Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

From 'GO ON' to Heritageradio by Hatto Fischer





 A simple reflection of the development of the audiences via Internet

Juan Behrend – General Secretary of the Greens – asked me when I was in 1999-2000 advisor of the Greens to the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, Youth and Sports of the European Parliament, if I could not look into the possibility of an Internet Radio to further the European debate. He explained at one conference in Italy he experienced how it was possible to extend the concept of the audience in real time via the Internet. So besides the 400 who were present in the hall, many more thousands could participate in the debate. They could do so by sending their questions and comments to a moderator at the conference and who could then read out these questions. This is by the way already a standard procedure at world radio networks like the BBC.

His request resulted in two major actions: first, I prepared a study for the GREENS in the European Parliament about whether an Internet Radio could facilitate in future the European debate; and secondly, I set up in Brussels a group of people willing to organize themselves in a way that would allow the creation of an Internet Radio at European level. While the study was completed in 2001, the second took on the name of GO ON.

As prime concept an Internet Radio is a web-based communication platform with various dispositions, the most important thereof being the ability to encourage people to go on, that is not to give up so easily when they inquire about certain things. Most importantly, it was felt that despite of all the information out there any modern media must contribute to the validation of such information before considering it to become ‘knowledge’ upon which actions could be taken and definite policy measures applied.

The difference between information and knowledge is crucial. While information comes in many forms, knowledge as we know from university and academies is brought about through a long and varied process of evaluation and validation. To know in advance the impact of certain actions is part of not merely political responsibility upon what knowledge we act upon, but requires the ability to anticipate in order to judge what has negative, what positive consequences. After all we should learn to avoid the bad consequences while enhancing only such actions with positive results.

Anticipation can directly be linked to philosophy of life resting upon good friends who are capable to telling in advance the consequences of one’s own actions. Aristotle defined as good friends who can foresee consequences even if they materialize themselves perhaps only two hundred years later. Unfortunately rarely are the voices of reason listened to before it is too late. The most famous example was the warning an unknown citizen spoke out in Ancient Greece when he cautioned the Athenians to enter a war with the Spartans for he anticipated both sides would loose and with it Western Civilization its cradle of democracy.

At personal level this thought of anticipation can be extended as a defining moment of honest love, namely not to let the other make a mistake before it is too late.

On the other hand we have with the recent Iraq war not only an example of false information about Saddam Hussein having supposedly weapons of mass destruction, but also it illustrates what negative consequences such false actions have. By now more than 50 000 innocent civilians have died as if ever armies can bring democracy to any region on this earth. Here needs to be reminded what Pericles said at the height of the Athenian democracy in Ancient Times: not armies are needed to protect Athens but active citizenship.

This then connects very well with what should be the aim of an Internet Radio fostering the European debate for that cannot be realized without active citizenship throughout Europe. Consequently the audiences created by using an Internet Radio requires the structuring of such a media by which participation and creativity are redefined as substantiation of public opinions upheld. For they need to be perceived and used as measures for official policy. Right now all European institutions are deprived of public opinions as official policies are formulated independently and without regard as to the consequences. This sad state of affairs cannot continue for governance of the whole of Europe is more serious than a mere bargaining and negotiating game behind closed doors. Interestingly enough Habermas cites in his book “Structural Changes of Public Openness” the fact that early on in the Renaissance the markets changed once bankers and those dealing with money withdrew behind closed doors so that people no longer could see what was going on. As expression of power Giotto painted an amazing description of the Church claiming Jesus as theirs by putting his cradle into the midst of the church while the people were kept outside and struck in their awe for the cross hanging from a thin wire but this detail was only to be seen from inside the church.

That kind of attrape is not merely a figurative speech. It showed itself in the EU Constitutional Treaty which was rejected by France and Holland insofar as it contained the curious formulation that all citizens would be equal in relation to the European institutions while their contents and functioning was determined independently from the people by the member states and hence by non elected state representatives. Joschka Fischer in his then famous but by now mostly forgotten Humboldt University speech went even a step further in the reform intention by declaring the European Parliament should become a place where the elite of the European elite would meet. Since that came from a Green minister it was all the more a deplorable exercise of catering to given power structures within Europe and without any true intention at democratic reform of all EU institutions who have that fault line right from the very beginning.

