Development Cooperation Handbook/The video resources linked to this handbook/The Documentary Story/How to bypass the communication diaphragms?
How to bypass the communication diaphragms?
The problem of finding an alternative way of speaking of international cooperation work was is not what we should say (we just needed to say the truth); not even how to say it (there is only one way to say the truth, to say it out!). The problem was how to bypass the communication filter that want to tell the public only what they think it should be told to the public. Who would take the risk of going outside the usually accepted communication stereotypes? Who would take the risk of offending the sense of pride built over deeply entrenched prejudices?
Politicians are too weak and too dependent to media in their effort to raise consensus to get involved in any sort of public education effort. They need to avail of the few windows that media offers them to quickly raise emotions in their favor in predetermined target groups; and they will do it by appealing to the stereotyped prejudices of that target group; surely they cannot be taken on board of any effort aimed at changing that!.
Commercial media? In fact they are dependent to advertisement. So any kind of commercial programme is as good as it is able to collect audience in front of the screen …. Then the real message is given by the real sponsor: the advertiser. You get your project in the palimpsest only as far as they think advertisers will like it. And the advertisers are those who live and grow in nourishing stereotypes. Would they shift their approach from seduction to education? Why should they do that? And who would like to advertise for goods and services in the midst of documentary that talks about the [poverty generated by unfair consumption patterns?
I think that if we want to say the truth we have to bypass the filters of the media gate keepers. We need to find a new way of communicating. We have to propose a different kind of communication. Not a communication that transmits prefabricated notions, but one where communication counterparts participate and contribute to its creation. A communication breaks the solitude and isolation of people, enables "participation" and builds a sense of "community". May be that communion is short and does not have tangible consequences on the persons lives: it may be just a flash. But still would be a flash of understanding, that leaves the persons a bit more joyful. May be the communication partners will never meet again; but still they are left with their humanity a bit (or a lot) enriched.
This is not the kind of experience that we normally have reading posters or listening to airport loudspeakers! Nor when reading most newspapers and TV programmes (which generally are more elaborated versions of the same kind of top-down relationship from the "communicator" to the "public"). It is the kind of experience that we sometimes have reading a poem, accepting hospitality when you travel, joining a prayer, etc. It is an experience of communion. That is the kind of experience I would like to live in the platform we are creating now.
Now the objection is: if we create this knowledge sharing platform on the web, how can we earn from it? How can we get back the money we are spending? How can we sustain ourselves? We need to think at a distribution system which will raise some economic resources. What will it be?
Well . true. But let’s think later how will sell the fish. Now we still have to catch it. Let's first concentrate on the production. Then, if we have done a good product, we will think at how to sell it. To produce what we have in mind will be easy. And will not be cheap. We will think later how to sell. Now let's catch the stories, and our story, in the video camera. We need to concentrate all our energy in that. Then ... we will see.