Interview with Cecile Landman
Taken from: http://www.networkcultures.org
By Geert Lovink
Cecile Landman is a Dutch freelance investigative
journalist, who specializes in the facts behind
the news. One of the areas she researches and works
in is Italy, a country she is passionate about.
Cecile has often said to me that she was born in
the wrong part of Europe as her energetic character
does not resonate well with the cold, Calvinist
Dutch, and their similar meteorological condition.
Yet, the Italian language and lifestyle can also
be a culture that one inhabits and carries around,
no matter where you are. And that’s what Celice
does, when she logs on the Net. Since mid 2004 Cecile
is in daily contact with Iraqi bloggers. Together
with founder Jo van der Spek, Cecile forms the spill
of Streamtime, an international support campaign
for new media initiatives in Iraq. The work of Streamtime
goes back to the nineties ‘tactical media’
concepts and initiatives, in particular Press Now,
an Amsterdam-based support campaign for independent
media in former Yugoslavia, founded in 1993. The
scene around Press Now, closely connected to Internet
provider xs4all and cultural centre De Balie, is
also known for its efforts to keep the Belgrade
radio station/Internet initiative and cultural hotspot
B92 in the air and online, in particular during
the Kosovo war and the NATO bombings of Serbia in
Fast-forward four, five years and the situation
looks pretty different. Efforts to support independent
media and Internet initiatives in Iraq after the
US-led invasion of 2003 have been quickly aborted
because of hostage taking, killings and car bombs.
One year after their arrival, NGOs and aid agencies
had to pull out. Government agencies and foundations
refused to allocate financial resources because
they judged the situation too risky. By late 2004
hardly any media support work could be done inside
Iraq anymore, even for the cynical reasons that
added to the risks involved and the paucity of financial
support, travel insurance had simply (and perhaps
ironically) become insanely expensive. Workshops
like the ones done by the Berlin-based group Streamminister
have been held in Amman, Jordan since. After initial
funding which was provided by, amongst others, the
HIVOS Foundation, Streamtime no longer has any financial
support or funding. In response to the deteriorating
security situation, Streamtime gradually started
to focus on online support of Iraqi bloggers, inside
or outside the country. What Cecile shares with
many of her Italian friends and colleagues is a
warm interest in power structures behind the media
spectacle. In the case of Italy we only need to
mention the mafia, banks, the army, the Vatican
and the P2 loge, and not to forget as well, of course,
various fascist leagues. Enough to investigate--and
a good school for spin watchers.
GL: Cecile, could you describe us how an average
blogging day of yours looks? Do you visit sites
and follow links? How do you store and process all
the information you find?
CL: When I get up I start up the computer and the
coffee machine simultaneously. Firstly I’d
check some sites of the various bloggers that I
am most curious about and familiar with. I am interested
in their personal lives, but also how they write,
how they play with different writing styles, and
concepts of what ‘information’ constitutes
according to them. I am looking for amazing stories
and styles, not necessarily those that are most
likely to reach mainstream media, but stories that
can give insight how 'the Iraqi soul' is developing
through all they're being confronted with, the immense
and so destructive daily economical, political,
military and every day violence. On a daily basis
I’d visit at least a dozen Iraqi blogs. In
addition, I check some specific Italian as well
as international media sites, or specific news sites,
varying from the big press-agencies to GNN (Guerilla
News Network) to some more personal preferred ones,
just for fun. I occasionally visit a Dutch site.
There are also days that I visit no more than ten
sites and that's it.
Visiting Iraqi blogs has become an evolving ritual,
together with but not necessarily parallel to the
developments in the broader Iraqi blogosphere. I
know quite a few inside stories from the Iraqi blogosphere
and not all of them can be shared. Secrecy is absolutely
inevitable. Through chats and bloggers who I have
met personally, my insights also change and as a
consequence some bloggers, in my eyes, have become
'mainstream' bloggers who I rarely visit anymore.
