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Open Letter To World Social Forum Organizers And The Alternative Media Community

Sao Paulo, November 30 2002

We are greatly amazed by a message we received by the organizers of the the third World Social Forum outlining the criteria for press accreditation and access to the press room during the upcoming event.

The message states that alternative media organizations will receive a different accreditation than that granted to financial and corporate media. This differential accreditation will not allow alternative media organizations to access the press room which has all the needed resources to cover the event, such as access to the internet and an infrastructure for audio and video coverage.

The message sent by the WSF organizers states the following: " We will provide an alternative accreditation to communication professionals who are not journalists or that do not have the proper documentation (i.e.journalism students, professionals working for newsletters and communityt media outlets, independent documentary makers and professional freelance photographers). This alternative accreditation will grant access to panel discussions and press conferences but will not grant access the press support infrastrcture (press room). Access to this room will only be granted to people who present concrete projects for covering the WSF 2003."

We think it is nonsenssical for the World Social Forum to subsid corporate press with vast resources, and at the same time prevent the an alternative press with known scarce resources to access and use the press room. This decision is an absurdity that contradicts the values supposedly upheld by the World Social Forum. If the press room is to small or without enough equipment to support everybody, the only reasonable course of action is to also subsidize alternative and community media. This is especially fitting because alternative and community media struggle for media democracy and against the virtual monopoly of the 4 or 5 companies that undermine democracy in this country

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