry beat up of a high rating rival, their enemies leveraging the show's name over a 4 am early tribute to meet their schedules on ANZAC day.

Aren't people allowed to do anything before the ANZAC dawn service in Howard's Australia? Is it some kind of Lenten abstinence thing? A Ramadan like fast? Are you allowed to brush your teeth before the Dawn Service? It's a pathetic beat up really:


Posted by editor at 12:00 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007 4:47 PM NZT
Monday, 16 April 2007
Marrickville Council barmy or Alex Mitchell boofy ignoramus?
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: human rights

What's the validity of Marrickville Council putting a ban on any local tenderer dealing with Myanmar aka Burma? Curious. Veteran journo Alex Mitchell calls it "barmy". But Big Alex is wrong on this one.

As said on 702 public radio the audience probably don't realise the large number of Vietnamese-Australian business people in this writer's home suburb of Marrickville who no doubt have financial dealings with South East Asia, not least their old homeland of Vietnam not that far from Burma.

Do you think these locals are concerned about human rights in Vietnam and Burma and all of South East Asia? You can bet your bottom dollar they are so its pretty smart local politics to put a symbolic ban on the shockingly cruel Burma. We well remember an excellent report by Ginni Stien on SBS Dateline about that country's weirdness. But is it just symbolic?

Could some local Vietnamese Australian businesses tender for almost anything (including the proverbial local council toilet block) and also have financially dealings with Burma?

It's not that far fetched. In fact it's a very real possibility unless you live in an anglo tinted society that just airbrushed all the local immigrants in this part of Sydney.

Alex Mitchell you goose. Your gratuitous sledge in the SunHerald yesterday 14th April 2007 (Fairfax) in your Naked Eye column is hopelessly misdirected. 

If you feel the same let this veteran journo know at his published email address at armitchell@sunherald.com.au

Posted by editor at 10:51 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007 12:50 PM NZT
Sunday, 15 April 2007
Irish uni graduates April 22nd deadline to keep voter franchise for their Senate (6 seats) in national govt
Mood:  bright
Topic: world

Picture: Historic Hill of Tara potentially impacted by a big motorway project in Ireland likely to be influenced by the makeup of the Irish Senate with 6 seats decided by Irish uni graduates, but they must register their correct address by April 22 2007.

This is the land of the Bold Fenian Men that we visited in 2002 on our travels including this fab area, the Kenmare Stone Circle

----- Original Message -----

From: Maireid Sullivan
To: ecology action Australia
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2007 1:49 PM
Subject: Re: April 22 deadline: calling all/any Irish citizen uni grads here in Oz: national govt senate election franchise (6 seats)

You are a real champion! Tom!
Thank you!
I just found out that the NRA (the Irish National Road Authority) has been planning IN SECRET to do the same thing in my county - Cork - a freeway through the lovely river Lee valley!! It is not a sacred site, like the Hill of Tara, but my perspective is that the challenge to Tara is the big wake-op call for the Irish.
The Irish Greens plan to re-think the whole transport strategy if they get in this time, which means putting a stop to the developers, and, I am hoping, a serious revamp of the NRA.
Since I've started working on a a new documentary about Geonomics (henry George, et al) I understand what is going on. I was puzzled at the makeup of NRA, until NOW! Today, when I got the news about the 'leak' from Cork, I remembered reading about the people who make up the NRA. they are all developers and business people of one kind or another. And, "naturally" the idea is to build highways and then land prices go up!

Thanks for doing this! Awakening to what is happening in Ireland is the same as "awakening" to what is happening everywhere, I think.
I'm pushing everyone I know to download our info. handbill, and photocopy a batch to hand out at gigs and parties! - if not putting on gigs expressly for the cause.

ecology action australia wrote:

Know any Irish visitors/residents here (who just happen to be Irish uni graduates) who might need to read this before 22nd April to vote in their national Irish senate election?
How's that - a system that gives 6 senate seats to graduates of Irish universities. Now that's what I call respect for education.
Only 8 days away to register their change of address to keep their franchise alive in May or June election 2007.
It will affect their environment over there as described below. This is part of a global alert email project by Irish related networks
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin ecology action sydney, www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog
PS - feel free to pass on to your Irish contacts here in Oz.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 6:07 PM
Subject: Hi Tom

Dear Tom,
How are you?
Did I send you the below post?
I need to get this out very quickly - deadline coming soon. 
Could you help out by sending it to your circle?
Hope you are well!

Anam Cara for TARA arts action Alert!
Action Deadline: 22 April, 2007
This "Art Action ALERT!" is reaching out to every citizen of Ireland, no matter where you may be in the world at the moment. 

I am sure among your friends and contacts you know quite a few graduates of the National University of Ireland (UCD, UCC, UCG, Maynooth, NCAD, the teacher and nursing training colleges, and a few others). As this is a postal ballot, graduates can vote no matter where in the world they live as long as they are registered. Many registered initially at their parents' address after they graduated, but have long since moved.

If any of these people changed their addresses on the electoral role their votes would be very helpful in the upcoming Irish Senate elections.  To do so, all they need to do is to send an email to records@nui.ie by the 22nd of April: with their name, year of graduation, degree, previous address of registration and current address, and their details will be changed in time to receive a ballot paper before the next election, which is expected in May or June, 2007.

Here is how the Irish Senate system works:
A General Election to Seanad Éireann (Irish Senate) must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of Dáil Éireann (the Irish government). Seanad Éireann is composed of 60 Members as follows:

11 nominated by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister)
43 elected by five panels representing vocational interests namely, Culture and Education, Agriculture, Labour, Industry and Commerce and Public Administration.
SIX (6) elected by the graduates of two universities: - three each by the National University of Ireland and the University of Dublin (Trinity College).

In theory, Seanad Éireann does not recognise party affiliations. However, as the electorate for the panels is made up of the Members of the incoming Dáil, the outgoing Seanad, county councils and county borough councils, the composition of Seanad Éireann, including the Taoiseach's nominees, will tend to reflect party strengths in Dáil Éireann.
The Constitution provides that not more than two Senators may be members of the Government and this provision has been exercised twice in the last 60 years.
Martin Hogan deserves the No. 1 vote.
Take a look for yourself. Read what Martin Hogan has to say on his website:
And, if you have a website, please link to his website too.
The more links to his site the more visibility he and the issues he is trying to highlight will have.
The following notes are taken from Martin Hogan's website:
Martin Hogan
Environmental Campaigns

A healthy environment is good for our community, business, and future generations. We have a duty of care to leave a world to our children and grandchildren that they can enjoy as we have enjoyed it.
There are many committed groups and individuals in Ireland and beyond dedicated to ensuring that at least some of the beauty of the world is preserved for our children.
On a national basis there are two issues which will have far reaching implications on Irish society depending on how the Government handles them. The first of these has focussed on the community of Rossport and the second is the Tara valley issue.

