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Forum Alternative Channel: An international success

The Forum Alternative Channel: Social Networks and Responsible Media made the conference to an international success, creating a good initial point for the second conference in New York next November.

More than 300 persons of NGO’s, companies, journalists or participants attended at the First Edition of the Forum Alternative Channel. Among others, Marc Tessier, former president of France Television, Representatives of doctors without borders, the Federal State Government, Amnesty International, Accio Natura, the Observatory of Human Rights y el Sida, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Tibetan Centre of Barcelona, Cart’Com, TV3, ADN, The Ecologist, France 24 and finally Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Patron of the event.
The meeting had an international distribution based on the premise of the organizers, that if you can’t come to the Forum Alternative Channel, the Forum will come to you.
So the multitudinous range of excellent conferences, workshops and speaker’s corners had been available for the participants of Barcelona as well as for the entire world, broadcasting the Forum via Internet live including all conferences in three languages (English, Spanish and French).


Paul Allard, founder and vicepresident of the Alternative Media Initiative, initially bearded testimony to Kenyana Wangari Muta Maathal, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2004, showing the Video “The roots of change”. Josuè Sallent, general director of the Information Society of the Federal Government of Catalunya, joined the opening ceplanogeneralforumremony as a special guest, to point out the importance of the Forum as a meeting point of the information society and the third sector and to demonstrate the initiatives and possibilities through the web 2.0. Finally Hugues Cochard, co-founder, president and general director of the Alternative Channel, presented the characteristics and functions of a video platform with qualitative contents about environmental issues and sustainable development.

In the seminar “The Participation Society: Limits and opportunities of internet journalists”, Margarita Riviere, journalist and Thierry Maillet, author of Generation Participation had an discussion about the participation of society and the role of the NGO’s in the new scenery of the communication media. Analyzing the actual media scenery, Maillet pointed out that nowadays in which democracies are extending, people again want another thing: participate. And “this participation especially takes part in new technologies, like the Internet”. There’s a “democratization of the access and the production of information”.

In the seminar about “Risks and Responsibilities of the communication in a conflict situation” different members of the cabinet took part: Doctors without borders and the Red Cross. Jaume Codina from doctors without borders in Barcelona, commented that “the wars nowadays had been changed in big spectacles in which the horror is the distinguishing mark. So the world only sees the consequences of the wars, but they are ignoring the reasons.” Cheikh Mbaye, also from doctors without borders presented a video platform, doctors without boarders created to show the issues the normal media doesn’t broadcast. In the name of the International Red Cross Virgine Louis and Oscar Velasco pointed out the importance of the role of the language in the media to display the point of view of the organisation. In the words of Louis, “in a conflict the moment of the media coverage is very important to monitor the desired content of the upcoming messages.”
  • Social reds and the role of the web 2.0 as a tool of the planet movement
In this debate Amy Weesner, responsible of the TIC department of the general secretary of the UN, presented the role of new technologies and especially the web 2.0 within the United Nations. Through videos, which are available in the red of the organization, during some interventions of the members of the United Nations concerning different topics, people can assist and participate in an interactive way. Being part of the same group, Johan Farid Khairuddin, representative of ASTRO All Asia Networks plc, explained his experiences in his occupation as a multimedia operator, specialised in the creation, aggregation and distribution of content on various multimedia platforms. Farid coordinates together with correspondents in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia the development of the international programme “youth-in-media”. “Astro all Asia Networks plc” focuses on projects to integrate young people from different countries in Asia to participate via Internet in various discussions concerning actual themes. “It’s not desirable that the young people just sit in front of their television, without having the opportunity to interact or participate”. Asia is a saturated market. Many young people use the internet, there is a big potential but we have to bring some new ideas to the youth to improve our society.”

Kevin Darling, online editor at Amnesty International in London, presented “Reach Out for Kenya” action, running on Facebook. At the end of debate Jordi Duran i Batidor, the founder and CTO of, emphasized that more and more youth use internet during their free time, helping, as a volunteers, various organizations to promote alternative media. In his opinion we need to promote communication between organizations to join efforts and to share resources and ideas. Promoting new technologies as a useful and positive tool has to be our fundamental duty, "because new technologies are only a tool and it is how we use them that makes them good".
RigobertaMenchuConferenciaprensa"Technology is a Sacred Heritage of the Humanity and we all must be its beneficiaries".   

The first speaker, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, expressed her gratitude to Alternative Channel and Forum´s organizers and praised their initiative to make the access to new technologies easier for people. She appealed to participants to be conscious this mission: "Nowadays nobody can control technology and internet. It’s amazing putting these tools at people’s disposal. It’s a beautiful mission and I have to commend it. Technology is a Sacred Heritage of the Humanity and we all must be its beneficiaries”, she concluded.

From Barcelona to North America

After success in Barcelona, Alternative Channel announced that next edition of Forum will take place in North America. With the same conception, but more expanded and extended in time (to two days), internationally as well as this time, and with the promise to keep the high level of discussion.
With more than 50 speakers, 8 conferences, 12 workshops and 6 speaker's corners Forum Alternative Channel was rich in exchange of ideas and informations, in colaboration, and wishes. Wishes to give an access to technologies to people and to make them capable of getting benefits, wishes to cummunicate in other ways, wishes to change mentality and behaviours, wishes to continue dialogue and to act collectively. As Menchú Tum said: "Technologies offer us freedom and there is nothing more valuable than people´s freedom", and these words were like a summary of Alternative Channel's spirit.

For speaker´s résumés click here.
Download press clippings from here.

Translation by Erika Olavarria wittwer
on 08/05/2008
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