Journalists looking for free, up-to-date resources, news and debate on the information society can get all this and more on a new website, `i-Witness'. The website is being launched ahead of the final stage of the World Summit on the Information Society, and aims to help journalists worldwide get to grips with many controversial but often under-reported information society topics - from bridging the digital divide to controlling the Internet.
Journalists will be able to access a series of topic briefing papers, an online experts database and researched links to essential background information. Journalists can also contribute their own views and experiences of reporting on this often highly technical and difficult subject via an online discussion forum.
Developed by leading international media NGO, Panos London, i-Witness is one of several activities to help journalists, particularly those in developing countries, report on a subject that is having a growing economic and cultural impact, but one that many people in developing countries are in danger of being left out of completely. According to Panos London's Murali Shanmugavelan, journalists have a crucial role to play in not only reporting on the information society but also in actually shaping it. "If the information society is all about exchange and flow of information," says Shanmugavelan, "then the media is best placed to invoke this debate given that this is what their business is about. The media needs to question key aspects of the information society such as who controls information, who has rights to information and how profit influences the agenda."
Panos London will be taking a team of developing-country journalists to the Summit, where they will file stories for their own national newspapers, and give more personal insights on the i-Witness blog.