Ireland's Offshore Oil & Gas

The campaign of the Rossport community of West Mayo opposing the laying of a pipeline against their wishes and their desire to have the gas from the Corrib basin processed safely offshore has received much attention over the last two years.
This campaign captured the minds of the public when five local men served over 3 months in prison by refusing to commit to the court that they would stand idly by while an unsafe pipeline was laid near their homes and community. The handling of this campaign by the State highlights a number of disturbing issues. Primarily, that the concerns of the citizens of a village of this nation were completely ignored in an attempt by Shell and Statoil, backed by the Government, to bully a small community into submission.
The attitude seems to prevail on the part of many in the Government that Ireland is still some form of banana republic who should go cap in hand to any big company who wants to locate here and that any community or group who stands in the way of this must be dealt with harshly and quickly.
In many ways, Shell and Statoil (as the two largest shareholders in the Corrib basin consortium) have borne the brunt of a national campaign that has developed in support of the Rossport community. Although unquestionably heavy handed, Shell and Statoil acted in many ways as any oil companies would have done acting on the deal they were given.
The real blame for this mess lies with the Irish government. Between 1988 and 1992, Fianna Fáil ministers drew up a so called "deal" that gave oil companies the right to extract oil and gas from Irish territory without paying a single cent in royalties and, under a taxation incentive, that allows the companies to write off their entire production bill against tax liability. It is the most favourable deal ever negotiated for the oil and gas industry anywhere in the developed or developing world.
The Government has argued that this was done to ensure jobs and safeguard supplies, but there are only a handful of Irish jobs being created and the Government does not even have first option to buy our own gas, given away for free, at market value.
It was the resistance of the Rossport community that helped heighten awareness of this unbelievable give away that sees billions of Euro of gas (at a time of spiralling gas prices) go to foreign companies without any benefit to Ireland. It is particularly bitter as Statoil, which is 75% owned by the Norwegian people, contributed so much to the provision of the social and transport infrastructure of that country.
It is hard to believe that the terms of this "arrangement" are still in place, and the minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources gave away another massive gas field off the coast of Donegal as recently as last summer. This field holds billions of Euro worth of gas.
This situation has to be addressed, the concerns of the people of Rossport fully heard and the terms by which hydrocarbons are extracted from Irish territory renegotiated to give some revenue to the Irish state.

Hill of Tara

The Tara campaign is another example of incompetent government handling of an issue that simply would not have arisen in any of our western EU neighbours.
The Irish people are faced with the double frustration of having our most famous and significant historical site threatened while having the construction of a useful motorway further delayed.
Why was this situation allowed to occur in the first place? Despite the long delays and expense incurred as a result of challenges in the construction of motorways at Carrickmines and the Glen of the Downs, the government decided to route the M3 next to Tara knowing that the result would be a long and destructive legal battle for all concerned.
If the government adopted normal road building methodology first widely employed by the Roman Empire over 2,000 years ago in realising that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line I might understand their position. However, the proposed route for the M3 goes on a semicircular route from Dunshaughlin around the hill of Tara and back to follow a reasonably straight path again.
The question must be asked why is this? There are no large mountain ranges or Amazon type rivers in the Meath area that I am familiar with. Why when the M3 could be built 5 kms away form Tara, 3.5km shorter, over €50 million cheaper and with the possibility of linking Trim to the new road was this not done?
I wonder whose land the M3 passes through near Tara and who would receive large payments from the us taxpayers for purchasing this land?
Environmental campaigns such as these highlight the need to involve people in decisions that affect their lives and the need to move away from the government's bad planning in Ireland once and for all.
The issues facing both the Tara and Rossport campaigns are broadly similar in that they have to be expanded so that the public see them as directly affecting their lives and the lives of future generations rather than believing the spin and falsehoods that the Irish government constantly trot out about them.

We have until 22 April to contact all Irish graduates living abroad.
Please forward this "Art Action ALERT!" to all of your Irish networks.
Join the the Anam Cara for Tara "Arts Action" campaign!
Sigh the Petition! Write a Letter! Send an Email!
Make a donation! Plan an awareness or fund raising event and inform your networks!
All contact information is online here: 
You'll find the petition link, Irish government and media addresses, a sample letter, plus templates for a downloadable poster, flyer, and an information handbill - and we will customize posters for anyone who wants to use them - without charge.

In good faith!
Maireid Sullivan
Anam Cara for Tara is an initiative of the Global Arts Collective:

Posted by editor at 5:55 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007 7:30 AM NZT
SAM blog gets more heat from rival sneaking off to Melbourne IT domain name registry?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media
We have forwarded this recently to community media stakeholders for the sake of transparency: 
"To pre empt any legally ill conceived claims that the blog name we are using is not allowed at law or ethics I am taking the step of explaining why we chose this name

www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog or SAM as we refer to it in shorthand.

We arrived at our name via experience as a sometime media lawyer in NSW, and a year as a trade marks examiner in the Commonwealth Public Service, and 2 years as a corporate litigation lawyer, and 15 years as a community media practitioner.

"Sydney" because we are based here and do most of our work here, this word is public property

"alternative" because our blog is alternative not in the sense of sexuality but alternative to news missed by the Big Media, or critical of the Big Media/Big Govt, so it is genuinely different from other products. We also generate news stories. We say this is a word that belongs to the public and notice the uses in websites of others below.

"media" - again a commonly used word belonging to the public.
We set up the website when Sydney Independent Media went offline for about 2 months late 2006/2007. At the time we were working for Alternative Media Group in distribution, not writing or editing, and we got no complaints from either of them for the use of our name, and still haven't after 4 months but wonder if the owner of the AMG has evil intentions against us.

Is our blog name too similar, and thus confusing to the public as regards Sydney Indy/Independent Media website?

Well we say our use of the word "alternative" is sufficienlty different in the combination of words. Also we conduct ourselves to clearly indicate we are not part of the "official" indymedia network, though we like and support that global network. We transparently link over to their sites as a different thing. We have no complaints from their active network so far this last 4 months so we feel they are satisfied with this.

In fact we formed the sydneyalternativemedia blog because the Sydney Indy/Independent Media had gone offline for quite a few weeks and we needed an outlet for our stories to be published, first on Melbourne indymedia and then setting up our own website in the lead up to the NSW State election. In fact Melbourne indymedia didn't really want voluminous Sydney based election material which is fair enough.

Is our blog name too similar, and thus confusing to the public as regards Alternative Media Group (AMG)?

We say no. The word "Media" belongs to the whole sector, as indicated by Sydney Indy Media in the market place, and any number of other entities.

The word "group" is quite different being completely absent in our name.
Conversely we use "Sydney" which is absent from AMG name (perhaps because the owner is a US citizen who may not really identify with this locality as such but rather identifies with the 'alternative' inner city culture as in the pro gay press like Sydney Star Observer and is interested to compete with their revenue streams. We have an arguably much more mainstream (yet we trust tolerant) focus.
The "AMG" as they are commonly known do not publish news on their website at all, only newsprint titles City Hub, Sydney City News, The Bondi View, as per advertising rates on their sparse website here:

Alternative Media Group - Upgrade In Progress

So they are in a quite different segment of the media market. Further, we do not advertise being associated with and essentially a non profit ecology action sydney, a micro ngo foundation here at http://cpppcltrust.com/ecologyactionsydney .
Notice our Copy Left style of free use of any of our material and without attribution here:
Thursday, 15 February 2007
Our free copright policy
Mood:  happy
Topic: copyright - SAM

Our material is for open use and is meant to be borrowed, recycled and reused or indeed stolen. It's free, and no need for attribution either. It really is free, and that's the owner and editor speaking, Tom McLoughlin solicitor in NSW.

