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November 2005 - ParTecs on UNESCO Workshop: WSIS Tunis

The role of ICT-powered audience-controlled media to foster the structural democratization of media systems.

Click here to go to the UNESCO site Click here for the Presentation in PDF format

It is an inalienable truth that freedom of expression is an undeniable requirement for a free journalist, and thus for a free and democratic society. Systematic denials of such freedoms are rightfully denounced by democratic governments and western NGOs.

Such denouncements, however, sound overly public and ostentatious, when compared to the deafening silence they maintain about two more structural shortcomings of contemporary media systems: the lack of freedom of information; and the lack of democratic control over media systems and organizations.

These effectively reduce the value of freedom of expression where it is guaranteed to the value of the freedom of voting in autocratic societies. What is the use of freedom of expression, if an individual cannot inform him/herself about what is and what is not? What is the use of speaking or of writing about great ideas and important truths if the voice is not heard?

The lack of freedom of information

All journalists are structurally prevented access or, worse, given distorted or false access, to fundamental information about the most critical contemporary global and national issues. Journalists can hardly any useful syntheses or informed opinions if they miss relevant, correct and verifiable information about such issues.

Their goals, in principle, are to foster trade innovation, individual privacy and collective threat prevention. These reasons ften become lying excuses as governments and corporations, legally and illegally, abundantly extend the duration, the scope, and the applicability of those delays.

The lack of democratic control over the media system and organizations.

The most pervasive, powerful and structural of such shortcomings, and therefore most forcefully denied and falsified by (media) power elites, is the thoroughly undemocratic character of the what academics call – The Political Economics of Journalism

The legally-sanctioned econo-political dynamics of the media systems ensure an indirect but, extremely firm control on the prevailing story, the public mind, the public opinion, the agenda, and the acceptable range of opinions.

Media production and distribution are almost exclusively controlled by large economic groups, executive branches of governments, and other powerful organizations. This control is exercised in more or less direct manner through rigid vertical chains of command and control, direct control over main media revenue sources, heavy private subsidizing, etc. These groups use the resulting power over public opinion formation to further their interests and the interests of other media power holders, by tacit accord to not interfere with reciprocal interests.

TV and print media that there is nothing wrong with the current system and that little improvements are on their way sometime in the future any structural change is neither possible nor. Let us see if this hypothesis is indeed correct.

Are solutions possible?

Naom Chomsky made a very encouraging statement in a recent interview, that may help us find answers to this question: “It is natural that those who benefit from the organization of state and private power will portray it as inevitable, so that the victims will feel helpless to act”.

Are such demands really radical?

In fact, there are many indications that these views are much more widely shared than the prevailing opinions in the media would have us believe.

During the 2000 and 2004 US Presidential Elections, Ralph Nader, a long time consumer rights activists and independent green party candidate, achieved an average of 7-9% of preferences in the polls during the months preceding the elections, notwithstanding total media coverage black out on its campaign.

In his official online campaign manifesto, both in 2000 and 2004, under the Media Policies section, he proposed “the reversion of some organized time on our publicly owned airwaves to establish audience-controlled radio and TV networks to ensure the diversity of voices and solutions necessary for a really free press and a true civic democracy”.

Solutions : current and future political practice

With the dramatic increase in these negative dynamics in the recent years, a growing number of NGOs, academics and other organizations are portraying the strong democratization of media systems as an urgent political action required to stop and hopefully reverse the rapid loss of democratic control in our societies.

Increasingly, political organizations or individuals expressing these views or promoting such goals, are aggressively ignored and attacked by media powers. Hence, many such groups have recently understood that they have to make their own media (and make it good media!) in order to hope to get the message out to the general public on a large scale.

Most of these, however, do not always apply democratic principles in the ways they manage their organizations and the ways they produce and manage their internal and public news; a blatant contradiction that, understandably, often undercuts their appeal to the eyes of the general public, and creates severe organizational problems as the organizations scale (for example, the Indymedia experience).

A few leading organizations are trying to “practice what they preach”by internally enacting such principles through various models of direct and indirect democratic media management.

These non-profit and member-financed organizations are, therefore, attempting to realize audience-controlled media while promoting media democratization:

Bullet They discuss, draft and campaign-for wide-ranging legislative frameworks for strong democratization of governmental, private and public media sectors.
Bullet They create, practice and design models of democratic self-management and audience-controlled media production.

We, among other social software organizations, believe in the huge potential of such political practices when practiced in large scale networks or organizations and when powered by innovative ICTs, which enable and facilitate such innovative democratic media processes across distances, languages and times.

