I’m a pretty cynical guy, so it’s damn hard to get me excited about some pie-in-the-sky scheme to save the world. But Independent World Television News has got me excited. So excited, that I’ve actually put my money where my mouth is.
So if you believe that a free and democratic society cannot survive without a free and independent media, then I want you to go to the IWT News website, watch their introductory video, and make a tax deductible contribution. That’s what I did… and anybody who knows me, knows that I don’t part with my cash easily.
IWT News is a visionary effort to create the world’s first global independent news network, without funding from governments, corporations or commercial advertising. Taking advantage of a convergence of technological and social developments, this innovative, not-for-profit broadcast service is using the web to both organize, and raise the money needed to finance its programming, initially $25 million for its inaugural 2007 season. Distribution will be via satellite, cable and of course, the Internet, which over the coming decades will likely become a major television distribution medium, potentially breaking the content stranglehold of the broadcast monopolies.
Sound ambitious? Absolutely, but this is no fly-by-night fantasy of a handful of dewy-eyed progressive dreamers. IWT News is already raising its $7 million start-up budget from individual donors and foundations, including such heavyweights as the MacArthur, Ford and Phoebe Haas Trust foundations, as well as the Canadian Auto Workers Union. And it’s founding committee reads like a who’s who of luminaries, including Jeff Cohen, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Lewis Lapham, Robert McChesney, Gore Vidal, Howard Zinn and many others.
Now I know that some of my righty readers are going to whine: “liberal media, blah, blah, blah”… “you already control the press, blah, blah, blah.” And to that sort of commentary I would just like to to calmly and succinctly reply: “Fuck you.”
If IWT News gets off the ground and on the air, it will be because hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens from around the world — possibly millions — believe so passionately in the need for a truly independent television news service, that they are willing to put their hard-earned cash into the dream. So if you on the right really believe there’s a need for a biased, right-wing propaganda network to “balance” things out, then go and create one. Oh wait, you already did… Fox News… only rather than going through the hassle and expense of a grassroots fundraising campaign, you just dipped into Rupert Murdoch’s deep pockets.
The indisputable fact is that broadcast television is controlled by a handful of media giants, and its content is dictated by the needs and whims of its corporate owners. In the US, only PBS has any sort of independence, and now the Republican hegemonists are in the process of taking over that too. Now more than ever we need a news network unbeholden to the powers that be. Our democracy and freedom depend on it.
So please, check out IWT News, and if you can at all afford it, make your contribution today.