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OMNI Provides Forum for Emerging Nations
Its fast growth a good influence on established media
Antonio Carlos Rix (carlosrix)     Print Article 
Published 2007-03-18 16:26 (KST)   
In his Feb. 22, 2007, article, "OhmyNews Celebrates Seven Years of Citizen Journalism," OMNI Senior Editor Todd Thacker spoke of the growth and success of this enterprise. For me, OMNI represents the matchless, ever-reliable opportunity for the world's underreported communities to have their voice heard, which is a main contributor to its successful career.

To be sure, freedom of speech is priceless, one of the most basic of human rights, and the traditional, printed media know this very well. Journalists worldwide are fighting and dying for this truth every day. Yet, OMNI takes this a step further by providing a forum directly to the lay individual. As an example, for more than 20 years Brazil was ruled by a military regime, exercising strict surveillance over the press and all other media, effectively stifling the people. So we know what a prize such a forum is.

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I always welcome opinions submitted by friends, not just from here in Brazil but also from the U.S. and the EU. The extra pin money is nice, but the media can't be thought of merely in material terms. Citizen journalism is not the only progressive development that I've been following to have cropped up here. Many major newspapers in Brazil have opened their columns to citizen journalists).

Not long ago OMNI Assistant Editor Ms. Claire George asked me three things:

  • 쏡o you think it's important for the people of developing countries to make their voices heard in the wealthier parts of the world?
  • 쏡oes the media in the developed world do enough to tell the stories of the developing world?
  • 쏻hat can citizen journalists do to improve communication between the developed world and the developing world?

    The answers I gave were "yes, no, and a lot!"

    I would like to invite other citizen journalists to comment on these points.

    For me, only citizen journalism can enable the people of emerging nations to make their diverse voices heard by the more privileged directly from the people themselves, providing a more authentic, composite picture of reality, one that can be checked against established sources.

    The media in the developed world do not do enough to tell the stories of the developing world, concentrating on what sells -- gossip, sensationalism and stereotyping. You will hardly ever see anything featured like Not All Brazilians Like Carnival, either on CNN, or by the BBC or the Times of London. I write this, annoyed by the strength of the stereotype conveyed by the likes of the late Peter Jennings, who cannot possibly have known. Well, he didn't, since it takes a Brazilian.

    My answer to Ms. George's third question is: let's first keep writing and add to OMNI셲 credibility as a recognized source, and let's invite Americans and Europeans to contribute. We in the developing countries have to be open to reading and understanding them, too.

    Let me say now that writing for OMNI has been a rewarding experience, fun, important and enlightening in general. I've written about my friends, trips, adventures, disappointments and opinions. Checking how many have given me their attention, I discovered that one of my articles had been read by more them 3,000 people -- isn't that really remarkable?

    Now it's your turn, ok? So let's hear from you, too!

    Thank you, OMNI!
  • ©2007 OhmyNews
    Other articles by reporter Antonio Carlos Rix

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