- According to Chris Atton and Nick Couldry, alternative media can generally be defined as “media produced outside mainstream media institutions and networks” 1). More precisely, Chris Atton defines alternative media as “a range of media projects, interventions and networks that work against, or seek to develop different forms of, the dominant, expected (and broadly accepted) ways of 'doing' media” 2)
- “In opposition to public and private-commercial media, alternative media are characterized by their different view of the communication processes as well as the producers and recipients involved. While public broadcasting is traditionally linked to informative and educational content that is to be distributed among the members of a (nation) state, private commercial stations are oriented towards a target audience that is defined in close connection to economic factors (e.g. purchasing power, age). The communicative goal is achieved if required quotas in a certain age-group of potential consumers are reached. Alternative media adhere to a concept of producer and consumer roles that sees these roles as intertwined activities and aims at broad involvement of the audience. According to their view, open access and negotiation of relevant topics is to be made available to a high number of different people” 3)
- “As a response to the difficulties faced by several social groups to get access to the commercial media, and sometimes with the explicit objective to confront them, alternative media - or that pretend to be such - have been created in some occasions. Marginal cinema, free radio, alternative press or networks of non-conventional video have been some of the ressources used by groups of social or political activists, with very diverse results, and almost always a very ephemeral efficiency. Some thesis, like Ezenberger's one, gave a theoretical support to these experiences, above all in the 1970's. Their main limitation lied in the institutional and technological power of the big media, in front of which, almost all the time, these alternative media disappeared” 4).
- “Alternative press, at its best, is a source of accurate, well-documented, counterhegemonic, investigative reporting and analysis that can advance social movements and serve as the basis for effective social and environmental justice activism. The term alternative press is most often used to refer to noncorporate social and environmental justice print and, more recently, Internet media. Other times, it refers to all sources of alternative media, including books, radio, video, film, and television […] Blogs may also serve as a source of independent information”5)
- According to Yaron Katz, “Alternative media can be defined as the use of new media by special-interest groups while operating outside the mainstream media. It requires three conditions:
- the availability of new media outlets;
- a wide network of special-interests groups; and
- a restrictive policy that denies the use of these means as part of the mainstream media.
Mainstream media can defined in that context as the official broadcast outlets operating as part of the licensing system provided by the government or any other official regulator”6)
- “Most generally, alternative media could be defined as media devoted to providing representations of issues and events which oppose those offered in the mainstream media and to advocating social and political reform. Although some scholars divide alternative media into 'opositional' and 'advocay' media, depending on which of these goals is most central to their mission, it might be useful to conceive of these as different, but closely related, goals of alternative” 7)