Activists, sympathisers and also critics of social movements share hopes and commitments that are crucial for political and cultural debate, and the mission of Other News is to defend this debate and provide a space for the new generation of informed, conscious and active individuals who make up civil society.
Other News does not take a stance vis-à-vis the arguments provoked by this debate, but defends the right to their expression as a sign of the rebirth of a thinking society that has the capacity to be outraged.
Elevating information to the level of objective responsibility that functions as an instrument of consciousness for citizens is a monumental task. It cannot be accomplished from the top of the pyramid by merely replacing the media moguls of today – it has to be tackled at the base by revitalising citizens who no longer want to make the effort, anaesthetised by decades of decline.
Other News aims to be a virtual global “newspaper” for the millions at the bottom of the pyramid, a space where they can find a reflection of their values, ideas, issues and concerns.
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We are currently in a period of profound change. Political systems are lagging behind critical global events and are suffering from a growing identity crisis while the financial system has distanced itself from the economy, transforming itself into an unprecedented power within democratic countries.
From a bi-polar system we are now witnessing a multi-polar system, which is unable to create adequate governability or governance due to a devastating process of globalisation whose values are opposed to those that inspired modern constitutions and social systems that were born from the compromise between socialism and 20th century capitalism.
A new form of capitalism has marginalised labour as the fundamental base of the economy, and manifested complete disregard for increasing levels of poverty and its geographic and social concentration. This is the driving force behind the progressive dismantling of established and accepted mechanisms of social justice, equality, dignified work and the right to education and health.
Meanwhile, it is indicative of the time we live that there is no progress on major issues that range from climate change to nuclear disarmament, where there is demonstrated universal consciousness and even repeated declarations of political will.
The profound changes we are witnessing represent major challenges which are not being debated sufficiently in the mainstream media and therefore run the risk of being absent from collective or individual consciousness.
For example, within the next three decades, the world will have two billion new inhabitants – what kind of social and productive system awaits them if today, in rich countries, one-quarter of young people are unemployed or are surviving in precarious situations that do not allow them to have a home and a pension system?
Or the fact that the era of cheap oil – which permitted increased living standards and simultaneously a new lifestyle – is irreversibly ending and we are now facing a progressive increase of prices in the next three decades?
Or the depletion of seas, the disappearance of species, the deterioration of nature, the decadence of food products, the control of prices of natural resources, including food and water, by financial markets?
These issues alone suffice to demonstrate that now, more than ever, consciousness and civic participation is vital.
What we are witnessing now is the end of an era and the transition into an uncertain destiny. And it is here that information has a critical role to play in helping create a new consciousness and thus lay the base for informed participation.
A democracy is only real when citizens are conscious and demand policies with vision and priorities, not just policies that manage what is doable, immediate and convenient. But, after years of ‘info-entertainment’, citizens have become accustomed to listening and not to seeing.
But, in a world which spends more per capita on advertising than on education, the concept of citizen itself has been replaced by that of consumer, dramatically reducing the right to be human, to be more than what we buy. Information, which was once the citizen’s window to the world, has been increasingly incorporated into the world of the market. ‘Light’ information is the currency and concerns only known themes and characters and is dedicated to events rather than to processes. Today it is impossible to publish an article with more than 850 words. TV interviews are conducted by professionals whose dream is for the answer to be shorter than the question. The sound bite triumphs over explanation.
At the same time, the concentration of media (leading to phenomena such as Murdoch and Berlusconi, who are no strangers to the world of politics) has reduced the quality of language and the capacity of journalists to negotiate their professional space.
Other News is one small answer to these challenges, and its aim is to reconquer part of the void that has been created in the modern public arena.
Other News is committed to delivering, five days a week, critical points of view and high-level analysis on global themes, international relations, climate change, finance, democratic processes around the world, social problems, ethnic and gender discrimination and the countless other issues that are an important part of the changing processes we are living.
It is inevitable that by dealing with these issues, Other News will be seen as partisan. It is inevitable that when someone takes a step outside the mainstream it will be considered a rebel – but when has the mainstream ever been the answer for better information?