The trend in daily reads seems to be increasing with 300 hits on some days, and 3,700 per month up from 2,800. We continue to note our language and/or content turning up either as a direct or indirect echo or perhaps parallel evolution in some high profile columnist articles, some distinctly centre left, and on the right too. 

SAM won't embarrass them by mentioning who:. Anyway we are confident enough to say it shouldn't be embarrassing - with 2 university qualifications and 15 years of public interest ngo politics behind the editor with 8 months a tea total, and bubbling synapses as a consequence..

We notice this website in the market place also

Alternative Media Links

(Which is a Telstra big pond Australian website.)
(Which uses the publicly owned terms "media group")
We notice the term alternative media is a commonly used and publicly owned term as here

Alternative media is the only way forward - On Line Opinion - 11/4 ...

Rumours in the web based news media sector of AMG complaints to Melbourne IT registration of our domain name.
We hear in the market place rumours that the owner of the AMG Lawrence Gibbons has malice against us, and thus we anticipate a complaint against our 4 month old start up SAM website news service over our domain name. In fact we met with his group manager Chris Peken last Tuesday to swap materials and bring closure to the professonal relationship where even Peken was at pains to distinguish himself from the owner's bad attitude.
The owner Gibbons has threatened to denounce us as "unreliable" to the market place which we feel is a gross misdescription, and we published to explain the real situation. Last night we voluntarily took down those explanations on the internet having served their purpose of informing the market place for several weeks, and include the basis here for specific stakeholders.
We simply refer people to the legal advice (attached below) we provided to Gibbons in March 2007 showing why we were unable to do his distribution work for a particular issue of the City Hub which would have been an illegal contract, after which he sacked us as an independent contractor for future distribution work after 6 years.
There is no doubt the legal advice is damaging to the owner's professional reputation and we see an element of revenge in postures since this affair. There is no doubt the timing was unfortunate given it was the day of the Mardi Gras in Sydney the owner (and some others) were forced to do his own delivery work to prosecute a personal crusade.
In any case it is a relief because we mostly saw the distribution work as a public service obligation at very great opportunity cost professionally and politically this last 6 years.
We are quite busy and satisfied to move on with our SAM website and other community sector work but its seems there may be an attempt by AMG to sabotage our domain name. If true it only reinforces why we are very comfortable to move on from AMG in the first place.
We feel quite satisfied our blog name SAM or Sydney Alternative Media,  is sufficiently distinctive of both Sydney Indy Media or SIM or IMC web based news, and Alternative Media Group or AMG, and follows conventions in the market place of publicly owned phrases already in use by diverse trading or ngo organisations.
We don't believe there is any real risk of confusion in the market place but we do believe there is a very real risk of a vexatious complaint against us to cause chaos and self aggrandise or petty vindictiveness. None of these motives are compatable with growing or expanding the community media sector that we feel so committed to, as per our reports on our blog here:
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Mood:  amorous
Our Media conference #2: excellent capacity building continues

Topic: independent media
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
When will it be Our Media?: #1 report: Conference of international practitioners kicks off
Mood:  chatty
Topic: independent media
Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in nsw
Attached legal advice to AMG dated 3rd March 2007 "

Posted by editor at 2:53 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 15 April 2007 3:35 PM NZT
Tim Blair human rottweiler or light weight lap puppy of Big Media?
Mood:  down
Topic: corporates


Tim Blair aka the human rottweiler and his 30 non sequiturs in the press yesterday still deserves a response as tedious as he is.


People like shrieker Blair might realise a right wing blog, only on newsprint (go figure, refer page 23 Sydney Daily Telegraph 14th April 2007 “30 deeply unfair generalisations”) is not actually cleverer, sharper or funnier than say the highly successful Al Gore or Michael Moore. In fact to quote THE CASTLE  he is “dreamin”:


Here's another 30 curiousities of modern life (plus one axiom no.31 at the end) likely of far more sense than the intellectual vomit from mad dog Blair:


1. Funny how the same people based here and the USA who most support the Iraq war have never seen active service and wouldn’t step out of the Green Zone in Baghdad in a pink fit. First and best chicken hawk example is golf loving George Bush who never served in the Vietnam War. Second is John Howard ditto.


2. Funny how the same chicken hawk supporters of the Iraq war would never send their own adult children, as per the famous Michael Moore footage of the hawks of US Congress running from his camera. Example: John Howard’s sons. George Bush’s daughters.


3. Notice how the deniers of global warming like Alan Jones are busy buying houses in the Southern Highlands at 500 m elevation.


4. Notice how people stuck living amongst concrete in dense inner city suburbs (because services are so bad in the bush), do compost, and do have lower average energy and water use because economy of scale means they have much smaller ecological footprint per head than others, but still get baited as 'concrete lovers'.


5. Notice how the “original conservationists” to quote Liberal ex leader Debnam are also the grain grower, Saddam bribe merchants, who are also the biggest land clearers.


6. Funny how the best haters of the ABC (for daring to have standards) think 37 Minutes (plus 23 minutes of adverts), and ACA are documentaries.


7. The same people who think the ABC is the “only … pay tv” in Australia we are forced to fund (according to Blair at least) have never heard of Foxtel part owned by Telstra subsidised by govt monopoly for a 100 years.


8. The same people who admire George Pell’s bigotry against gay lifestyle also support the Church’s traditional ban on married priests making the Churches a hotbed of gay sexual frustration.


9. The same people who admire the free market also support the 'nanny state' banning of consenting adults doing things to eachother on film sold in Fyshwick ACT.


10.  The same people who reject Prof Flannery speaking out on global warming in good faith demand to be taken seriously on the topic in their newspaper (The Australian) while publishing reams of ‘special advertising reports’ for the fossil fool industry


11. The people who think the Simpsons mainstreaming of goofy 'yet harmless' nuke plants in hoky Springfield is innocent fun are the same ones most alarmed at Iran getting nuclear energy capacity because it will proliferate nuke weapon's risk.


12. The same people at Davos World Economic Forum happy to leave global warming 'to the free market to solve', if it exists at all, meet in the Swiss Alps high above the ocean, set to rise if the polar caps melt, and support a seeds repository 130 m above sea level in Norway. Rumour has it they also buy up in the Blue Mountains and sell in Double Bay.


13. The same people who freak most at Iran’s nuke programme praise George Bush’s first strike missile ‘defence shield’ scheme, sending Russia and China into paroxysms of diplomatic protest and undoing the nuclear balance since the 1950’s and trashing the global disarmament agenda etc, because its okay to proliferate if it’s one of ours.


14. The same people who are most religious, indeed Rapturous, think it's okay for W Bush to cause the end of the world with 6 billion deaths ... because he is one of ours.


15. The same people who call the Left anti US also think Noam Chomsky, Pete Seeger, Dixie Chicks, Michael Frente, John Lennon (!), Rage Against the Machine and Muhammed Ali are all Shining Path communists from Peru.