Others are starting to provoke, or in 'the beginning'
had a serious blog, then developed more provocative
sites, sometimes alongside their more mainstream
and less personally informative blog(s) and started
to write more provocatively. Through different ways
of writing they're testing what reactions they get
onto their posts. Given the history of Iraq, this
is already incredibly surprising. To me it is as
if someone who was not allowed to talk, or use his
vocals cords, for long, long years is finding ways
to begin to talk with the outside world. Now they
started communicating with the outside.
When I first joined Streamtime, in June 2004, I
followed a lot of Iraqi blogs AND their comment
sections. That seemed the place where it all happened
back then. Comments on one posting could run into
the hundreds. Daily. Or to be more precise: nightly.
What was most striking were the violent tones and
attitudes in those debates. I was flabbergasted,
and at the same time most fascinated. Also horrified.
I started to mingle and join these discussions,
with the aim to promote Streamtime, get involved
and make some waves. I stopped doing that. Most
of the time it gave the feeling of being smashed
on the head with a baseball stickbat. "Masochism"
said Iraqi Raed Jarrar and his Irani girlfriend
Niki to me, both bloggers when they visited Amsterdam
in November 2004. However, I learned a lot from
the comment sections, and from there I followed
a lot of links, of which 75% were crap, but the
rest were useful. I store most of what I find and
shouldn't forget to mention that it is all publicly
stored on the Streamtime site itself, although Streamtime
doesn’t have a search option. Other stuff
goes to the Xer-files-blog, private mailboxes and
a ‘good’ folder. The rest is stored
and processed in my mind, and comes back in chats
with other I-bloggers.
GL: How do blogging and investigative journalism
relate? At a first glance, they look oppositional,
potentially supplementary practices. Whereas the
investigative journalist works for months, if not
years, to uncover a story, bloggers more look more
like an army of ants that contribute to the great
hive called ‘public opinion’. Bloggers
prefer to post comments and rarely add new facts
to a story. How do you look at this relation from
the perspective of the investigative journalist?
You are one of a very few that combine the two activities.
Is blogging a secondary activity? Is it is useful
anyway to create such hierarchies?
CL: Journalists, and certainly the investigative
types, need to make a living too. They can't put
just anything on-line. Bloggers don't seem to bother
too much about this, and that does create a conflict.
Indeed, I work in both worlds. On my Xer-files blog
I link to jokes and side-information that I can't
post on the Streamtime site. Rarely, however, do
I write an entry on it. I use my personal blog as
a ‘megaphone’ for issues that I find
interesting to store, like a public library.
I started my blog almost by accident. I wanted to
leave a comment on an Iraqi blog, but to do that
I had to identify myself as a blogger. Having obtained
my blogger ID, I immediately had a blog of my own,
which was (and still is) primarily read by Iraqis
and linked to Iraqi sites. At first, I tried to
use it to link information from ex-Yugoslavia, --
about cartoonists and humor from Belgrade, stories
about first web-experiences and information exchange
in ex-Yugoslavia during the 90s war -- and make
this material and information available for Iraqi
readers. The blog was also used as a back-up for
Streamtime when this site was cracked.
Interestingly enough blogging is changing existing
formats for information dissemination. As people
are increasingly bored and frustrated over a broader
spectrum of conventional journalism, and traditional
news formats; they don't catch up with the news
anymore, it no longer glues on their cervical memory
stick. It is like a song that you have listened
to too often, or rather perhaps it is like an incessant
commercial advertisement: you hear it, you can even
sing the words, but they are without meaning. Mainstream
media start to grasp this. They have begun to search
for new formats in order to attract readers (read:
This is especially visible in the trend towards
'infotainment'. The impact of the advertisement
industry on information is palpable. Taking, as
an, and seen from for example the Italian media/political
perspective this recipe doesn't make people more
clever or intelligent. In fact, I heard (but didn't
check, so I didn't post about it) that about 69%
of the Italian populace has returned to being illiterate
because they don't read anymore and only watch TV.
Link this factoid with the fact that Italian TV
is politically abused by premier Berlusconi and
his mates and you get a strange picture, indeed.
