[FoME] Introducing Press Start: Crowdsourcing for Media in Repressive Environments
Sofie.Jannusch at CAMECO.ORG
Do Nov 26 15:52:15 CET 2015
Introducing Press Start: Crowdsourcing for Media in Repressive
By Jeremy Druker
Do you live in a country where the media are not beholden to political
or business interests? Where journalists are free to write they want,
without fear of fines, beatings, imprisonment, or worse?
If so, consider yourself one of a privileged few – a mere 14 percent of
the world’s population, according to Freedom House
Today, the vast majority – more than six billion people – live in
countries where journalists risk their careers, and sometimes lives, to
report on governments, businesses, and other powers, exercising what is
a democratic right in other nations.
But there are still those brave enough to do it anyway, despite the
threats. They deserve our attention and support – especially as
authoritarian states and movements grow bolder in the world and are ever
more ready to clamp down on those who would hold them to account.
The free flow of information has never been more vital, but crippling
political and financial pressures mean independent media struggle to
survive, to produce quality journalism, or even to pay their reporters –
no matter how talented and courageous they are.
In response, we have introduced Press Start, the first global
crowdfunding platform specifically created to fill that gap. This is a
project designed to create a new and revolutionary way to fund
independent journalism in societies that are not free and emerging
democracies. The site will connect journalists seeking to report the
stories important to their communities with people around the world who
believe in a free press and appreciate its importance to democracy.
Past experiments in crowdfunding journalism have usually limited their
ambitions to raising funds for a single project. But Press Start will
raise funds for a series of articles spread over several months,
offering some stability and a lifeline for reporters working under
difficult circumstances to practice the watchdog journalism so necessary
for democratic development.
We have received initial support from the National Endowment for
Democracy to develop the prototype, but we have also recently launched a
campaign to raise funds to operate the site and to assist our first
profiled journalists in reaching their funding goals.
You’ll find all the details on our Kickstarter page and can sign up for
updates on our splash page, pressstart.org, Please also follow us on
( https://www.facebook.com/pressstartorg) and Twitter.
Now is the time for transformative initiatives. Without reporters
serving as watchdogs, corruption and bad governance will flourish, anger
will build among disgruntled and disenfranchised citizens and fragile
states will continue to deteriorate, with unforeseen consequences for
the rest of the world.
Jeremy Druker is the founder of Press Start, and the executive director
of Transitions (TOL)
( http://www.tol.org/) , one of Central Europe’s leading journalism
trainers. The organization also operates a popular news site on the
post-communist region, Transitions Online
( http://www.tol.org/) , which was a founding member of the Guardian’s
New East Network
( http://www.theguardian.com/world/series/new-east-network) .
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