The “Alternative Media Global Project (AMPG)” is a multilingual, global collaborative Internet site devoted to recording research on and connections with alternative, radical, citizens, Community, independent, militant, autonomous, media throughout the world. This project was launched in october 2007 as an initiative of Benjamin Ferron, RE Davis and Clemencia Rodriguez. The project profits from the support of the OURMedia network.
During the last decades, projects and researches on alternative communication have multiplied. The Alternative Media Global Project seeks to centralize these resources and to make them available to the community of researchers, activist, and actors who work on, with or for alternative media.
The Alternative Media Global Project is built on a Wiki platform. This allows users to carry out modifications without constraint and allows web pages to be created to serve the needs of the users. This allows the users to maximize customability while minimizing technical or geographic accessibility. The AMGP uses Dokuwiki as its base which is an open source program.
Research on the alternative media (alternative media studies) currently presents several gaps that this project intends to fill through its different research orientations:
The AMGP bibliography records the research undertaken and the indigenous literature (literature produced by community media producers) on alternative media world-wide. This work aims to constitute a base of benchmark data on this subject, and to contribute to supporting the following goals:
- Integration of research in the field. Alternative media studies often come from several disciplines (information-communication, sociology, history, political science, anthropology, etc). The AMPG hopes to help create dialogue between these areas and provide access to the research being conducted in all disciplines that has alternative media as its core.
- Facilitation of research in specific geographic areas and international comparisons on alternative media's networks.
- Conservation of the historical memory of these media, that are often ignored in official or orthodox historiographies of the press, journalism and the public sphere.
The bibliography is made up of four parts:
In addition to this specialized bibliography, which is currently the most complete bibliographical database on alternative media in the world, this section includes several other bibliographical sections on :
The Inventory/Map records alternative media projects country by country. The purpose of this work is to create an interactive chart of the world of alternative media, using Google map software (See the AMGP's worldmap of Alternative Media). This inventory is made possible by:
- A network of national or regional correspondents. Currently there are more than 60 volunteers. These correspondents cover the five continents and 30 countries (See the list of the AMGP's correspondents). Thanks to the wiki system, each correspondent can carry out additions to the AMGP site, of important information about their area of specialization;
- Internet research and field investigations to gather and record useful information. This will allow the recording for comparison of these medias by: type of medium, creation date, principal stages of development, equipment, coordinator, internal organization, financing, publications, formats, distribution, institutional partners, website, adress, contacts, and any other information thought to be useful;
- The hope to avoid purely descriptive approaches focusing too much of the political geography of alternative media. These medias weave between them direct or indirect links on a intra-national or international level, and these alternative networks of communication must be located if one wants to include/understand their logic of creation and expansion.
This chronology records events related to the history of alternative media in the world, around a chronology, year by year, and country by country. This chronology should allow:
- To record the history of alternative media, accounting for specific events of national or regional importance, and transnational changes of and in the networks of alternative media;
- To create an empirical base for testing theoretical hypothesis. For instance the assumptions according to which Alternative Media is a local phenomenon related to a global context, of which its rise or decline depends on a certain number of contextual variables. Among these variables, one can mention the importance of the political and legal system in which the activities of the alternative media exist. As well as the economic conjuncture and dominate mode of production. Also important are the forms of socialization and public sphere of society, which preexist the appearance of these media, the volume and the structure of the media system and the historical trajectory of the national journalistic field. As well as the cycles of protest of social movements, the sociological properties of the actors, and many other variables.
The ”Who's Who ?“, a biographical yearbook on alternative media actors and researchers, aims at proposing a database on alternative media academics, journalists, activists, artists or policy-makers in order to :
- help researchers to make sociological investigations on the producers of alternative media.
- facilitate connexions between alternative media practitionners
The AMGP's WebSite also proposes several useful tools for alternative media researchers and practionners :
- A Glossary, which aims at enlisting and defining the concepts, notions and expressions used to describe alternative media practices.
- A Blog, giving updated news about alternative media initiatives throughout the world (legislation, conferences, festivals, projects, new books or articles, repression, etc.)
Simple, open and collective, the AMGP offers many different interests :
- For the academic community, the AMGP wants to be an integrative tool for research on the subject. It supports a collective, cumulative and comparative approach to the phenomenon. In the long term, it seeks to facilitate research with helping studies integrate the systemic and historical variables. While proceeding to international comparisons, it aims at generating accounts of the progression and regression of the networks of alternative media, according to the geographical areas and the historical periods considered.
- For the participants in alternative media's projects, the AMPG wants to be a tool which wishes to profit from the knowledge accumulated by research and experimentation in this field. The AMPG seeks to help establish contacts between and within actors, communities and researchers, to make available the projects and lessons from their experiments.
- For the public en general, in addition to the discovery or deepening of one's knowledge on the world of alternative media, the AMGP proposes a wide range of external links with alternative media initiatives and publications on the Web. This means offering a tool for the promotion of a democratic and critical debate in a wide range of social, political, economical or cultural issues.