At the same time, blog-reading and writing has become
popular because it is personal. I would say it is
a positive development that people read each others
commentaries on the news or on local developments.
Because of the personal factor in blogging you don't
have to bother about objectivity, a blog is subjective
by its very nature. On blogs comments can be left,
and by this, it leaves the one-way communication
media-concept and becomes a tool for communication,
discussions, quarrels, a lot of nonsense, and more.
We have to distinguish between various 'blogospheres'.
If you take a look around at Global Voices, the
differences are obvious. There are for instance
the so-called 'pajama-bloggers' in the USA. Whereas
journalists are a kind of 'army' that (should) control
the powers to be, bloggers started to 'control'
the journalist-media. Given the conditions under
which mainstream media operate this can, potentially,
only be a good development.
But who controls the quality of the blog posts?
And where walks the journalist out and the blogger
peeps in? I’d say, this occurs through research
of the used sources. Bloggers I post about on Streamtime
are nearly all people I chat and mail with regularly.
I 'know' them. So I know their information can be
trusted. I use my blog and the Streamtime site in
every possible way to get information out that otherwise
probably won’t be 'out' there. I don't bother
too much about copyright. That’s luxury journalism
and information on Iraq can’t afford. But
I do my journalistic research over the sources and
the information, and I mix bloggers information
with articles by heavy-weight journalists that I
consider valuable, and who are in the Iraqi region.
So it is a two-way situation, the Streamtime blog
is as well as much about making information available
to 'the West' as it is about providing various information
to Iraqi bloggers.
I had one good experience in which journalism (good
journalism is always investigative) and blogging
came together. It was research on the 'nowthatsfuckedup.com'
site. On this site porn pictures were put together
with war images from Afghanistan and Iraq. One title
for one of the war pics was 'cooked Iraqi' and indeed
it was an image of a burned body with grinning US
soldiers around it, holding their thumbs up. With
Haitham Sabbah, a blogger on JordanPlanet, we (almost
in an apart-together fashion) shared our research
and information, and indeed, it was picked up, not
long after, by mainstream newspapers in the US.
That article, btw. did not refer to the bloggers
who were source material for their article, because
otherwise they would find themselves in trouble
I find that I am hip-hopping, trying to connect
complex worlds. Giving feedback to the postings
of Iraqi bloggers, and provide them with journalistic
advice e.g. their writing and suggest subjects they
could take up. I want the Iraqi bloggers to be as
good as good journalists can be, while at the same
time I don’t want them to lose their personal
factor in their writings. I am not getting paid
for this work, I simply find it too important. So
money is not an item indeed for the blogger I've
become... but the journalist in me is hungry! (A
hungry journalist is an angry journalist).
GL: The world of Iraqi blogging must be intense,
tragic, encouraging, and pretty powerful at the
same time. How do you and others deal with all the
emotions on the line and to the surface?
CL: Through a great sense of humor, actually. One
of them, The Konfused Kid, described it yesterday
like this "sweet black humor, last defense."
Without black humor I don't know if I would have
been able to continue with Streamtime. It is essential.
I make fun with Iraqi bloggers and I love their
sharp observations, their wide-open minds. This
also happens as well with the Iraqis that I have
come to know in The Netherlands. They are poets,
writers, painters, actors. Iraqis remind me of people
from Naples who are theatrical, loud, rumor makers.
They gesticulate a lot with their arms. They discuss
and dance. They are warm people. They are also all
harmed, scarred, violated. It is difficult. Sometimes
I feel exhausted from having processed war information
from this position since a year and a half. On the
other side, I find it not only important for the
Iraqi people I am doing this with. Observing developments
in The Netherlands, and Europe, the Iraq-case is
important for a number of reasons. I consider the
communication between people in Iraq and 'our worlds'
of extreme importance.
How to deal with the emotions, though? I sometimes
cry, or scream. At other times laugh about it all.
