2011-11-06 Needed now: A News Commons

ImageThe privileged position held by the media in most democracies exists for one reason; in order to govern themselves, people need access to accurate and timely information on all topics relevant to their governance.

Once that information has been distributed, it is not sufficient for the citizens to passively absorb it as a means of entertainment, or even education. In order for self governance to occur, that information must be acted upon to correct flaws in governance.

We at WL Central have had a goal throughout this year of media scandal and indifference, where the most reputable mainstream outlets in the world have been shown to fall far short of the justly elevated position of media in a democracy. The WLC slogan is News, Analysis and Action, and the name was meant quite literally, as wiki ... leaks ... central. In other words, we wanted a place for a collaborative effort, but a very dynamic, Twitter speed effort, to handle all important information and news (the news we require in order to govern ourselves). We would then take that information, analyze it against what we already know, match that to relevant law etc., and create action to stop corruption. A combination of a new form of crowdsourced news platform and a new forum for citizen government.

Our dream is far bigger than our reality. A News Commons, owned and operated and answering to the people, serving a global audience, requires mass participation and a structure that would enable that. Our hope for the future is as follows:

News should have world updates in real time so someone could click on a topic and get a current world update on the important news, fact checked and sourced. Alternatively, news could be shown by region. What is needed is a source of heavily referenced and reviewed reliable news from reliable sources, strict guidelines, fact checking by others and editing for bias, no first person and no opinions. Editing and mentoring is required, administrators for different regions and topics.

Analysis needs an interactive method to tie everything together and crosslink stories and information. It should act as a resource to find all relevant information on people, corporations and news stories.

Action needs calendars, maps etc., always updated. We currently support action that supports Transparency, Democracy and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We support no group which acts against these principles. We suggest this as a guideline in the future as well. Action is also a place to bring lawsuits, draft parliamentary bills, etc. It is our hope that readers, once informed by all of the information available, will act to initiate appropriate corrective action for any corruption found. The News Commons will include the relevant legal authorities, the news and the background material to aid in finding areas requiring corrective action, and we will provide a forum for protests, petitions, legal action and more, based on those findings.

Communication forums are necessary for all sections.

What is required:

To create this dream, an Internet Commons of news, would require a huge collaborative effort. We need coders and website designers, editors, fact checkers, people to delete spam and update calendars, photographers, designers, technicians, and much more. We also need many, many more writers and editors from all over the world. This time we also need donations as we don't seem able to get all of this done in addition to our other activism and day jobs and there are not enough volunteers willing to work for free as we have for the last year. This project may have the new name, The People's Intelligence peopleintel.com We would need a new logo for this name.

While website designers and coders are the most urgent need, new writers are welcome to contribute during transition by submitting their articles to admin@wlcentral.org as always. Volunteers to run sections on specific topics or for certain geographical regions are also welcome now. Please contact admin@wlcentral.org or come to the working pad here to discuss further.

Bella Magnani's recent article

is an excellent example of what a functioning news commons could achieve. She points out the absence of any significant chromosomal dna on the condom Ms A submitted as evidence. Photo of said item can be seen here
In fact, it seems that Ms A only submitted condom and her complaint when it became clear that the complaint registered by Ms W would not be sufficient for the police to proceed with a charge.

What Ms Magnani does not explore is the fact that Julian Assange, his legal team or his supporters could have got this issue into the media at any point by the simple expedient of mentioning it in one of their numerous media appearances and interviews.

There many reasons why they might be unwilling to do this, perhaps the most wildest explanation is the whole saga is nothing more than a soap opera for public consumption with all participants cooperating to a varying extent.

Anyway, it is only with the existence of a vibrant news commons that these issues can be explored.

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