Yet we know contents and form go together as people must be as much respected on the outside as those in the inside will have to level with those on the outside all the time. Cornelius Castoriadis went only so far as demanding people should be reflective in their practice when corresponding with the decision makers. But Parliamentary democracy goes further than that and if any changes can be anticipated then in media based communications about what is going on inside in terms of how the European agenda has been set not inside but by the overall European debate. Here then some practical things have to be mentioned and examined.

We have the case of the revolt in Hungary against a prime minister lying about the state of the economy, in order to get elected. So it is interesting to note what one of HRN journalists wrote to all other editors, in order to explain the situation:

From: Gyarmathy Dóra [mailto:gyarmathy.dora@katradio.hu]
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 8:39 PM
To: anja.brachwitz@stud.uni-erfurt.de
Cc: hfischer@poieinkaiprattein.org; geheimrat@aol.com; "Brüggemeier, Jan Hendrik"; Vid.Mesaric@hrt.hr

Dear All,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your mails you sent about the situation in Hungary. I asked you because I was almost sure that the situation seemed to be totally different from abroad than here. For example I read in an article on cnn.com that the naivety of Hungarians was so strange that they went to the streets when a politician lies as all of them do the same.

OK, it can be naivety, but I do think that I don’t have to accept this situation if all politicians lie or not. More to say if this politician is the first politician in Hungary, if he is the prime minister of the country, so he represents me and with this lie he won the elections in April and he doesn’t want to say sorry, nothing. He is just playing with the people, a pathologic case.

To sum up, of course, not only this lie is in the background of the demonstrations. The political situation in Hungary is sharply separated into 2 sides and the right and left wing was torn during the last 2 election campaigns. I can add the huge difference between the right and left wing voters, youth and pensioners, intellectuals and workers etc. And we can’t forget about the other reason of the demonstrations: the economical situation which was lead the country into by this government in the last 4,5 years.

Those who are standing in front of the Parliament – since last Sunday – don’t want to live in a country where a government leads the country as they did in the old regime before 1989, causes economical crisis with its promises before the elections and lies in the morning, during the day and at night…

One more sentence: in the first days of demonstrations you could hear about violent actions and these criminals were identified with the demonstrators. This was not true. Some hundreds of football hooligans broke into the TV office and made fights on the streets. They weren’t and aren’t the same with the 15-30.000 demonstrators who are still on the Kossuth Square and hope that they can achieve something.

OK, that’s all from me for now, thanks again your mails!



It is clear that political theory implies we know by which not only rules, information and knowledge we live by but also who are our true friends and what is the purpose of our actions. Therefore information is an insight into what is going on while knowledge is the validated experience of mankind over time.

So what all this have to do with the creation of an audience? What if information is to be shared but not knowledge for much more based on intricate relationships and thereby as a measure of reality restricted to what Karl Popper with his method of falsification said about no one being able to transcend his or her subjectivity but as scientific community inter-subjectivity would be the base of all objectivity and therefore knowledge?

Certainly the philosopher Bart Verschaffel, who accompanied the process of our group wishing to create an Internet Radio with the aim to further the European debate said at least universities still function in a way that knowledge is brought about according to certain rules. Moreover, if this is to be extended to an Internet Radio, it would mean two factors should reinforce each other: being reliable and being known or vice versa being known for being reliable not on everything but on something very specific.

Technically and organisationally speaking, it has to mean people can go to that source of information and rely on it since based on the knowledge that whatever information has been, will be and is being passed on or published, has been checked and is validated. Journalists have a short way of saying they checked their sources. The report is not manipulative but factual and above all, there is a distinction between factual reporting and an editorial opinion.

Not arguments create the facts and facts do not necessarily support the arguments even if some want things to be bent in that certain and specific way. So if information is shared like passing on the news that two planes crashed into the Twin Towers on 9/11, the knowledge why it happened, how the whole thing unfolded and what shall be the consequences thereof goes that much deeper and as anyone can conclude out of what I have said already before beyond the mere image.

So good knowledge allows a judgment of the consequences, and this in anticipation of things still to come. If any typical BBC report can be taken as an example, it becomes most interesting once a journalist has completed reporting and the desk editor adds the question, but what do you think what will happen next? Will there be a strike? Will the government resign? Will the elections bring about a democratic change? If all these things do not happen as predicted, and here knowledge as anticipation means knowing your sources and the degree to which they are reliable for that too is knowledge, then the journalist must check his or her sources for somewhere along the line she or he got it wrong.

