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May 31, 2012
Link to Original French broadcast: http://www.rts.ch/la-1ere/programmes/les-temps-modernes/4016187-au-quebec-la-revolution-des-medias-communautaires.html
100 days ago, in Quebec, students began a standoff with their government. And every evening, the audience connects to CUTV Montreal, a student/community media station uses all the resources of social media to follow live events: live streaming, chat platform, posted videos, social media presence. Protest as if you were there. But above all CUTV wants to regain control of the media discourse on the conflict, hitherto dominated by traditional media.
Transcription and Translation of French Audio:
Les temps modernes (Modern Times) intro.
RTS Host: With us Alexandre Habay…Hello.
RTS H: Today we are going to talk about how community media is playing in the big leagues.
AB: For the past 100 days in the province of Quebec, the students have been in conflict with their government. The initial reason, we remind you, was the tuition hike for colleges [sic]. And during this crisis, each night the public connects to CUTV Montreal, community media hosted by students who take advantages of all the communication and information technologies available, as we will see… To follow the ongoing protests. It’s a new way to talk about these events and cover the protests. This might be a formative experience for other social movements, we will see…We will soon talk to the director, but first a portrait of CUTV by Jacques Alamand[T. Note: I am not sure how to spell the reporter’s name].
The student press has become an important witness to the social movement that is shaking Quebec.
Raphaël Dallaire-Ferland June 2, 2012
In spite of the controversy it attracts, CUTV is probably the community media outlet that has benefited from the greatest visibility since the conflict began. Its images have been reused - often without credit or remuneration - by such channels as the CBC, CTV, TVA, LCN, Al Jazeera and CNN.
After firing a rubber bullet at a protester, an SPVM officer shouts: “There! Right in the ass, y’little shit.” (« Tiens ! Dans les fesses, mon calisse. ») That scene, picked up by TVA and viewed more than 220,000 times on Youtube, was captured by Nicolas Quiazua, a young student journalist and editor of McGill University’s [French-language student newspaper] Le Délit. That clip is just one of many examples of videos that have gone viral on social networks, and have been reused by the large television channels of Quebec and beyond.
According to Jean-Hugues Roy, who teaches journalism at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), “The big difference (compared to traditional media), is that they are an integral part of the conflict. (…) The student media cover the student conflict more closely, more deeply because they are in it every day.” Also, they have been covering it for much longer compared to the mainstream media, which took notice of the current crisis starting when the first students took to the streets fon November 10, while the student press, which hasn’t stopped following the story since the last strike in 2005, intensified its coverage from the moment rumours of a tuition increase began circulating in February 2010.
Richard Therrien May 25, 2012
Pro-students accuse the media of giving too much of a voice to the police representatives as well as showing the same images of violence, over and over. On the other hand, the anti-strike group considers RDI as too obliging with the students and thinks too much airtime is given to the demonstrations. LCN too much to the right? RDI too much to the left?
Who is right in this debate that, actually, touches all medias? This is an inevitable debate in this period of crisis that divides the population like never before. One thing is certain: numbers of listeners of 24-hour media outlets have exploded in the last few weeks, with RDI leading LCN in surveys. Although complaining, people are still watching.
RDI director, Luce Julien, confirms having received an unusually high number of complaints during the last weeks. “I do not remember such heated discussion on one topic since the referendum of 1995. It is reflected in the complaints we receive. Interviews are criticized almost equally by both sides.”
However, she remains firm: RDI offers a just and fair coverage of the crisis. “We do not adopt a position. RDI’s main mission is to cover events as they happen. A secondary goal is to explore subjects further. RDI has managed this “tour de force”, in particular with programs such as 24 heures en 60 minutes. Julien fights back accusations that RDI favors images that show violence.
An alternative to traditional news outlets, Concordia University’s ConcordiaCUTVmontreal.ca is the media revelation of this conflict. Founded two years ago, it attracts up to 100,000 Internet users daily according to Station Manager, Laura Kneale. Clearly pro-students, CUTV comments, moment by moment, the evolution of the demonstrations and provides more direct images than RDI and LCN.
Mathieu Charlebois, May 10, 2012
With the images of the heart of the action that its journalists took at the risk of being sprayed with cayenne pepper, the community channel CUTV, from the University of Concordia campus, offers unedited coverage of the student strike. Since the start of the conflict, it has broadcasted on its website, direct and deferred coverage, more than a hundred hours on the subject.
Although it is resolutely partisan towards the student cause, the channel has its pictures used by networks such as LCN, RCI, and even CNN!
L’actualité met with Laura Kneale, General Director of CUTV.
- CUTV is: the community television station of the University of Concordia campus.
- It is broadcast: on the Internet and on the Concordia campus.
- It has existed since: 1969, but for two years in its present form (Web diffusion and content of seven shows with specific themes, as well as direct coverage of the events that happen on the streets of Montréal and on campus).
Your coverage of the student strike is far from neutral. How was this choice made?
It’s our mandate. It is posted on our site and is very clear: a community media exists to balance the messages from the private and public sector. Our goal is to give a voice to communities who don’t have one. Our point of view is that of the people who will be affected by the decisions of the government or big businesses. The coverage of the student movement in other media is not objective either. It represents the interests of the public and private broadcasters.
Who are the people you give microphones to? Are they journalism students?
Not exclusively. All our volunteers get training and, from what the Concordia Communication students say, it is very complete. The Journalism professors want to work more with us. For the internships, among other things, because CUTV offers an experience that is very close to reality, which is often what is lacking in their training.
Were you surprised to see your images on LCN, RDI and even CNN?
It wasn’t the first time that this happened. Last year, we were the only ones to cover the protests of the Arab communities in Montréal. The channel Al Jazeera broadcasted our images internationally. When we cover very local events that have an international impact, the other media turn to us quickly.
It’s advantageous for Radio-Canada (CBC) and RDI, who we have an agreement with, to be able to access our content. It’s not the kind of coverage that these networks want to do themselves.
What equipment do you use for going into the streets?
Our studio is the world and the street. So our equipment has been adapted to be the most mobile possible. Everything is made with a backpack transmitter, a camera and a small tripod.
The bag contains a computer and a screen at the back allows us to see what we’re transmitting. It’s pretty heavy. When we’re climbing hills, it can get tricky.
The images are sent over cell waves on a 4G network. We get them and broadcast them on the Internet by Livestream. These days, we often go over our limit. Each person who watches us costs 27 cents.
Our audience has been bigger than usual lately, but they are also incredibly generous. Their donations allow us to stay in the streets. As we’re a community media service, it’s important to us.
Do you think you have an effect on the way the events are going?
I think so. We are bringing transparency. Our audience tells us that the fact that our coverage isn’t cut and edited gives them the feeling of being there, of taking the pulse of the street. A more informed society is a more politicized society.
What moment has affected you the most these last few weeks?
The scenes that have circulated the widest on the Internet are those where our journalists were arrested or pepper sprayed. But for me, what to take from these protests is the smiles, the beautiful things that people say and their passionate speeches.
Last week, I saw a young child who wanted to play with a police officer from the anti-riot squad. It was right next to the Palais des congrès, where the protesters were going to be roughed up. The child was impressed with the outfit of the man. It’s these images that are shocking - the things we have never seen. To witness that some of the population doesn’t react in a scared or aggressive way to this image gives me hope for the future.
[See link for examples of CUTV videos from the protests.]
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.