But when I notice that people on the other side
of the line are sinking into despair, I have no
choice but to cheer them up. What is difficult is
when I realize they tell me with not so many words
that they don't talk about very rotten war events
anymore, the chains of kidnappings, lack of electricity
and so forth. In some way, maybe we are all afraid
that it is all just the same story as yesterday
and the days and weeks, months even years before.
Who wouldn't get bored with that? Same number or
more dead in one day, does it matter? Numbers are
still not being counted. “Who cares?!”
The thought that the Iraqis might become isolated
once again is utterly unbearable. Sometimes, when
someone in Iraq has a burnout, quits blogging and
stops telling stories, I try to call them back,
phone, mail, try to call in chat. And in the meantime
I search for other stories on the web, in an attempt
for other input that might be just a cartoon I put
online. Some come back blogging, others don't, or
they do so irregularly, but they do knock on my
GL: Is there a way to keep cool under so much stress
of conspiracy, secret service activity and media
CL: No, but I try to manage, although it can get
on my nerves, like today. I just read a posting
from Emigre. She started the Iraq Blog Count from
Australia. Like me she is not Iraqi. So I do see
some similarities with my situation. She wrote that
she found a transmitting device in her home, that
wasn't hers. If it is what she thinks it is, then
I wouldn’t be that surprised, but the paranoia
factor definitely gets reinvigorated. I can imagine
being ‘followed’ by 'they know who they
are'. On the other hand, not speaking up, not to
continue doing this..., that would be a worse option.
I can see mainstream media –in particular
US, and UK-based newspapers and agencies- changing
their attitude towards the bloggers. In The Netherlands
however, Streamtime and its contacts in Iraq continue
to be neglected, even though Dutch media complain
that they don't have reporters on the ground. I
hear from people in Iraq that they have been asked
to write for US newspapers, which some of them would
like to do. Tough hey remain fearful that this would
become known in Iraq, which could mean their death.
GL: Late 2004 Streamtime gave up to working in
Iraq itself. It became too dangerous. What does
that mean for you? Do you look at blogging as a
CL: Yes and no. Switching from web radio workshops
inside Iraq to blogging 'with Iraq' has shown itself
to be a new starting point with unpredictable outcomes.
The network of Iraqi bloggers is fragile, but it
has begun to consolidated by now. Emigre's work
on Iraq Blog Count proved to be essential. Streamtime
played an important role in bringing some people
together in- and outside Iraq, namely by supporting
ideas of independent media inside Iraq, independent
opinion forming, opening access points towards experiences
in 'the West' with independent media, especially
on the Web, which seems essential to me.
GL: Could you give us an insight into what is being
discussed in the Iraqi blogosphere, apart from responses
to suicide bombs, military attacks by occupied forces
and political events?
CL: Sex, love and rock 'n roll. Ways to get out
of the country, to build up another life. Ways of
contacting each other. Styles of writing. Electricity
and connectivity failures. The fact of just having
escaped from an explosion or fire-fights on the
street. Fast changes within the Iraqi society. Iraqi
politicians, clerics and Americans. University practices.
Random chats with taxi-drivers, in which the most
important tension is not to make yourself known,
or give a clear opinion, but occasionally a real
discussion in a taxi does take place. Changing conditions
for women. Religion. Fears and angers. Some young
kids post pictures of cats. The behavior of children,
or how parents can (not) protect their children.
Tribal communities trying to organize on local levels.
Media. The sandstorms. Or about humor, one of the
bloggers recently told me this: "We are becoming
more serious. Getting more gloomy and moody because
of our unknown future. We joke but it's not as sincere
as before. Jokes come out everyday. You should read
'Shalash al Iraqi'. You'll never find such black
humor anywhere in the world though I doubt if you
can understand it, even though it is translated.
It contains heavy Iraqi slang."
GL: What do you make of the fact that more and
more Iraqis are blogging from outside of the country?
So many Iraqis live in exile, and have been for
so long. Blogging and Diaspora communities seem
to almost operate in tandem.
CL: More and more Iraqis are trying to leave, or
have already left the country after the post-invasion
rid-of-the-dictator enthusiasm has faded away. Exilees
went back to Iraq, to visit family and friends,
to be involved in poetry festivals, or making theatre
festivals for and with children in Iraq. But a lot
of them are returning less and less to their former
home-country. It is very dangerous and there's not
so much reason for optimism. The country could be
closing again, but now in war, religion, and sectarianism.
"We don't want a racist government", I
just heard in a chat, while right now in Baghdad
big demonstrations are being organised going on
by (secular) Sunni and Shia together, driven by
anger over the elections, and fears for a new isolated
and repressed society. Lately I get the impression
that the Iraqi diaspora is silencing. Now, this
is an observation from Amsterdam, maybe there are
places where Iraqis in the Diaspora manage to stay
involved with developments in Iraq. But the machineries
of war are so big, that also from the outside people
are becoming more pessimistic. Bloggers outside
Iraq are still active, like Raed Jarrar, who now
lives in the USA, or his mother from Amman. Even
taking the diaspora into account, comparing Iraqi
to other Arab blogospheres like the Jordanian, or
Lebanese, there are big differences. What is also
notable is that other Arabic blogospheres sort of
'stay out' of the Iraqi one. From what I see these
spheres don't really mix, or connect very well.
GL: You're not reading or speaking Arabic. How
do you, and others, deal with that?
CL: One cross-checks by reading multiple sources
and by asking different Iraqis their opinions and
explanations of what is being written in Iraqi /
Arabic media. I inform myself by using all my possible
sources, and all the possible means I am aware of;
Iraqis in and outside Iraq are close to me, here
in The Netherlands. I ask them, until they get bored,
to explain to me what I don't understand. I rarely
shut up. I get stuff translated, in chats, when
I ask for it. Iraqi slang used in black humor stories
is difficult to translate, but sometimes it is done
for me, and it is the best back entrance to get
an insight into a culture.
GL: Do you encounter fundamental islamists or traditional
religious groups online and how do you deal with
CL: In the Iraqi blogosphere I haven't encountered
any fundamentalist approaches. On the contrary,
perhaps with the exception of hidden comments in
a few blog comment sections, where sometimes you
can find comments of about a meter in length with
texts from the Koran, but most of the time these
are ignored. Most of the bloggers are secular or
gently religious, mainly Islam-oriented, but there
are also Assyrian-Christians. The closer you look,
the smaller divisions you can see inside Islam.
The tribal structures become more significant. Sometimes
I do get mixed up in discussions (during chat sessions)
about religion, even though I promised myself not
to do so. They end up in declarations about what
specific prophets said and what they meant. I am
not religious, and never have been. I grumble about
old dusty ideas of existentialism, and 'do-it-yourself'
practices and that religion, like politics is all
about 'power-systems', with in most cases men on
top. To me, as a woman, seeing the results, religion
doesn't make sense. During such discussions I take
the freedom to voice my opinion just like I am 'normally'
used to doing. But in order to 'be equal' it is
necessary to be aware of the different histories,
actualities, and cultural diversities; the world
certainly is not that flat. It is complex and bumpy.
I consider myself fairly ignorant regarding matters
of 'religion', and also Arabic cultures. Because
of that I consider it very crucial to listen very
carefully to what is really said, and to try to
ask the right questions. Religion is some sort of
magic, so (my) 'rationality' probably isn’t
suitable to provide a better interpretation. Another
aspect is that there are more Sunni's blogging than
Shia. Together with some Iraqi bloggers I'm trying
to find out why, because we are searching for more
Shia people that are blogging, or want to get involved.
GL: A previous aspect of Streamtime dealt with
web radio and poetry. Another is the promotion of
free software. What responses have you heard from
Iraqi bloggers about such ideas and activities?
CL: The Iraqi poets, and journalists we became
friends with in the Netherlands invite us when they
organize or are involved in a cultural event, and
there is always the option to stream what they do.