16. The same people who think George Clooney, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman (!?) “are surrender monkeys” would never let their kids serve in Iraq let alone Afghanistan and think the movie Syrianna is a documentary about the Stasi in East Germany (actually it is a doco drama, but it’s about the CIA).


17. The people who think blogging for Big Media is smart and witty have never seen The Chaser War on Everything in case it was funnier than them.


18. The same people who support privatisation of all public assets built up over generations of taxpayers, scream blue murder over death taxes on private assets embedded with generations of public subsidy around a civil society, health services, public education, traffic lights.


19.  The same people who think Islamofascists are around every corner still love Leb flat bread wraps from Subway, and various exotic dishes at their bbq like hummus, and Hazzem El Masri (aka Magic) when he scores a try for their rugby team. They're okay because that’s different.


20. The same people who think free speech demands the right to disrespect a religious Prophet for the Muslims don't mind Mr Peek after 30 years at Tristar getting sacked with no long service payment simply for talking to the media. Free speech anyone?


21. The same people who think the Meeja regulator is wrong to attack Alan Jones for promoting racist street gang fights because he is just the messenger,  think it's fine to strangle the ABC funding so environment shows like EarthBeat on the real science of forest destruction and global warming can be axed.


22. The same people who think that the globalisation of capital and free trade should be unfettered, and executive bonuses unlimited, are desperate to lock up refugees in Villawood desperately seeking freedom from tyranny.


23. Some people think the Devil simply got a bad rap because he never got a chance to put his side of the story, unlike say Tim Blair.


24. The same people who want strict controls on harmful drugs and movement of terrorists across borders for the general public welfare also reject international action on greenhouse emission targets as unrealistic.


25. The same people who applaud John Howard saving forests in Indonesia with $200M in our taxpayer funds want to destroy the same natural carbon storage warehouse in Tasmania for a pulp mill of a big political donor Gunns Ltd.


26. The same people who argue that Tasmania already has 45% of locked up forest (even button grass and rocky peaks), also praise those horny handed sons of the soil affected by drought in this “wide treeless brown land”.


27. The same people who say only a few people died after Chernobyl and 3 Mile Island nuke disasters also think its cute that we can read radioactive traces of atmospheric tests of the 1950’s in every glowing silt layer on the globe from Antarctica to the Sahara to the NSW South Coast.


28. The same people attacking Kevin Rudd for being on Sunrise show on ch7 as too exclusive and low brow, have nothing to say about the Big media companies ganging up and attacking Kerry Stokes C7 pay tv start up resulting in the biggest Meeja litigation contest in living memory.


29. The same people who loved Princess Di paid for the photos of the paparazzi who killed her, and seemingly want to kill her sons/girlfriends now with the same treatment.


30. The same people who are ultra nationalists waving ‘our’ flag on Australia day also think we are still a white supremacist colony of the UK given the union jack in the top left corner. Independent country anyone? 


31. There is a columnist in Sydney who thinks our moniker for him as the human rottweiler is a compliment.


Postscript #1 Monday 16th April 07

Of course like the sinister flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz but in this case over the void of the internet, we have attracted a peanut gallery apparently from modern Rome over there (ie USA), . Go to it boys.



Postscript #2: Tuesday 17th April 07, I'm all for 'across the aisle' bipartisanship including talkies with ill mannered, vicious or evil Right wingers as per the panoply of lightweights in the comments section below. If time permits. As for the insults like the proverbial flogging with a wet lettuce, consider this:


- I wrote that in 10 minutes while Blair probably took 10 days to figure his out. He gets marks for the first draft but not any moral cred.


- Even if we dropped 30 IQ points (not that we follow that bogus western metric here) I would still be above W Bush at 120 - a full 40 points behind his ideological enemies Clinton 159, and JF Kennedy on 160. That metric bespeaks a global tragedy for all of us right now, and volumes for the power of rat cunning.


- In W Bush's case an old Thai saying seems to fit: Anyone can be rich if they are willing to pick the coin out of the poo with their teeth.


But mostly what I wanted to link to was the whining feature about some ultra right harradons, err sorry Big Media female columnists, allegedly suffering psychological violence from cruel email respondents (but no independent verification of same). Their sad situation as good honest toiling journos looks suspiciously like the infamous Rove tactic of sympathy rent seeking from a usually sceptical Centre Left audience, by inventing a grave injury as they literally barrack for extreme policies that will hurt the same audience. Very cute and quite evil mind f*ck:  And here it is


You've got hate mail | Media | The Australian


Whether real or not in their case, I can now catalogue these very real, nasty insults from carnivorous Righties below as a handy resource of quotable quotes to use against the Right in future for my own sympathy trawling (in my case justified of course) from their traditional centre right supporters. Keep it comning boys!

Posted by editor at 2:19 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007 10:12 AM NZT
Sunday political talkies: Big Media revenge on Sunrise for C7 pay tv litigation farts more greenhouse pollution at Rudd?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Rudd love in the eyes of voters in the NSW state election, image from memory in The Glebe newspaper last week of the campaign around 22nd March 07.




Author’s general introductory note (skip this if you know this regular weekly column):



This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media.



Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208



“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”



Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above



For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.



10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am



Paul Bongiorno. Bob McMullan sounding persuasive and firm, Jennifer Hewitt and Glenn Milne, all veterans show. Sounding pretty relaxed.


PM Howard running his election ammo early, maybe too early, eg wall to wall ALP govt’s, Kevin Rudd’s cred on his family story baiting by major press, Sunrise Anzac day broadcast baiting.



[Sunday Sunrise itself looks as bright and happy as usual, no mention so far as best I can tell flicking from 10 to 7.]



Nicholson Rubbery figures very amusing re Peter Garrett’s principles burning with the ALP, and nuke blast from Rudd as the band drummer metaphor of upcoming ALP conference.



Prof Amin Sykle (spelling?) of ANU re Afghanistan mission for Australian troops. Will be casualties? Agrees much more dangerous, hopes not.



Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress



7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary


Riley Diary – edgy and amusing as usual. Fearful and friendly focus FM interview, Rudd doing okay actually showing sense of humour, talent but also under some pressure. A bit of semi serious criticism of habitual pollywaffle.



Still no mention of Sunrise show in the news today in the Howard Coalition blowtorch:


Stokes grills Sunrise over Rudd

SEVEN Network chairman Kerry Stokes raised serious doubts about Kevin Rudd's now controversial involvement with the Sunrise program shortly after he became federal Opposition leader last year.

Which all suggests Kerry Stokes as owner of 7 has put the ruler over Sunrise and endorsed their approach and is playing tough like he has done all the way over C7 pay tv litigation against the Howard business mates/bully boys in the other big media. Which is a good outcome for democracy actually.



[I wonder if Rudd should go to Vietnam and do the dawn service, no tricks, just support the survivers of that awful war. It would be a PR coup and the right thing to do for the right reasons.]


Very amusing Red Symons YouTube of Paul Keating doing the dessicated coconut here:


all tip and no iceberg
Added: 5 days ago in Category: Music
Views: 8,733

38 ratings


Web page here but no transcript usually: http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend



Sunday 9


Feature on Asian airline safety. Long long feature.