Learning to anticipate and learning out of the failure to anticipate is a part of the process by which journalists become more and more reliable as time goes on and they know better to judge how reliable is this particular source of information.

Journalism has to be known for what it stands for: reliable reporting.

Consequently if information directs towards a knowledge about things becoming reliable then the dynamics of media and specifically the creation of an audience can be understood. For anyone wishing to be informed goes to where that information can be verified. And that is only possible on the basis of not mere information but knowledge.

So if an Internet Radio has to become reliable so that its audience will access knowledge about European affairs it has to be conceived and structured in such a way that public opinion is addressing policy issues and vice versa the parliamentary process does take into due consideration the public opinion being expressed through the specific media on these very specific issues.

I want to give you one example. For when I joined the Parliament, the very first report which came up was on Child Sex Tourism. Now some MEPs wanted to lower the age from eighteen to sixteen or even fourteen, in order to redefine when an adult was having sex not with a minor and therefore an offence but with equally an adult and therefore consensual sex rather than abuse. Now this shows how much of our reality is governed by definitions which are not arbitrarily set but which can be changed, if opinion is that in this day and age with children growing up faster and learning to use the computer better than the adults, so that the age should be lowered not only when a child becomes an adult and therefore can get a license and drive the car e.g. at the age of sixteen in the United States and Canada, eighteen in most of the European countries.

Now public opinion on this issue was expressed by amnesty international, child protection groups etc. All of them said 'a child should remain to be a child' and therefore is in need of special protection until the age of eighteen. This was a sort of cultural consensus in the broadest sense.

We know from ethnology and history that entry into adulthood had been celebrated by past societies with a special event e.g. in Sparta of Ancient Greece this was initiated by a young person having to sleep and to live amongst the slaves for three days and then kill one of them while managing afterwards to escape without him being killed in turn by other slaves. Entry into the circle of the adults was connected, therefore, with a ritual of deep consequences because it was a paradox with many ramifications, the most important one that once a youngster had killed a slave to become an adult he no longer could accuse the others of having killed a slave. This is called the conspiracy against simple truths.

So to come back to the discrepancy between opinion being expressed outside of Parliament through various organizations and the decision makers debating various options meant in fact participating in the finding of a true opinion which would guide the adoption of the report according to certain amendments, one of which being the lowering of the age to sixteen, to fourteen etc. Once put to a vote the committee members opt for the options offered and this in agreement with other members of the same party they all belong together since in politics sharing of information is then based on the knowledge that this group is bounded by other principles than the Liberals, Conservatives or Greens on the other hand.

I went into some depth of the Parliamentary process because it is seldom explained to any outside person and yet we consider our European member states together with the institutions of Europe especially in Brussels as Parliamentary Democracy. Now this means not just any democracy but one based on the knowledge how a Parliament works, in order to ensure democracy is upheld by all individuals and institutions of that European society. You may want to know how it turned out in the end with the report about 'Child Sex Tourism'? Well, the opinions of the NGOs and representatives of civic society was listened to and the entry age into adult life was kept at the eighteen years.

Dialog and organization of memory

The creation of an audience for cultural heritage through use of new media: the HERMES project, more specifically the Internet Radio www.heritageradio.net - the imaginary audience – no one in the room – the virtual reality and the breaking out of solitary confinement – social isolation (position of Jan Brueggemeier at the Volos summer school)

Creating an audience

The example of Herbert Distel: two entrances into a theatre with a stage in between and audiences sitting on both sides. Once the curtain is raised they see the other audience on the other side of the stage. There are no actors on stage. Just silence.

Variation to dialogue: just standing in silence while people expect a speech

Media: the 15 second cut – the longest take of any image – the commercials followed by news of bombs – with no in-betweens (George Crane: the missing narrative that would make us human again) – the manipulative use of images created in virtual spaces leading to mass deception (Elias Canetti) – Guenter Grass: sixty years later – what if the personal and public realm are blended together to bring about a non reality.

Media landscape and editorial / journalist practices:

Example of an editorial comment in the English part of Kathimerini, September 26, 2006 published under the title “Exchanging roles” by Pantelis Boukalas:

“The type of militant journalist, particularly in the electronic media, who modestly styles himself as the genuine expression of popular will but otherwise engages in politics from his television show, has been around for a long time.