When we streamed Iraqi poetry from Amsterdam 'to
Iraq' in October 2004, the poets and listeners were
emotional, and it was a great success. We also streamed
as well from Amsterdam in January 2005 when the
first Iraqi elections took place. We transmitted
telephone conversations we had with people in Baghdad
and other places in Iraq, plus with Iraqis in the
Diaspora, this was all transmitted. And indeed,
we stream with the Dyne:bolic software (FLOSS) and
we try to promote that. We are in dire shortage
of funding, otherwise we would probably have done
workshops in Jordan or elsewhere in the region.
Ideas on workshops with the bloggers and the ideas
and options to stream from Iraq meet with enthusiasm
with from the bloggers; there are some small developments
from this point of view. There is a great IraqiLinuxGroup.
Very active, intelligent, open minds, they just
go on through all the war, and we have very good
contacts with them. ILUG people are in Baghdad and
abroad. They are very committed to the promotion
of Free Open Source Software. I try to stimulate
that IraqiLinux and bloggers will seek to cooperate
together. And there is of course the fact that in
war time many things are 'not available' but in
all the chaos what is there could be considered
'open source'. People use and copy everything they
can get their hands on. We have to bear in mind
that the Web, free software and similar developments
are young in Iraq.
GL: In December 2005 you attended a meeting of
the Global Voices project in London. Global Voice
is a ‘meta blog’ that monitors so-called
‘bridge blogs’, “people who are
talking about their country or region to a global
audience.” How do you judge such US initiative?
Like Streamtime they also support bloggers. What's
the difference compared to your approach? Is it
important that you are continental European? Can
you explain us the subtle differences how professional
journalism, activism and blogging operate on both
sides of the Atlantic.
CL: I am glad an initiative like Global Voices
(GV) exists and am fascinated by it. But I can't
grasp to my satisfaction the nature of GV. I can’t
see in which direction it wants to develop, if it
has got a direction at all. "Who will finance
Global Voices over time?" Iranian blogger Hoder
asked during the London conference, while I was
asking myself whether GV is about blogging the blogs
and quantities of blog writing, or is there more—content—to
it? It didn't seem appropriate to pose such questions.
GV is an experiment, like Streamtime, but on a grander
scale. GV gives a ‘massive’ impression.
And in a way the description I just heard of a glaze
layer over GV seems to fit. The question is whether
this will grow into a serious network, able and
willing to challenge, in practical ways, issues,
like for example the 'digital divide'? Could an
initiative like GV transform into a cheaper way
for big media corporations to collect information?
Is it the fate of blogs to provide big media with
free content? Will blogs become mainstream itself?
Will information 'flatten' instead of being given
more 'relievo' or inside depth? What will happen
with Reuters' wish: "We want to work more with
the bloggers." And how can GV find ways to
discuss such issues in a serious manner with the
associated relevant bloggers?
I told myself several times that I shouldn't let
myself - because of the form - distract from content
at the GV summit, but the way co-founders Ethan
Zuckermann and Rebecca MacKinnon led the summit
was done in a tight format, in such a way that I
felt it would perhaps be intimidating for some.
From my European eyes it seemed pretty American.
It got to on my nerves when Microsoft-blogger Richard
Scoble was introduced. Just walked in for the moment
that he would talk about himself and the company
he works for. So I really wondered whether he had
come to listen as well? Was he really interested
in what anyone else there had to say's around? Why
did he turn up? He is on the Microsoft pay-roll,
and therefore perhaps he was the only paid blogger
at the conference. Zuckermann and MacKinnon admit
that it's a problem that big companies control too
much of the Web-practices, but I felt a bit of cold
breeze when I raised my questione to Scoble on “corporate
fantasies” and whether Microsoft wasn’t
more about blocking the Internet than blogging the
Internet. Luckily, I saw Iranian blogger Hoder smile
from ear to ear, which eased my nerves.
Instead of connecting blogging dots from all over
the world,. Streamtime zooms in at Iraq. Of course
'Iraq' more or less involves the whole world, but
Streamtime focuses on getting access to people's
information that we don't know or hear about that
easily. This is mainly done through direct contacts.