Sunday show website here:


Oaks interview Joe Hockey Minister as Coalition rep on Sunrise. Failed to bag Kevin Rudd. Oaks targets Sunrise 7 network [doing ch9 dirty work]  Hockey says better to not get between feuding networks. Leaves it to Rudd. Says motives of Sunrise show to promote ANZAC day were good.


Should he give up the show? Declines to answer for others.


[All smacks of revenge beat up for C7 pay tv litigation by Kerry Stokes, backgrounder here via honest broker Alan Kohler:

Inside Business - 18/09/2005: Channel 7 litigation a 'blockbuster'

“ALAN KOHLER: Showing all the panache of being a one-time owner of the Hollywood studio MGM, Kerry Stokes' production of 'C7 - the Litigation' is a blockbuster. With 22 respondents, including the Murdochs, the Packers, Telstra, a few football codes and a superstar lawyer from London, it's got a cast worthy of Cecil B. DeMille. The plot thickens daily, conspiracies abound, and the denouement may involve a billion-dollar windfall and a big shake-up of Australia's media. Stephen Long reports…….”


Ellen Fanning shows how far she has sold out at Ch9 since the excellent SBS broadcast Fine Line documentary series on ethics in the Big Media by pandering to the beat up of Ch7 Sunrise with her loaded poll question 'will the fake dawn service affair on Ch7 damage Kevin Rudd?'.


I mean who the fuck cares if its one hour one way or another around dawn on Anzac Day? Certainly not the blokes who died in the mud blood spattered all over the field. It's a corrupt joke by the Big Media out to get 7 on any pretext, and Rudd with it if possible over the fabric of our media landscape after the C7 litigation. 


And every one knows how pompous and officious the war machine (sorry Defence Dept and Bureaucracy) are about big junket ceremony when the actual diggers were the most irreverent buggers who ever drew breath, which was what made them so damn adapatable and gritty too.]






Insiders 2


Minister Bishop looking ever the velvet glove of the SS economic stormtroopers, as federal govt education minister. Sounding as tediously dogmatic and certain of herself as usual.


WA holding up for the Coalition in the polls. Bishop says its good economic times there. But polls not looking good elsewhere. Says a lot of time yet till poll day.


Everyperson group bunch of pro business fit swimming types from the upper north shore perhaps. Scepticism at Howard economic boasting.


Panel (below) sledges COAG.


Paul Kelly: says states playing politics. Not credible for states to run a carbon scheme without the feds and it will feed into the federal election. Predicts Howard will use 60% greenhouse target of ALP and Work Choices repeal in big lights.


Panel is Lenore Taylor (moderate, Fairfax AFR), George Meglogenis (moderate The Australian, News Ltd), Andrew Bolt (extreme right, News Ltd)


Interesting discussion of internal media politics of Rudd on Sunrise show at 7 allegedly unsustainable for jealousy and rivalry reasons, distringuish from talk back radio for being less exclusive from Faine to Laws to Jones.


Pathetic footage of  pandering of Rudd and Howard to bigot broadcaster Alan Jones caught red handed in white supremacist ‘one culture many races’ mode with ACMA finding of promoting of political violence against Jones/2GB.


Goes on to note polling so high in marginals for ALP.


Replayed at 11.10 am on radio PNN 630 AM band.


Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/


Postscript #1: Glen Milne writes an hysterical, ironic line today from the rabid News Ltd traditionally tragic Sunday press. On the front page is a prince under headline "Royal Split" about some ditsy girlfriend and William in a breakup in their respective media fishbowl.


But what is hilariously incredulous is Milne writing in his political feature "How it finally dawned on Sunrise and Rudd" referring to Ch7 he says


"The show is about entertainment, not information."


Oh and the Sunday Telegraph is about what exactly .....?


Postscript #2 Sunday night 14th April 2007


Notice this report on Ch9 60 Minutes last night, a high ratings show that trumps 7 Sunrise, appeases the rival network, is done quite sympathetically by reporter Liz Hayes, and is credible given it was a based on a week of insider following of his daily routine:

"Team Rudd Right now, he's the hot favourite. After five months, the infatuation with Kevin Rudd is still going strong. According to the polls, if they had an election tomorrow he'd be our new PM. A dream run and all the more amazing when you consider how little we actually know about this man."

That's a signficant political response to the attack re Sunrise fracas. Fran Kelly on radio national similarly notes the 60 Minutes story on her radio national slot this morning confirming its a serious influence and now Sunrise has lost its talent after the political space provided by 60 Minutes:


Sun sets on Rudd's Sunrise slot

10:58am | Kevin Rudd and Joe Hockey end their weekly spot on Seven's Sunrise morning program.


Posted by editor at 10:44 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007 1:34 PM NZT
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Our Media conference #2: excellent capacity building continues
Mood:  amorous
Topic: independent media

Pictures: From top left clockwise

1. Peter Lane of Ch31 (Melbourne) samples "DenialBeer" from our pneumatic activist The Blonde guarranteed to wipe out true history of Australia, refugee issues and human rights scruples. We bought Peter a beer to hear his views on ethical effective community tv models.

2. Sun Quan Huang of Taiwan Shih Hsin Uiversity; POTS weekly, an internet media based activist with English as a 4th (!) language.

3. Day one presentations from strong women of our region in community media including femLinkPacific Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls of Fiji (with microphone), and

4. Day one, Lisa Stefanoff of Central Australia Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) representative based in Alice Springs (at far left) with confronting witness of their trainee who 'knows' the reality of the life she is 'meant to have'. Very moving powerful stuff;

5. Prof John Downing, keynote speaker on Day 1, in animated discussion .... in fluent spanish;

6. presentation of the Italian Chainworkers - Mayday and other cause related artwork for the 'precarious worker', involving swap cards, super heroics and culture jam, playful visual concepts. Very amusing talk by Sydney UTS based Ilaria Vanni.

This is the second report of the OurMedia conference in Sydney after day two 11th April 2007, in a 4 day smorgasbord [revised Saturday 14th April 07]:

Alot less notes taken today, and alot more sharing. On behalf of this micro ngo 'SAM blog alter ego ecology action', we managed to erect a display of our contribution to communication capacity in the Patagonia/Chile No Alumysa campaign of 2002-04 (to halt a US$3 billion hydro smelter project to destroy 3 local rivers, lake, 10,000 ha of original forest and fjordlands with 660K tonnes of waste per year).

Details of two heroes of that Chilean campaign - Mitzi Urtubia and Marisol Frugone and other material -  are reported here Patagonia project and in Chile here: http://www.ecosistemas.cl/1776/channel.html

Similarly, we provided a copy of the 47 minute video Corazón verde (2002), which translates as Green Heart  to veteran community media consultant Alfonso Gumucio, with his own wikipedia entry here. Alfonso despite his eloquent presentation was like the proverbial expert who knows too much, has too many secrets and has seen many skeletons in closets, and thus was sounding exhausted and even despairing.

He brightened up perhaps as the jet lag wore off and returned the favour with DVD Voices of Magdalena/Communication for Peace which is a 35 minute doco of community radio in a region of Colombia (!). This is a great story to show our Spanish translator Amparo Ilanos who hails from Colombia also.

