Joined: 14 Nov 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:50 pm Post subject: Nine years of IAIJ!
|Nine years of IAIJ!
By Maurice Ali
To put this into perspective, We were there before Twitter (would not exist for another three years)/Youtube (would not exist for another two years)/Facebook (would not exist for another year and a half). We were posting content from Iraq two years before Wikileaks even existed, and some classified material (though we did not know this till later). We were pioneers offering to enable anyone, anywhere access to the mass media in all its forms.
To prove our words we decided to make a TV show, shot in one day on entry-level broadcast equipment anyone could buy or rent; no retakes and edited on free software and meet broadcast requirements and air on one of Canada's largest networks. That was the goal I set for myself..... It was rough at times. Remember TV was far different eight years ago. Million dollar episodes were common and it was very hard to get on the air. Man, I remember being with a network executive at Global Television in 2005 and watching him and this woman look at the show and having him spring to his feet (when he heard me talk about the Iraq photos and the U.S. and stuff) claiming they had standards and such. It didn't work as I had the CRTC look at the show and declare it a "Canadian Program" and I threatened to go back to the CRTC with our experience if he did not continue with the review process. So he smirked and threw our DVD of the show along with the CRTC letter like a frisbee onto this other person's desk and so began 6 months of Hell before I would finally see the show on the air. Man... I also remember the quality standards guy freaking out at some of the photography and audio fluctuations and shrieking at me when I told him I wanted to create more fluctuations of audio to make it more amateurish...hehehehe... He must of thought I was truly nuts..... The idea was to air a show that people would ask "how did that get on the air" and "if they could do that then so could I" - that was the plan anyway. This became a free speech issue at Global and the quality standards guy - in the end - resolved this by going on vacation and having one of his underlings pass the show for broadcast.
Global Television Studios in Toronto!
We got terrestrial transmission in Ontario and upper New York State with Cable in Ontario and selected provinces and the national audience by Satellite - about a 40 million broadcast population all told. The show aired one year to the day we shot it, on September 18, 2005 after Saturday Night Live. Back in those days there was nothing like what we were doing so they gave it the infomercial disclaimer, but it was regular programing in the end. What a rush to see it air back then..... Here is a clip of the beginning:
Click on the link below for video!
A more complete video of the show intro (for those who don't do 56k):
In this next clip I made our goals public, much like what is happening now if you listen carefully:
Here are some new vids from that show. It is strange but in hind-sight the speech and content have a quiet dignity to them now that we know the organization has survived and thrived. All that talk could have easily have looked preposterous if it had gone nowhere. Here is the tail end of my speech:
Click on the link below for video!
"Advocates of free speech and thought to the movers and shakers of this world," who would have known back then..... Here is me setting the goal of a speech on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly - Man...that guy just won't quit:
Here is something to keep in your back pocket for the next two years:
Funny thing is that the TV series (15 shows) may have hit the air waves by then so we might make a little money. Things that make you go: Hummmmm.....
I just wanted you guys to see and hear the statements and intentions back in those days. We recorded the show on September 18, 2004 and back then I think I only had started the newspaper, aired our first radio ad and published our first book. But see how all those "fantastic" goals seem to be coming true! This is a good lesson for you kids - at least you were all kids when you spurred me on to do this back in the day - to see the importance of setting goals and going for things you really want to do.
Here is a clip of us delivering newspapers which is what we did between the show and the association lobbying:
And here is the incorporation of the association in 2008:
As stated above, we put out various editions of the Fortress Newspaper and incorporated the association and then started to lobby the Canadian Commission for UNESCO for Institutional Membership and finally got it on June of 2011:
Then we lobbied hard at their AGM in Ottawa, Canada in May of 2012:
Click on the link below for video!
We were rewarded with a referral to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France which leads us to the journalist report and WSIS.....
So back to where we are now and WSIS and our journalist report. Once again, first: Why am I so interested in the World Summit on the Information Society Review Meeting and our report? Well from UNESCO's own website:
What is the WSIS Review process?
In 2015, the outcomes of the implementation will be reviewed by UN General Assembly in pursuance of the Resolution 60/252 and the paragraph 111 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society. In this regard, the UN Group on the Information Society was tasked by the UN Chief Executive Board (CEB), at its 2011 Spring session in Nairobi, to prepare, in cooperation with stakeholders, an action plan defining the preparatory process towards the 2015 review. The Action Plan foresees a series of events to be hosted by UNESCO in 2013, by ITU in 2014 and UNGA in 2015. The 2013 Event will produce a series of recommendations, which will serve as a foundation for a possible forward looking document (e.g. Post-2015 Action Plan).
We can actually have an influence. For an individual and an organization like ours this is pure gold. We can influence by our report. We can influence by a workshop or just by being there. It came together really quickly, faster than I ever thought but we don't dictate agendas, all we can do is react to them at this time.
This is what I originally wanted as one of my goals in the original Fortress TV Show. You saw it in one of the above clips. It took almsot a decade but the organization is performing its function. That is what is happening as a result of that "war cry" eight years ago. I just wanted to get this moment down now while everything is still positive. Because you never know. Things could go all bad tomorrow. But things look great today! I didn't know what was instore when we shot the show. But I put out our objectives and goals and stuck to it. so can you!
IAIJ: JOURNALISTS IN ACTION AROUND THE WORLD!