Workshop on Communication and Citizenship: Agreements

2001-04-12 00:00:00

The Communication and Citizenship Workshop, held at the World Social
Forum (WSF), had a wide range of participants (more than 100 people,
including representatives of some 67 organisations), stimulated
various proposals, formulated recommendations and reached concrete
agreements about follow-up measures.

The first recommendations, addressed to the organisers of the World
Social Forum and which have already been distributed, emphasised the
need to highlight the theme of communication as a central aspect of
the struggle against Neoliberalism.

The follow-up agreements are on two levels. The first is that of
exchanges and reflections, an aspect related to the need to open a
wide debate at a world level on communication and the new
technologies, which will allow us to re-examine the different versions
of the single system of values, which state that these changes are
inevitable and for the good of humanity. This implies, for example,
the questioning of the tendency to centralisation, of the
commercialisation of information, of the systematic exclusion of the
voices of certain sectors of the population (women, the poor, ethnic
minorities, etc), or the promotional discourse of the new technologies
with which the virtues of globalisation are demonstrated.

It is necessary to take this debate to all spheres. Specifically, in
the Workshop it was agreed that the mailing list
will be a reference point for the preparation
of this theme for the next WSF. (For subscriptions, go to:

The second level of Workshop agreements refers to the co-ordination of
initiatives at the level of communication practice. The success of the
International "Ciranda" (Network) of Independent Information was
highlighted, being a communal effort to cover the information on the
WSF from an independent position. This means not only strengthening
the informative work of each person or media by sharing what they
produce, and making the new technologies work for social struggles,
but it also constitutes a concrete alternative to information as a
merchandise. In this sense, it is an initiative which fits into the
vision of the WSF that "another world is possible", against the power
of the mass media and communication systems.

Some 30 press entities participated, creating more than 120 articles.
The results can be seen at this web site:

In some ways, the "Ciranda" brings together other similar past
experiences, such as, for example, that carried out at the worldwide
Women Action initiative, in the framework of Beijing + 5 (cf.

In fact, one of the agreements of the Workshop was to reproduce this
experience at other events. Concretely, a mechanism was agreed on for
the next events on the social agenda in the Americas: The Americas
Forum for Diversity and Plurality, in Quito in March, the April events
around the FTAA in Argentina and Quebec, where a Women Action team
will be present.

Workshop promotors: ALAI - Les Pénéloppes - Women Action - APC