We also provided a UN 1992 Your World photographic booklet to Dr Juan Salazar of Uni Western Sydney, to echo his frightening image of a 'dying child sculpture on a western conference table'. He was glad for that offering.

Late in the day we made contact with Rika Kobayashi of Planet tv in Japan [webcast] and with her first report on the Our Media conference with vision here [for Japanese audiences]:


We have promised more original content for her today [duly delivered re Lake Cowal H2O ...ooooooh issue in NSW, forest destruction in Australia] assuming format compatability re NTSC/PAL video to digital etc of interest to Japanese civil society stakeholders, that is, to start a conversation without a big business or big government filter.

Some images of day 1 and 2 are found above, and again there will be supplements when time permits after the conference.

Posted by editor at 9:34 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 15 April 2007 12:25 PM NZT
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
When will it be Our Media?: #1 report: Conference of international practitioners kicks off
Mood:  chatty
Topic: independent media

Picture: A t bottom Dr Juan Salazar main organiser of UWS ponders the opening plenary, with some of the local and jet lagged attendance. At top on right On the opening panel is UWS colleague Penny ODonnell (left) and Our Media veterans conferences 1 to 6, Clemencia Rodrigeuz and Alfonso Gumucio. Notice the strong Latin collaborative influence.

This is the first day report of a sceptical activist blogger at the OurMedia conference in Sydney starting proper on Tuesday 10th April 07 (written 11th April revisions 14th April): 

'Grey men' as pictured below, opened the OurMedia conference yesterday: Harsh but true. One was dean of Uni of Western Sydney Prof Wayne McKenna at right below. The venue was central Uni of Technology Sydney (UTS) in the CBD, after a film night on Monday at Sidetrack Theatre, Addison Rd Centre Marrickville (which we missed).

Picture: At right dean of UWS Prof Wayne McKenna. At left Dean of UTS Professor Theo Van Leeuwen (who surely is related to Hans Van Leeuwen formerly AFR journo, green media adviser to Lee Rhiannon MLC (Greens), then in the news as house hubby to the editor of Woman's Day). 


There was a wonderful attendance of some 70 overseas participants which is a real credit to main organiser Dr Juan Salazar of UWS. However it was not quite enough to overshadow the weak showing of the dynamic local community/alternative/grassroots media sector in Sydney itself, if not Australia, and therein lies a serious story.


Dr Juan, 10 years in Australia, from Chile has some reflection due on that. [We understand most but not all of the other conferences 1 to 5 had similar lack of local grassroots activists and has been more a gathering of expert practitioners/academics.]

Picture: Radio providers from Enga Provice in PNG with whom we had a friendly chat recalling a visit to the Kokoda area and Lae over 17 years ago (with obligatory bout of malaria - a real teacher).


This 'experts rather than diverse grassroots energy’ tone was dissipated a fair bit by the afternoon specialised sessions. Community media folks are by nature interactive and open and the workshops were an inspiration: Workshops attended by this writer included


- New Technology/Creative Commons intellectual property issues,

- Prisons radio

- Japanese FM in shopping centres,

- RRR here in Sydney, based in Ryde area.


We took 6 pages of notes during the day with many more angles to report, with perhaps the biggest one being one to one interview with dean McKenna re the future of free to air Sydney Channel 31 community tv


(our own contested community television tv station controversially taken over to boost educational programmes at Penrith campus at UWS, when it was already serving authentic local community media practitioners for 10 years prior to that). 

It is notable that Dr Salazar presenting as a 'high caste Latin' with all his suave humour and good looks is beholden to the UWS dean McKenna, even as he noted Our Media "should not just be about revenue." But why the poor turnout of local students to this high status event?

[Actually we found Dr Juan expressing very strong participatory democratic values as the conference wore on, which was a great antidote to this writer's initial cynicism.]

The key note address by self described 'aging' Prof John Downing, founder director of Global Media Research Center [sic] at Southern Illinois University in strong UK Queens English was a very impressive intellectual traverse. He also managed some serious ironies that seemed shocking to this 15 year community media practitioner:


-  he correctly sledged blogs as western english artefacts mostly but also praised their 100 to 500,000 potential audience reach. Mmm that's confusing if valid criticism, noting radio or mobile phone media dominates African and other mass audiences.


- Prof Downing teased out the undoubted language barriers in the sinews and muscle of dominant English vis a vis the other several billion non English speaking global brothers and sisters. Yet the Prof was a living example of English language excellence too, giving the keynote address and with great learning. Was he too good?


I found Prof Downing jarring to hear his view responding to the audience a fairly airy comfort with community media sector folks moving into over paid big media careers. His rationale sounded idealistic but frankly naive on my side of the school of hard knocks: 

Sure there is alot of truth in wanting decent people with moral credibility 'inside' (and I know one or two) to influence the often reptilian Big Media including the Govt's ABC here. But I would never read down the capacity of Big Media to capture and indeed sabatage their competitors in the community sector to sustain their big wages and revolving door into politicians' offices.



[The additional layer of irony, as I discovered, was that the Prof has an Afro American wife by the looks, and is a fluent Spanish speaker, so he probably didn't need to hear my 'snot nose' critique of his apparent self contradictory westernism. But I gave it to him anyway, no fear or favour in the plenary. The next day as I was conspicuously wolfing down morning tea muffin(s) having missed breakfast he caught my eye and suggested in passing just 'don't talk', which was very amusing and fair enough, and pretty unlikely Prof.]


After day one I thought, well, it's one thing for me to lay down the intellectual gauntlet as regards proud autonomous identity of the indy sector, to the builders of my own alternative, community and (mainstream) indigenous media sector, and quite another to prove we are worthy to run our own race.


The stage was set for day two with a bit of friction and worry in the mix.

Picture: At top -workshop explaining the shipping container project computer room in Jamaica as presented by local artist, and it seems globe trotter, Francesca Da Rimini.

Bottom image, at right in the background: Japanese interpreter translating record of this parallel session number 5 'New Techologies and Social Action', on left Andrew Lowenthal from  EngageMedia community sector version of YouTube with much more ethical revenue sharing IP model. (This bloke AL had all the acuity and charm of a latter day Predator aka Mike Cartlon (RIP) who invented IndyMedia for the world from here in Australia. We suggested to AL he must be channeling the Pred and this seemed quite e a spooky coincidence and 'responsibility' too.

Posted by editor at 9:55 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 14 April 2007 3:07 PM NZT
Monday, 9 April 2007
Australian Climbing Festival: Gorgeous, risk agreeable people on a full diet of personal exploration, friendship, humour
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: local news

They say lifting furniture burns a lot of fat for the image conscious in this world of mass media advertising assault. With obesity the subject of popular reality tv shows like The Biggest Loser , imagine lifing yourself over an 8 mile knife shaped ridge line in the High Sierras of California as sainted, elite climber Peter Croft described in his humble tones this weekend at the Australian Climbing Festival 2007  in the Blue Mountains. Indeed a great deal of the crowd were as slender as whippets and looked as strong as, well ... rock climbers.