Making direct contacts in the Iraqi context is not
an easy thing to do. It takes time and a lot of
attention to get through, to gain trust. And 'trust'
in the Iraqi context is a very precious good. Our
information is not only gathered from existing (Iraqi)
blogs; the information is actively, and journalistically
searched out, collated, and verified with various
Iraqi people in Iraq and among its Diaspora, backed
up with stories of journalists like Seymour Hersh
and Patrick Cockburn.
Especially the ‘low-to-no-literacy’
and ‘multi-linguality’ are essential
for Streamtime. The flow of Streamtime is determined
by shared needs, skills, knowledge and experiences
of all involved. The design is guided by openness,
free publishing (copy left), easy access, low-to-no
literacy and multi-linguality. Free software is
preferred and its use is stimulated. The Web is
a powerful and accessible structure, but web content
remains fragmented. Streamtime aims to research,
indicate, point to and excavate the amazing stories
of people that, against all odds, are building a
new Iraq. We want to help break the media barriers,
provide people with the tools and knowledge to build
their own radio broadcast stations, make programs
and exchange content.
GL: Apart from Streamtime you're involved in an
international network of investigative journalism.
What do you work on besides Iraq? Can you imagine
one day integrating blogging and journalism and
making a living from it? The economics of blogging
is very high on the agenda of the A-lists bloggers.
They all seem to be millionaires, or what? Blogging
is more and more becoming a fulltime activity for
some, but how they will make a living remains a
CL: I worked, and still work, on Italian issues.
A number of years ago I was a newspaper correspondent
in Italy for Dutch media. I have also worked for
Italian media. Recently I wrote a report about the
state of investigative journalism in Italy. The
study was presented at a recent event, here in Amsterdam
where over 450 participants from 30 countries participated
in the “third Global Investigative Journalism
Conference.” For ages I have had a special
interest in media restrictions, economies and its
political dimensions. In Italy this is a big issue
(one you won't find on TV). The influence of American
media corporations throughout the Western Hemisphere
is huge. Its commercial significance is similar.
This also counts for applies to the Web. Concerning
to blogs, I am looking into possibilities of setting
-up a similar-to-Streamtime-but-different project
for Zimbabwe. We know that Zimbabwe bought a web
filter system from China, in which Google, Yahoo
and Cisco are involved. While researching Zimbabwe
I accidentally got involved in a Darfur blog--invented
only a week ago, and already mentioned in the Washington
Old-fashioned newspaper journalism is still where
my heart is, even though I like the mix of old and
new media. I still follow the developments in the
Italian G-8 court case. During the 2001 G8 summit
in Genoa anti-globalists were beaten up ‘Chilean
style’. One demonstrator died, the police
violence was brutal. I monitor what happens in the
turbulent, but oh so quiet Netherlands, but it is
difficult to find publishers for my findings. Mainstream
media is running after its own tail. The other day
a colleague, working at Dutch national public radio
told me about an experience with his editor: He
had researched and gathered some fine facts to scoop
with. The answer he got from his editor was that
no-one had come up with this information yet. So
my colleague responded him: “Indeed, isn’t
that what News is all about?!" Recently, after
proposing an article to a national newspaper I was
told: “We don't have a freelancers budget.”
Later that day they phoned me, and asked to interview
me on the subject I had brought up earlier in the
day. I agreed to be interviewed for PR reasons.
I can't imagine making money from all of the work
I do and do not have the slightest clue how bloggers
will make money out of their activities, even despite
the fact that I did hear stories of extravagant
wedding parties being paid from the revenues of
Cecile Landman’s blog: http://xer-files.blogspot.com
Streamtime campaign: http://www.streamtime.org
Dyne:bolic software: http://www.dynebolic.org
Iraq Blog Count: http://iraqblogcount.blogspot.com
Global Voices: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/globalvoices
Global Voices London event:
VVOJ (Dutch-Flemish organization for Investigative