Indymedia turns 10

Reclaim the Media:

On Nov 24, 1999--days before the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organization--Matthew Arnison and Mansour Jacobi posted the first message to the brand-new Indymedia.org, launching a creative grassroots media project that would grow into an international movement. Arnison, an activist programmer with the Sydney-based group Community Activist Technology, had helped develop a software platform called Active, which allowed a community of reader-contributors to post articles and calendar items to a central website without centralized coordination.

Based on free/open-source software, Arnison called the system "open publishing," and it formed the backbone of the Indymedia site set up for the Seattle WTO. Arnison and Jacobi, then working with the Colorado-based Free Speech TV, were just two among a large international network of radical grassroots media activists who collaborated to found the Independent Media Center in Seattle. In turn, Indymedia organizing was one part of the huge and multi-sector effort which flooded the streets of downtown Seattle that week, shutting down the WTO meetings and voicing powerful, passionate critiques of the WTO's model of economic globalization.

Indymedia's web coverage of the WTO combined immediate coverage of the protests with well-researched background information on economic and environmental justice issues, in several respects far outstripping coverage being produced by national and local commercial media. Indymedia activist journalists also produced a daily print publication during the week of the WTO. Here is the initial Indymedia post that started it all:

welcome to indymedia

author: maffew and manse
Nov 24, 1999 18:45

The resistance is global... a trans-pacific collaboration has brought this web site into existence.

The web dramatically alters the balance between multinational and activist media. With just a bit of coding and some cheap equipment, we can setup a live automated website that rivals the corporates. Prepare to be swamped by the tide of activist media makers on the ground in Seattle and around the world, telling the real story behind the World Trade Agreement.

article originally published at Reclaim the Media.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey