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Hello to journalists, activists, CSOs, news readers, event organizers, artists, bloggers and many more!

My name is Didem Eroglu, one of the editors of the J2M. So far,  I have had different yet interesting career path. I have studied communication and worked in media for a while. Then I got interested in international working experiences. When I fell in love with Environment subject, I decided to do a master on Environment and Development and I enjoyed it very much. After a year I came back to Cyprus and since then I work as a freelancer. I can say that I have a curious nature. In this first article of mine at J2M, I want to elaborate on `freedom of speech`. What does that mean? Where is the idea coming from? Us as individuals, are we able to practice it in the year of 2016?

I was reading a book called `The First Freedom: A History of Free Speech`. According to the book, it all started at the cradle of the western civilization. Together with birth of democracy in a city-state called Athens, we see Socrates walking in the streets of Athens and discuss some matters like meaning of life, ethics, good and evil with anyone from regular citizen to politicians. Even tough Socrates himself never used the concept of freedom of speech in his disciplines, he is considered to be the inspiration figure.

The story continues with the death penalty of Socrates, the Romans, Dark Ages, Renaissance then we are approaching the year of 2017. Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Regular people like me and you, do we really feel heard?   Of course we have the exaggerated illusion of Facebook, which I have to admit that it plays a big role in modern civilization! Anyway, if we go back to our subject, imagine that you have something really important to say, what would you do? Write it on your Facebook? It’s a start but with very limited means. So what’s next? Trying to reach masses with a mass media? If they find your story ‘worth to share’, you are lucky! What if they don’t?

Back in the times of Socrates, democracy only belonged to the elites of Athens. Today, although things have changed in paper, and we have the internet, a worldwide web that enables us to open the doors of democracy to masses in practice it doesn’t really feel much different… In practice, interaction and involvement is always the key.

In the 20th century, community media has emerged and evolved in developing countries… This is the definition of ‘Community Media’ in Wikipedia: ‘Community media is any form of media that is created and controlled by a community, either a geographic community or a community of identity or interest. Community media is separate from commercial media, state run media, or public broadcasting.’ Community media plays an important, if not a crucial role in the participation of wider public to the democracy with the encouragement of public participation, empowerment of the community, giving voice to poor and otherwise marginalized groups, increasing community cohesion, information and knowledge sharing…

As Join2Media, we also want to encourage participation of the community members in our interactive community media platform. We want to hear your ideas, your stories. We want you to be informed about the news, happenings, events, opportunities that normally you don’t have the opportunity to hear. In order to keep this wheel rolling, involvement, interaction, sharing is crucial. People are the essence of the community media.  

When I joined the project team I was very excited and my excitement grows bigger and bigger. I really believe that community media can create a difference; a difference that may lead to a common island, better days in which our opinion does count and we feel heard. A brilliant person always quotes ‘Sharing is caring’, this is like our motto when we are working on this website. By the way, I really liked to say that we have a star executive committee too, they all are very supportive and inspiring.

I want to wrap-up here and quote from the book of Robert Hargreaves; `The First Freedom: A History of Free Speech`:

‘the value of free speech doesn’t lie in logic; it lies in experience’.

 

  

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