December 16, 2022

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of news stories from journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.

The Izzy Award
Nominations Now Open for Annual “Izzy Award” for Independent Media

The Izzy Award will celebrate its 15th year this spring, and nominations are officially open for work produced during the calendar year 2022.

The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College (PCIM) will again grant this honor — named after legendary journalist I. F. “Izzy” Stone — for outstanding achievement in independent media. As always, the award will go to an independent media outlet or individual journalist or producer who publishes their work through their own site or that of an independent outlet.

Journalists, academics, and the public at large may submit nominations until midnight EST on Friday, February 3, 2023. The winner will be announced early next spring, with an award ceremony to follow in April 2023.

Read more on how to nominate here.

The Edge
Guernica 2.0: Loznitsa’s “The Natural History of Destruction” (2022)

Sergei Loznitsa, who is widely recognized as the leading Ukrainian filmmaker of his generation, is not a household name in the U.S.

Attention was drawn to Loznitsa this year when the Ukrainian Film Academy expelled the filmmaker because of what was seen as his disloyalty to Ukraine. But for Loznitsa, the Academy’s focus on national identity was akin to Nazism and “a gift to Kremlin propagandists.”

Scott MacDonald explores the way Loznitsa’s “The Natural History of Destruction” demonstrates how conveniently we’ve used the “victory” of the Allies and the war crimes of Nazi Germany to suppress our awareness, and the filmic evidence, of our own nation’s culpability in wartime horror.

Read MacDonald’s full commentary on The Edge.

The FIFA World Cup Was the Best Thing to Happen for Human Rights in Qatar

In 2010, three major events happened in my life. I moved to Doha to work in Education City. The Arab Spring exploded in Tunisia. And Qatar won the World Cup bid.

Since then, I have witnessed massive changes in the Gulf region, and none more than in Qatar.

But in the days leading up to the World Cup, the Western mainstream media portrayal of Qatar did not focus on any of the amazing progress or enormous changes in the last 12 years.

As Elizabeth Hoffman explains, we live in incredible times of rapid change in the Arab World. And that is the real story of the Qatar World Cup.

Read Hoffman’s full commentary on The Edge.

Why Lists Don’t Matter but ‘Jeanne Dielmann’ Does

Right now, in our current political moment around the globe, lists like Sight and Sound’s “Greatest Films of All Time” stand out as ludicrous exercises in the context of the multiple catastrophes we face.

In the vast and urgent media culture extending past Europe, North America, and art cinema, any list at all seems like a throwback to a much less complicated time where “great films” were all that mattered.

But given the excitement around “Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (1975) as number 1 on the BFI list, I feel compelled to respond to critiques that don’t account for Jewishness. When I saw “Jeanne Dielman” for the first time, I recognized my own experience.

Leshu Torchin continues the conversation from Dale Hudson’s criticism of the BFI list, saying of “Jeanne Dielman,” “To characterize it as embedded in colonialism and bourgeois sentiment is to miss out.”

Read Torchin’s commentary on The Edge.

About the Sight and Sound Survey: Resisting with Fierce Creative Joy

Of course it is a joy that Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (1975) has been chosen as the best film ever by the 1,639 critics, programmers, archivists, and academics who answered this year’s survey.

It is exciting not only because it is a film directed by a woman on a list historically dominated by men but because of the vehement and radical way in which Akerman’s film breaks all expectations of classical storytelling and institutional modes of narrative.

What is quite surprising in the list of 100 films is that there are no Latin American films, only one in Spanish, and none in Portuguese.

Pedro Adrián Zuluaga asks if the magazine’s attempt to broaden its voter base and be more inclusive in terms of geographical origin failed.

Read Zuluaga’s full commentary on The Edge.

Elon Musk’s Climate Denialism Cannot Be Ignored

Today, if you were to type the word “climate” into Twitter’s search bar, you would likely have the hashtag #ClimateScam suggested as the very first option.

On October 27, Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter in a highly followed controversial deal that has since resulted in massive layoffs and resignations.

Since Musk’s takeover, climate change disinformation has flourished on the site. Several big-name climate deniers and misinformation spreaders like Jordan Peterson and Steven Goddard (who goes by Tony Heller), whose accounts were banned under Twitter’s previous ownership, have been reinstated and are now racking up hundreds of new followers.

Read the full report on The Edge.

Twitter’s Hate and Disinformation Spike Demands Regulation

Online content regulation may be necessary to safeguard democracy and the quality of information people consume amid harmful falsehoods and outright violence. Elon Musk’s October 27 acquisition of Twitter led to a precipitous drop in this sort of content moderation, and to a rise in hate and misinformation.

This is an old issue: social media sites have long failed to ensure the fair and truthful spread of information. Documents released last year showed how “Facebook routinely makes exceptions for powerful actors when enforcing content policy,” even as it cut traffic to progressive news sites.

But now, conspiracy theories, antisemitism, racism, islamophobia, and extremism are flooding Twitter. This is one issue UNESCO aims to curb with an upcoming conference on digital regulation.

Read the full report on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Death penalty researchers call 2022 ‘Year of the Botched Execution’ | The Independent

2. What Fusion May Mean for a Carbon-Free Future | The Atlantic

3. Twitter Suspends Reporters From WashPost, NYT, Others Who Wrote About Elon Musk | HuffPost

4. No power in Ukraine’s second city after Russian strikes | BBC

5. Conservative donors pour ‘dark money’ into case that could upend US voting law| The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website and The Edge, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.