Anti-G20 media centre opens its doors

Writers congregate at the Alternative Media Centre at Harbord and Jersey. (Pras Rajagopalan/CBC)

By Prasanna Rajagopalan, CBC News

pras-52.jpgA group of writers opposed to the G20 have set up "The Alternative Media Centre" in Toronto's west end to provide coverage of the demonstrations and activist voices in the run-up to the summit.

Located in a modest space on Jersey Avenue off Harbord Street, the centre is a networking hub that provides writers with computers, wi-fi access and other technology.

The fruits of the writers' labour will be posted at 2010mediacoop.com. The centre itself will be open 24/7 starting Tuesday, said Amy Miller, an independent journalist who is helping to run it.

According to Miller, as an employee of the CBC, I represent the "propaganda wing of the state."

On the other hand, the people working at the media centre, which includes members of the Toronto media co-op, a co-operative of independent local journalists, represent "the propaganda wing of the resistance," as she called it.

Miller said that independent journalists often get drowned out amid the din of content being generated by the mainstream media.

"We are providing that space and that networking to [work on] collaborative projects... of making sure that on-the-ground resistance movements have their voices heard and have outlets to have them heard," she said.

But there is a vetting process to be allowed access to the facilities, which are limited.

As of Monday, 200 people had applied to work in the space, but only seven have been approved under the centre's vetting process, in which mainstream media and novice citizen contributors are excluded.

"This is a place for people who... have some experience and who are committed to the values of social justice and who are committed to working in the collaborative nature of the alternative media centre," said Miller.

"More importantly, it's not only what we can do in a collaborative nature, it's that the people who are here have long-term relationships with resistance movements here in Toronto and around Canada."

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