We watch him as he hits out at politicians (who appear willing to put up with all the trouble for the sake of publicity), as he condemns people with summary statements, attacks ministers because they did not leave their post to rush to the studio for a public apology, excludes parties from his panels, and issues threats – sometimes blatently. Journalists, it seems, are running the show.

Faced with journalists’ expansionist drive, politicians have come up with a similar remedy. Using their long their long television experience, they have started to act like journalists – and especially like those champions of the populist, investigative genre. The reversal may deepen the confusion between their so-called powers, but, given the far reaching roots of corruption, it was only a matter of time.

Just like cheap reporters who present a rumor or exclusive information they never bothered to check as unshakable truth, some politicians spread unchecked reports and regurgitate heavy accusations against their political rivals.

According to the scenario popular among politicians and journalists alike: “everyone takes bribes.” Unless one has a very short memory, they will still remember who was behind the mantra “all politicians are corrupt” and what surgical methods were used to treat that patient.

One need not think too hard to conclude that the only people who take pleasure in such blanket generalizations (“everyone is the same,” “everyone is corrupt”) are those who are truly corrupt because they can get lost in the anonymous crowd.”

Good practices of cultural journalism in Volos - HERMES project

www.i-politismos.gr : Cultural News

Within heritageradio the partner Volos wanted to link up the network with a local or Municipal radio station, but did not succeed. As an alternative, they started to create their own communication platform, in order to promote cultural news. One contribution has been

“From Chioniades….studies and anthivola”

Unknown aspects of Post-Byzantine Art” –

Art exhibition at the Spierer BuildingVolos Municipal Center for Historical Research and Documentation,

From 22.October to 20.December 2004

Discussion about one exhibition

New focus in the academic fields: media studies

RCUK Academic Fellowships/Lectureships

Culture, Cohesion and Conflict - 3 posts Faculty of Humanities

The University of Manchester has been awarded 13 Academic Fellowships by RCUK that will permit the progress of exceptional researchers to permanent academic positions and will involve working with world class scholars on projects at the forefront of research. We seek candidates who share our ambitious vision and passion for discovery.

Full details:



Closing date: 13/10/2006

Reference: ACS/214/06

As part of a major initiative to establish the Faculty of Humanities as a world leading centre in the study of culture, identities and change, one Fellow will be appointed to work in each of the following areas:

- Conflict and War: The fellow will work on the memorialisation and cultural aspects of war, addressing issues such as the role of the public intellectual in understanding and communicating issues around armed conflict; the aftermath of war, including issues of retribution and punishment, reconciliation and peacemaking, as well as aid and reconstruction to war-damaged societies.

- Migration and Diaspora: The fellow will examine the significance of diaspora cultures. Interests include how identity formation is related to diaspora; how material culture sustain novel forms of social cohesion; what is the translatability of language and culture in different parts of the world; how are articulations of diasporic identities transforming national culture from within?

- Media and Community: The Fellow will pursue research on the relationship between the media and socio-cultural change. Interests include how far the news and entertainment media allow forms of social and cultural engagement and disengagement? How do audiences engage with the media? How do different diasporic groups use the media to sustain solidarities and identities? What kind of media regulation is most appropriate in an era of global communication?

The Fellow will be hosted by a Research Centre located in one of the following Schools: (a) Arts, Histories and Cultures; (b) Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, or (c) Social Sciences, where they will work alongside other designated researchers in an intense research environment.


£21,467 to £39,935 p.a.

Informal enquiries

Samantha Cooke - Research Office, Faculty of Humanities

Tel: +44(0)161 275 0297

Email: s.cooke-2@manchester.ac.uk

Full details:




International dimension - role of journalism in reporting about HIV

In Zambia, Mwiika trains journalists on how to report so that there does not result due to how things are described a sharp division between those who have HIV and those who do not have it. Usually fear can be on the biggest divisions, but also what can society learn from doctors who give a mother whose child has HIV a future perspective rather than writing off the child. Simply by saying to her I want to see you in nine months again in my practice, she alters her time perspective with regards to the child and immediately begins to show again emotional engagement where before she neglected the child in the belief it would die anyhow very soon.