Many emerging software solutions and organizations are ffering very innovative communication functionalities. Our technologies, which are permanently shown here at the UNESCO stand throughout the Summit, solve important outstanding problems, which were not being tackled by others. In particular they:

Bullet Allow for a large extent of customization of the democratic process that may be experimented and put in practice.
Bullet Allow for equal participation to the system by all alphabetized people through mail and automated telephone systems, therefore almost completely bridging the digital divide.
Bullet Allow for people speaking different languages to inexpensively participate in the same democratic processes thorough semi-automated asynchronous translation work flows
Bullet Are distributed under innovative FLOSS licenses that ensure the mandatory free access of even modified version of the technology within 12 months of anyone's use.
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January 2005 - ParTecs 2.0 preview amazes the world at WSF 2005

ParTecs SRL released a preview into the functionality of ParTecs 2.0, a feature enhanced version of their flagship product, ParTecs 1.3, this January during the World Social Forum 2005 Conference at Porto Alegre, Brazil. ParTecs preview presentations were held at Hotel Plaza Sao Rafeal, Porto Alegre all through the last week of January.

Presidency members of many political parties and social organizations and hundreds of activists attended the previews and were amazed at the rich features like inter-language, inter-medium features and proxy representation etc.

ParTecs 2.0 is an inter-medium and inter-language enabled version ParTecs 1.3, the 2-way communication platform for decision-making and is aimed at complementing expensive in-person meetings of social organizations. ParTecs 2.0 is said to have many rich and usable features like Representative Profiling, Proxy Representatives, and Phased Decision Making etc. ParTecs 2.0 will also integrate various mediums of communication like Fax, Email, snail mail with the existing web enabled system.

January 2005 - ParTecs 1.3 Release held at WSF 2005

ParTecs SRL released its flagship product ParTecs 1.3 during the World Social Forum 2005 conference, in January 2005, at Porto Alegre, Brazil. ParTecs preview presentations were held at Hotel Plaza Sao Rafeal, Porto Alegre all through the last week of January, wherein the platform amazed many people from many social and political organizations from all over the world. Also, hundreds of social and political activist tried out the power and ease of use of the ParTecs platform live at the ParTecs stall at WSF Exhibition area and rated it as a very useful product.

ParTecs 1.3 is a 2-way communication platform for decision-making and is aimed at complementing expensive in-person meetings of social organizations. A platform like ParTecs 1.3 is said to increase participation of member phenomenally.

1 Dec 2004 - ParTecs SRL announces ParTecs 2.0 Preview Release

ParTecs SRL would release a preview into the functionality of ParTecs 2.0, a feature enhanced version of their flagship product, ParTecs 1.0 this January during the World Social Forum 2005 Conference at Porto Alegre, Brazil. Similar release would be done at other major social conferences in the EU countries, later in the year.

ParTecs 2.0 is an inter-medium and inter-language enabled version ParTecs 1.0, the 2-way communication platform for decision-making and is aimed at complementing expensive in-person meetings of social organizations. ParTecs 2.0 is said to have many complex features like Representative Profiling, Proxy Representatives, and Phased Decision Making etc. ParTecs 2.0 will also integrate various mediums of communication like Fax, Email, snail mail with the existing web enabled system.

1 Dec 2004 - ParTecs SRL announces ParTecs 1.0 Release

ParTecs SRL would release its flagship product ParTecs 1.0 during the World Social Forum 2005 conference, in January 2005, at Porto Alegre, Brazil and then all major social conferences in EU countries, later in the year.

ParTecs 1.0 is an inter-medium and inter-language, 2-way communication platform for decision-making and is aimed at complementing expensive in-person meetings of social organizations. A platform like ParTecs 1.0 is said to increase participation of members phenomenally.

1 Dec 2004 - ParTecs Participation at WSF 2005

ParTecs plans to actively participate in World Social Forum 2005, like they did in WSF 2004 and 2003. ParTecs will be having a stall in the exhibition area where many rounds of demos and presentation on the ParTecs 1.0 (2-way communication platform) will be done. At the stall, preview of ParTecs 2.0, a feature enhanced release, would be done.

ParTecs SRL will also release its flagship product ParTecs 1.0, a 2-way communication platform collective decision making. ParTecs 1.0 is an inter-medium and inter-language platform for decision-making and is aimed at complementing expensive in-person meetings of social organizations. A platform like ParTecs 1.0 is said to increase participation of member phenomenally.

20 Jan 2004 - ParTecs Participation at WSF India 2004

ParTecs actively participated in the World Social Forum 2004 held in Mumbai India. ParTecs had put up a stall in the exhibition area where many rounds of initial demos and presentations were held. ParTecs also gave out about 2000 CDs of ParTecs NPDE, a free operating system custom developed for non-profit organizations.

Apart from the stall, our CEO, Mr. Rufo Guerreschi also spoke at many events pertaining to world democracy. Particularly, two workshops where Mr. Guerreschi emphasized on the role of 2-way communication technologies in global democratization process saw a participation of more than 200 people.

20 Mar 2003 - Free Software, Political Movements and International Law

Sammondano, a non-profit organization, promoting global democracy, organized a conference aimed at understanding on how the Free Software Movement and global democracy initiatives can complement each other. ParTecs financed Sammondano, the sponsor of the event, in co-hosting with La Sapienza and contribution from Kapusons for graphic work. Read More

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