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The working draft

I've posted a draft of the Global Voices Mission Statement/Manifesto to Hossein's wiki. (We're trying to get a mediawiki up at Berkman so we can stop abusing Hossein's server, but a recent virus outbreak has put Berkman tech folks a bit behind…) Alex and I drafted the statement on Sunday, and Joi, Rebecca and Jim Moore have chipped in comments and substantial changes.

At this point, we're looking for constructive input as well as feedback on whether people would be willing to sign onto such a manifesto. Debates about wording are probably more helpful at this point than debates about the general purpose of the document. I recognize that the document is going to be too vague for some, but I'd ask that people understand that we're looking for a broad, general document that reflects the breadth of the people involved with the movement while allowing each of us to pursue our own interests.

The text I posted follows below – given the nature of wiki, this may resemble the current version on the wiki quite closely, or not at all… :-)

By the way, is this a manifesto, or a mission statement? Is Joi still working to turn Saturday's IRC discussion into a manifesto? Is that connected to, or independent from this document?

Posted to http://www.hoder.com/wiki/index.php/Global_Voices_Draft_Manifesto, 18:15 EDT:

We believe in free speech, both in protecting the right to speak and extending access to the tools of speech. The right of free speech has always extended primarily to those who owned a press. It is now possible for everyone to own a press, and it is our goal that everyone who wants speak can be heard.

We believe in the power of direct connection. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful.

We seek to create bridges that cross the gulfs that have traditionally divided us. When we cross these gulfs, we understand each other more fully, work together more effectively, and act more powerfully. With these bridges, we can do together what we could only dream of alone.

Direct connection is its own reward. In a world full of challenges, it is also the best path to building a future that is freer, fairer, more sustainable and more prosperous.

While we're all committed to our own work, we also recognize our common interest and goals. We each speak for ourselves, but we're all in this together. We pledge to respect, listen to, assist, and learn from one other. We are Global Voices.

4 comments

  • Ethan, I revised your version in the edit section of the wiki. Here’s my suggested revision:

    We believe in free speech, both in protecting the right to speak and extending access to the tools of speech. We define speech broadly to include many media that facilitate expression.

    The broadest right of free speech has always extended primarily to those who owned technology for publishing and distribution, beginning with the printing press. It is now possible for anyone to publish and have access to a distribution channel via the Internet. It is our goal that everyone who wants to speak can be heard.

    We believe in the power of direct connection and the freedom to connect. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful.

    We seek to create bridges that cross the gulfs that have traditionally divided us. When we cross these gulfs, we understand each other more fully, work together more effectively, and act more powerfully. With these bridges, we can do together what we could only dream of doing alone.

    Direct connection is its own reward. However, in a world full of challenges, it is also the best path to building a future that is freer, fairer, more sustainable and more prosperous.

    While we’re all committed to our own work as individuals, we also recognize our common interest and goals. We each speak for ourselves, but we’re all in this together. We pledge to respect, listen to, assist, and learn from one other. We are Global Voices.

    Re. the nature of this piece, perhaps it’s an intro to a manifesto based on the revised chat transcript…?

  • OK, so I missed the broader target and thought Global Voices had a narrower objective around WSIS. The Media Center would certainly commit to the tennets of this manifesto. The Global Voices movement itself, if indeed it becomes a movement, could be of great significance if it somehow raises the visibility of free speech among ordinary people. Given the diversity of those involved, and the Internet drawing them together, a movement that taps into the viral capacity of the Net community could be powerful.

    On the other hand – the manifesto is so broad that it doesn’t reflect the distributed, global, digital empowerment I’m reading into it. Global Voices might be one among many established groups around the world dedicated to and engaged in work driven by similar principles, such as Article 19, Freedom House, the World Association of Newspapers, the International Freedom Exchange (IFEX), the International Press Institute and others.

    So, being an outsider who missed the vibe of the conference but shares a belief in the opportunity that seems to have been implied – I’m looking for a manifesto with a bit more meaning, something that more specifically reflects the opportunity that has drawn the creators together.

    I wasn’t there, so I feel “out of it” – but here’s a concept I’d incorporate:

    The networked society has an unprecedented capacity to connect and express itself, and this capacity overturns past institutional controls on access to information and the tools to create and distribute it. The institutions most threatened by empowered individuals may be tempted to seek new forms of control, new means of repressing, censoring or limiting expression. We stand opposed to such efforts, and in support of the right of indiviudals to express themselves.

  • Yeah… trying to figure out what to do with that IRC session. It’s more like a chat really…

  • Anonymous

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