Athens 27.9.2006

Dear Mwiika,

I was very much surprised to receive from you suddenly an email from Toronto. As you know I lived in Ottawa, Canada for twelve years. You expected some of us of this international net based community to be present as well. However, most of the people I know, they are not directly involved in the AIDS campaign but then we need for this work a larger circle of support of people who are not directly involved and yet die AIDS problematic is a concern of everyone. Here I think it would be interesting to hear from you what progress do you think has been made in addressing this issue to a wider audience. I am interested in particular what audiences you address and if you make a distinction between Aids infected people and those who are not or do you think there is common ground enough to address both categories of people at one and the same time. In other words, how do you develop a sensitivity and special language to speak openly and plainly to everyone since as Koffi Annan would say it depends on the awareness of the HIV positive people that they too participate in the communication process and therefore partake in life under their special conditions and needs. The reason for asking is that I shall be giving a paper very soon at our HERMES conference about our Internet Radio www.heritageradio.net when it comes to creating an audience (in this specific case more about cultural heritage) and I would like to conclude the paper by making a link to the work you do. For when we discussed in 2000 – 2002 while I was in Brussels the possibility of extending the Internet Radio to Africa, and mainly for providing local people with relevant information about development projects, it was a matter self understood that this should become in future a part of the European debate not merely concentrated on European affairs but with regards to Africa aware what discussions taking place here are of equal important and relevance to people like you in Lusaka. So if you could give me some feedback on how some of the things you have picked up through our communication and transmitted / translated into your own context, I would appreciate that. It can be just a brief description and should, if possible, indicate what other kind of discussion you would wish to take place in Europe with regards to the AIDS question.

Thanks for the abstract. After reading it I will give you my comments.

Good to hear from you, take care


From: Mwiika Malindima [mailto:mwiikamalindima@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 5:36 PM
To: hfischer@poieinkaiprattein.org
Subject: Greetings from Mwiika

Lusaka 26.09.06

Dear Hatto,

I hope all is well with you and that you are doing fine in Athenes. I am ok back here in Lusaka, I have been very busy since i came back from Toronto. I have only come back from South Africa where i was attending a gender summit on the media and also one called high way africa for the media.

I promised to write you after Toronto and this is it. I want to share with you the presentation i made in Toronto. It is something i am happy of as it came out of the programmes that i offer for journalists in the country. This shows that our work is getting some recognition. This is why it makes me happy to share it with you.

Please take some time and have a look at my abstract. If you have any thoughts, I will be glad to receive them

The very best to you


Track A: Cross-cutting and policy

Track Category: A3

Title: Telling stories of life and HIV/AIDS in Zambia: national training for journalists helps improve quality and scope of media coverage


Mwiika Malindima

Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM)


Daniel Nkalamo

Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM)

William Phiri

Correspondent, Radio Maria

Inutu Himanje

Assistant Executive Producer, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation

Issues: HIV/AIDS media coverage in Zambia has lacked the depth and innovation the subject matter demands. Many working reporters have no formal journalism training. Most reporters are unfamiliar with even basic information about HIV and its far-reaching implications for every sector of society.

Description: In July-August 2005, ZAMCOM brought 60 Zambian journalists to Lusaka for skills-based trainings facilitated by two experienced US journalists. Sponsored by the US government through the American International Health Alliance, these trainings consisted of presentations by physicians, policymakers, statisticians, economists, educators, civic leaders, and PLWHA. Part of the time was spent in the field gathering information and conducting interviews in two high-burden towns—Kafue and Kapiri-Mposhi—before returning to ZAMCOM to produce stories. This is the first time a media training of this type was held in Zambia. More than 80 stories were produced during the two workshops. Some 30 more were subsequently produced. Two participants received national recognition for producing the best HIV-related stories in 2005. Various media outlets created HIV/AIDS desks and initiated new columns or programs.

Lessons learned: Journalists looking to meaningfully cover AIDS face significant challenges, including limited access to information, experts, and PLWHA willing to talk about their situation; editors who claim the public has no interest in AIDS; and ever-present financial constraints. As a result, people in Zambia are not getting timely, accurate, and potentially life-saving information. Media can shine a spotlight on problems like the widespread confusion at healthcare centers throughout the country that resulted from ineffective communication of government policies about AIDS treatment. These stories have demonstrated potential for positive impacts at the individual, community, and even national levels.

Recommendations: Targeted trainings, professional development opportunities, and access to key sources play a critical role in improving the scope and quality of HIV coverage by the mass media. Combining journalism theory, practice, production, and ethics with expert sessions on HIV topics can build capacity among reporters and awareness among editors, thereby improving public access to accurate information. This model has national and regional implications.

Hatto Fischer

Written for the Final Hermes Conference - HRN workshop October 2006


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