Picture: Peter Croft (Canadian) with his quietly spoken, gentle style and humour appealed greatly to the crowd with applause at his ethic of "climbing for the right reasons" sitting on a ledge no shirt listening to nature, no other climber anywhere. Famous for shocking solo climbs, yet happy to admit backing off a derisory grade 8 unsafe rock, and honest about a rescue "not fun to talk about" for climbing too soon after "a long road trip to Yosemite". A great person who had the hard core audience stuck to their seat at the 'end' of the talk.


The crowd of 500 including hard men and gymnast women at this Easter weekend event were literally in awe of this wiry middle aged solo expert Croft of North America with a face like a map of the world’s cliffs. And the competition for most amazing living adventurer at the festival was strong as per this promotion last Friday in the Herald Cruise control the easy way to reach Blue Mountains 

 Picture: Don't try this at home: flying suits made famous by Glen Singleman and wife Heather Swan who were also featured on the ABC TV Australian Story :: Lovers Leap


No wonder the crowds came.


And imagine how this writer felt a country mile from the speakers' level and half a mile from most of the audience: Nervous, intimidated, inadequate but in the sum also inspired not least by the quiet humility of these worthy role models of a vibrant sub culture:Gorgeous lithe strong people, some with brats bouncing around on the safety mats under the sport climbing wall.


Other elite folks stood out at this 2 day festival like Garth Miller who apparently won a climbing competition (?), at least I heard the roar of the crowd next door. I was in a rival event, in this jam packed schedule, of Bolivian music culture and slide show by the Monasterio Brothers including serious mountaineering guide Dr Erik Monasterio. By the time I made it across it was all over.


Luckily I had already met locally based The Garth on the eve of the festival cradling his pudgy babe in arms (introduced by film maker Gary Caganoff also exhibiting at the festival who did some electrical work for our old factory lease in 2001 in Sydney). Miller is distinctively slender and wiry, medium height and again somewhat waifish like Croft. Perfect build for sticking on rock. Almost bird like. This was a body shape to be repeated: Timmy O'Neill (USA), even Malcolm Matheson aka HB (Australia) more chunky yet surprisingly compact, similarly Jonathan Clearwater of Sydney.


The festival website note of Miller:


"By 1998 he had a tick list including two 32 and a dozen 31 on sight including two in the same day, red pointed 33 in three tries and a v11 boulder problem flashed. At the time he was one of two people in the world to on sight at this level and still the only Australian to do so."

Picture: Garth Miller hams it up for the camera on the official website, compared to the doting father with baby in arms we met on the eve of the festival.

To understand these climbing grades compare a gold medal olympic pole vaulter, high jumper or floor gymnast. It's that good, or as one speaker noted "in other sports he'd be on a million dollar sponsorship but we climbers just do what we do" 


I asked Caganoff was he intimidated living up here in the mountains mixing with these top level climbers and adventurers. "No, more my peers. I don't do that much climbing now though. At Kendall [Kendal Mountain Film Festival in the UK] I was in the room with 30 Everest summiteers. Chris Bonnington and Doug Scott. They were my childhood heroes."


This sparked my memory of an already middle aged Doug Scott signing a poster of one of his Himalayan trips at a the ANU (Canberra) film club in about 1984, which I have dragged around with me for 23 years, creased and tatty but somehow just as grand as gritty DS himself who from memory crawled off  The Ogre for a week with two broken ankles after taking a 'Very Big Swing'.

Picture: Chamlang west of Makalu (Himalayas), photo by Doug Scott sold to the writer in 1984 at a fundraiser for his next expedition, note signature.

Although it was chilly, we were reminiscing in the relative safety of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains some 1017 m elevation and the Australian Climbing Festival was yet to begin. 

Picture: Clair and Adam Donoghue the dedicated calm partnership behind a successful team of vollies delivering a tourism booster for Katoomba, busy as ever the first morning of the festival. Both were acclaimed several times during the next two days for rebooting this 'every 2nd year' event from the 90's after an 8 year lay off.

Trucks and exhbibitors were industriously crowding into the local sports complex on this cold Friday night as prep for the next 2 days as tourists oblivious, enjoyed Echo Point and the cafe culture:

Picture: The usual  passive interactions of visitors to Katoomba at Echo Point, still quite satisfying to the foreign tourists who seemed very happy soaking up the cool high oxygen as children romped around excited, 20 year olds paraded, others  to retire to the warm cafes Paragon, Niagara or as here piano playing Isobar Cafe. The tea and pumpkin soup was a treat. Local sculpture at Echo Point reads "When I reached the lookout at echo point the light was thick and golden/ As if it had passed all day through a butterfly's dusty wing."

My problem however was this: Now that I've pursuaded the organisers to give me a free media pass to an otherwise modestly priced 2 day event ($100), how can I do justice in this blog report, to earn my keep as it were? How indeed to talk to these elite folks at all without blubbering like a fool? And they do have their jargon like Trad, Free and Sport climbing styles. Without realising it I found my answer by applying the climbers' axioms: Attention, focus, commit, accept, and there were a few others I forget now (via speaker Arno Ilgner ).

In other words adapt to your conditions in the now, which in my case were these press reports over the Easter Break on global warming which naturally related to the frozen alpine regions.

But first we were treated to a gracious and highly appreciated welcome to the country of the traditional Aboriginal owners by these Indigenous ladies who had some sly and amusing things to say about the extreme rock climbing ability of the festival participants:

Picture: Welcome to country. More information on the Indigenous of the Blue Mountains here.

Picture: Mountaineers and outdoor ventureres are likely excellent lay front line witnesses to global warming changes as their guide books and living memory reveal something is indeed on the move. This was borne out by personal observation of presenters Croft, Matheson and Monasterio.

Yep the planet is likely fucked, and the the climbing veterans just might have an opinion about the reality of that, and they DID, hardly needing any prompting as per this in the Sydney Morning Herald this same weekend: Window closing on planet's chances - Environment - smh.com.au:

Here are some of the comments we obtained, to paraphrase the conversations, here:

SAM. How do you react to reports like this in the local Sydney Morning Herald about rising snowline and less days snow cover, in your personal observation?

Peter Croft: It's true. You see it in the High Sierra in California. In Canada too the glaciers are retreating. In the [European] Alps classic ice climbs are disappearing, just not there anymore. Even places like the Eiger are bound together by the ice and they're unstable.

Q. So at your elite level, it's a topic of conversation amongst your peers?

Peter Croft: Yes it is. It's discussed at other mountain festivals too. It's crystal clear it's happening.


SAM. Dr Erik Monasterio yesterday was a little confronting in his talk, saying climbers exagerate low risk and under rate high risk. He gave the example of expert rock climbers shifting over to mountaineering lacking the right skills. Do you think global warming will increase objective risk and climbers will understand that? Erik even mentioned an example of a boulder coming loose and nearly killing him.

Malcolm Matheson aka HB: Yes, for sure. My friend Steve Monks [Wild and Rock Index - Issue 27] whose been a guide in the European Alps for 22 years says the Mattahorn is getting dangerous. 

I've been climbing for 28 years and never had an accident, and that's not to say I haven't experienced some dangerous situations or done some serious climbs.

