During the 1st meeting at the UniverSSE Congress in June 2017 in Athens, promoted by RIPESS Europe, a second European meeting of “Independent, Alternative and Cooperative Media and SSE” was proposed.  It took place in February 2018, in Villarceaux (near Paris), with several independent media (print and electronic) from more than 10 European countries – (see list here). The intention of this meeting was to reflect on how to bring together in a network – informal at the moment – media that share a common vision on sharing information and in particular the central question of the independence from the major economic and political powers, an alternative view of the economy and a democratic and cooperative way of working.

The session of mutual acquaintance between the participants showed a number of similarities. or differences, in seniority for example: half of the media present have been in existence for less than five years; content: some produce only paper content, others video, some publish in several languages, others in one, under “creative commons” or not, etc.

The work progressed according to the following order: a first series of workshops whose themes covered a broad spectrum of common concerns encompassing the forms of cooperation envisaged, common tools, commercial models,  potential obstacles to cooperation, in particular the need to better manage time constraints, content that can flow from one medium to another, the language barrier, etc.

The last part was devoted to three essential points:

1. the manifesto which makes it possible to constitute both a membership charter and a communication on the nature of the alternative media network, in the form of a campaign to underline the urgency of coping with existence – or potentiality – of a restriction of freedom of expression;

2. development of economic models for the independent media, including the possible search for cross-financing;

3. Sharing information to increase their reach and impact.

From this founding meeting, three working groups set out these three essential dimensions. We will regularly publish the progress of the work and we hope that this cooperation with a European dimension will have a significant scope, both for the consolidation of each media and the progress of the promotion of the Solidarity economy in the European area.

Article by Josette Combes and Jason Nardi