Me: Yes, your record speaks volumes for properly analysing risk. Thanks for your time I can see your young daughter is ready to go. [5 year old in face paint getting towy for Dad to stop his work for a mo]

Picture: home grown excellence. Malcolm Matheson or "HB" a veteran and pioneer of innumerable climbing routes in Australia, and like other elite climbers unassuming and very self confident. Presents like the original 'cougar man' only compared with that funny advertising campaign here in Sydney HB is the real deal, no bullshit. A real master.

Dr Erik Monastario of Bolivia and mountain guide, mentioned above gave some worrying analysis in one presentation of expert climbers at grade 5 in mountaineering terms (very high) who were still experiencing catastrophic injury or death at 5-10% out of a limited sample of 50 subjects over 4 years suggesting that mountaineers even of high ability tend to make weak risk assessments exagerating low and under rating high risk. He gave the example of the 'safe' moderately sloping ramp to Mt Aspiring in NZ which killed 4 climbers in 2002-3.

He also gave the example of an unstable boulder that whisked past his nose in Bolivia leaving the burning smell of rock clashing on rock as an example of our warming climate. If mountaineers underestimate global warming induced instability this fatal or near fatal injury rate may increase:

Picture: Dr Erik Monasterio at right answers further earnest questions from climbers directly after his challenging talk.

Picture: The beautiful Mt Aspiring west face near Wanaka NZ south island, deceptively dangerous, just under 10,000 feet from a 6000 bottom step (climbed by this writer 1990). Image from Google Earth.

Picture: Peter Croft mesmerises the large audience, winning indelible respect from the audience.

Pictures: Collage of conference experiences including

- everest veteran Tim Macartney-Snape talk (bottom right) for World Expeditions,

- Blue Mountains Council supporting the event,

- garage sale for Australian Himalayan Foundation - giving something back (a charity for the Nepalese);

- Timmy O'Neill , a seriously good speed climber and veteran of El Capitan at Yosemite in the USA but also exceptionally ribald and hilarous comedy prankster, mixed with inspired compassion working with disabled climbers (brought the house down)

- Jonathan Clearwater  in front of Mountain Equipment stall, who presented on Epics and Ethics about a 5 day climb in Pakistan

- the beautiful climber woman across the crowd (inset)

- they funny guy on spring legs

- the jury rigged coffee cup when we didn't have access to Mama Java fair trade coffee

Several other events have not been reported. Like the sport climbing which was hugely popular, the slack line tightrope walk over the pool which attracted a big crowd, the food stalls, bar, lots of live music up to 10pm or so.

There were some glitches in such a big operation worth noting for next time. Some of the films were cutting edge productions eg Cannibals and Crampons but somehow the DVD's were not road tested on location in the exact equipment and some failed until polished or replaced for the 2nd day. Similarly a slide show on the second day was woefully out of sync which really vexed the presenter. But with these minor hiccups it was a satisfied crowd that bailed out on Sunday night having laughed for a full hour with Timmy O'Neill and then sat like stunned sponges soaking up the unique character that is Peter Croft even by comparison with other elite presenters, as much to do with his subtle personality as his gift for climbing.

On a positive environmental note at the festival we also met an old environmental colleague and climber from New Zealand, Brent Hoare living in Katoomba. Just as we are very concerned about global warming effect on climbing environments, he is working on a practical reversal of that problem regarding ethical refrigerants which seemed ironic given the cold nights up there. We promised to add some info to our festival report because that is exactly what catching up at such events is all about. Reconnecting, reskilling, new directions and contacts:

Brent writes today:

Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 10:22 AM
Subject: NRTB info

Hi Tom,
Here's what I put out in advance of the NRTB launch, and some additional  info at the bottom. Great to catch up look forward to staying in touch. Hope the picture is usable.
Other websites to look at include www.nrtb.org.au , and for an international slant, www.mipiggs.org

Cheers!  Brent Hoare 0417 478268

In short his non profit group have a $2 million grant Feb 2007 from the Australian Government to promote safer hydrocarbon refrigerants in big business like Coles, Woolworths, Streets/Unilever, Roche to replace HCFC and HFC refrigerants which are up to 4000 times worse than CO2 for global warming. If memory serves Brent mentioned this about 14% of greenhouse emissions (in Australia?).

The NRTB is comprised of professional engineers, equipment designers and manufacturers which aims to promote the use of natural refrigerants. Bravo!
Clair Donoghue says the Australian Climbing Festival is planned as an every two years event as it was in the 1990's, so look out for it in 2009, it should be very good. And assuming it is to be held in the Blue Mountains again notice this shop on the way up to Katoomba from Sydney:

Also the last picture below should go to Malcolm Matheson who solo climbed El Capitan 3000 foot vertical rockface, and then spent the coldest night of his life in this perched platform structure at the summit hanging from a tree: 

Postscript #1: Sydney Morning Herald 19th April 07 UN rebuff for Britain on global warming with this quote at the end: "China has created artificial snow in Tibet after experts warned of melting glaciers in the Himalayas. The Tibetan meteorological station had created a fall of 2.2 millimetres, which accumulated to one centimetre, last week, about 4000 metres above sea level in northern Tibet, the Xinhua news agency said yesterday."

Postscript #2 A tengential article sympathetic to the above was in Good Weekend of Sydney Morning Herald p29 April 21 2007 called "Powder Keg" about an area on the border of Pakistan and India prone to avalanches, and very popular with elite skiers. There is no overt connection made with global warming threat but one wonders. It does capture the spirit of adventure, and misunderstanding objective danger, as written by expert sports reporter Jacquelin Magnay.

Postscript #3 Another related article in the Big Media: A ripping tale of Lincoln Hall's lucky escape with help from just below the summit of Everest in 2006 after suffering a brain oedema (brain swelling) shutting down most of his survival functions: "Left for dead", p18 April 28, 2007 The Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald.

The title refers to direction from base camp to abandon the immbolile speechless Hall putting his sherpas lives at risk as night approached. We at SAM wonder if one significant reason Hall got so much help at serious cost to other climbers when rediscovered next morning was at least in part because of his highly respected reputation, both as a climber and person i.e. good karma.

Postscript #4: We like to think at SAM we started an 'avalanche' of stories about the outdoor mountains scene in the Big Media, with our conference report above. Who really knows. Similar to the Lincoln Hall reference in postscript 3 see Fran Kelly ABC Radio National here recently: Radio National Breakfast - 2 May 2007 - Lincoln Hall

There definitely is a public interest in learning more about global warming from that adventurer perspective and so again here on SBS Dateline last week, and wow what beautiful photography:

Wed, May 2 2007

The Great Meltdown
Welcome to a special Dateline on what has to be the global topic of the moment - climate change, its true impact and what the heck do we do about it? Right now, our own increasingly dry and drought-ridden continent seems clear proof that something drastic is occurring with the world's climate
...more >
David Miliband Interview
This morning, Australian business and political leaders woke up to this full-page ad in the 'Financial Review' placed by five senior private sector economists
...more >
The Shrinking Alps
And now to Europe's snow-clad Alps - or to be more precise right now - Europe's normally snow-clad Alps
...more >

Posted by editor at 11:40 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007 8:07 AM NZT

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