• communications proposal for WSF 2013 V3

last modified May 21, 2012 by facilitfsm

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COMMUNICATIONS PROPOSAL FOR 2013 ( V3 dhaka meeting)

We intend that this proposal be presented at the WSF IC meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2011 for discussion, modification, and subsequent adoption to inform a collective plan towards the 2013 forum. Contributors to this proposal are the IC WSF Office and a representative of the IC Communications Commission. It was subsequently circulated in the Communications' commission mailing list.

There are several axes along which to define the work of communications. Relevant to the forum process and activity, there exist various media such as radio, Internet, and independent journalism to consider. Also, there are the ways in which forum organizers, participants, and observers will use communications.

We have elected to structure our proposal along the axis of use, rather than medium. We will discuss media within the three sections presented below, which represent the three aspects of communications work for the World Social Forum. The aspects of the implementation of communications are for internal organization, mobilization, and participation.

There is a clear need to clarify the roles between local, regional, and international levels, through the work of a joint committee including members from the local organizing communication committee, the WSF Office staff, and the IC communication commission, which needs to begin collaborating at least one year prior to the event.

Mitigating Gaps in Communication

Additionally, based on experience we have identified usual gaps in communication between forum organizers at various levels and give recommendations for mitigating these towards the 2013 forum. Below is a list of general recommendations that explicitly address historical gaps in forum communications. The level of detail is uncharacteristic of such a general proposal, yet we feel they must be mentioned explicitly due to the historical difficulty local organizing committees have faced in regards to the listed items:

    • Publish clearly a statement of online content, privacy policy, and terms of service.
    • Prioritize communications infrastructure such as Internet well in advance with proper testing and necessary funding for large, secure capacity.
    • Secure workshop rooms with Internet for expanded and also to let self-organized activity organizers know of logistics.
    • Build a dynamic website collectively between local organizers, IC communications committee representatives, and the WSF Office staff.
    • Create an rapid response team for communication and press needs during the forum.
    • Display dynamic content on main forum site during the forum for updates.
    • Use other media platforms for updates during the forum.
    • Aggregate various participant media being produced at the WSF.

Communications for Internal Organization

The structure and specific needs of communications tools for the organization of the forum depend on the adopted methodology proposal. However, it is possible to comment on the possibilities and recommendations for communications tools. Additionally, we propose a committee or small group of individuals to take on the task of actually centralizing, organizing, translating, and publishing information related to important dates, decisions, and logistics.

Regular Coordination Mechanisms

  • There are a few technologies which could be utilized by local, regional, and international organizers to improve communication. These are:
    • Shared online calendar,
    • Conference calls,
    • Utilization of email lists,
    • Remote, online meetings,
    • Production of periodic reports, and
    • Circulation and shared documentation of meeting notes.

Documentation Committee

This is a proposal to create a documentation committee to handle notes, calendar, decision points, FAQs, contact information and publishing to an online wiki.

This committee would satisfy the need for implementing and gathering information from email lists, meetings, and committee chairs. An evolving FAQ could centralize known information for use on the website and in the program. Working languages for the wiki could be unrestricted since readers could use machine translation. However, formal translation for publication on official website could be done as needed.

Cultural Action as Methodology and Communication

Cultural action through song, music, theater, dance, radio, video, photography, design, dance and graffiti has been effectively used for centuries in popular struggles and, occasionally, popular governments to motivate, innovate, make decisions, intervene and design and sustain projects.

This ‘circle’ proposes to extend these cultural languages beyond the ‘cultural programme’ of the WSF to stimulate questioning, dialogue and convergence between movements and their actions, translation and creative forms of documenting, reporting, evaluating and publishing. It will draw on precedents from past WSFs, but also use the new digital media. It will be particularly effective in communication across cultures in WSF extended events, campaigning, and actions by and for young people.    

Communications for Mobilization

  • Local

  • Local communications organizers will be involved in the following:
    • Early organization of on-the-ground logistics and equipment procurement,
    • Mobilizing, receiving, and training of volunteers,
    • Investigating and making available logistical information to be published about local businesses,
    •  Organizing support from university campus employees, students, and administration
    • Creating advertising and organizing with local radio stations,
    • Creating a press kit for local journalists,
    • Securing early articles for publication in local media,
    • Using social media to mobilize locally,
    • Creating and posting posters,
    • Mobilizing local press,
    • Coordinating regionally and internationally with other communications organizers on the website, and
    • Developing with local and international communication organizers common messages.
  • Regional

    • Mobilizing regional caravans,
    • Using social media to mobilize regionally,
    • Producing and circulating regionally-specific newsletters and reports to regional organizations,
    • Developing with local and international communication organizers common messages,
    • Coordinating locally and internationally with other communications organizers on the website,
  • Global

    • Develop a visual identity specific for the event, with the glocal communications committee,
    • Directly incorporating the communications projects of the forum: WSF Radio Forum, WSF TV, Ciranda, WSF Virtual Press Center, E-Joussour, TerraViva, and Flamme d'Afrique,
    • Sending a monthly (always), weekly (3 months prior), then daily (during event) newsletter,
    • Creating a decentralized website, fully-controlled by a local and international group of organizers,
    • Integrating social media platforms,
    • Mobilizing early for expanded and solidarity activities,
    • Use the event website and participants database to do online fundraising campaigns,
    • Producing an evolving, online FAQ to centralize known logistical information, and
    • Developing common messages on stickers and posters to be made available for download.

Communications as Participation

  • Language Access

    • Translation of main website into all languages,
    • Translation of program into all languages,
    • Mutualized funding for interpretation,
    • Early organization of on-the-ground logistics and equipment procurement,
    • Presentation of advanced copy of the program for scheduling and complete communication of errata for improvising needs last-minute,
    • Organization of and funding for a group of international and local coordinators from Babels of around 10 people to ensure an all-volunteer,     Babels-coordinated interpretation,
    • Provide per diem and decent accommodation (non-local) for volunteer translators.

  • Forum Activities


    • In-part utilization or further development of past online registration mechanisms,
    • Creation of an online registration and payment (donation) process to gather contact information, activity proposals, stalls, etc.,
    • Gather and communicate with registering participants about volunteer opportunities,
    • Centralization of contact data in a participants database, and
    • Creation of off-line registration process that can be integrated with the online solution.



    • Make available, sortable and search-able, an online program with errata,
    •  Immediate exposure of activity proposals as they are made online with possible interactivity for participants and activity organizers,
    • Support of communication needs between participants, self-organized activity organizers, and forum organizers,
    • Creation of printed program well in advance with full logistical content, and
    • Translation only of key information into all official languages.


Opening March, Opening Ceremony

    • Ensure messaging, press coverage, and culture of celebration are explicitly addressed for the programming of these events,
    • Development of a platform for live video streaming of the opening ceremony,
    • Outreach to the local community to gather large attendance for the march, and
    • Development with local and international communication organizers common messages.


    • Self-organized Activities
    • Display these events on the website as they are submitted and scheduled,
    • Support of communication needs between participants, self-organized activity organizers, and forum organizers,
    • Provide contact information, longer descriptions, instructions for online interaction, or outcomes online, and
    • Ensure clear documentation in program of campus so activities may be well attended.


Solidarity Events

    • Further develop a culture of expanded participation for international fora,
    • Make available information on expanded activities, and
    • Make visible on main website with links to live video streams.



    • Live video stream presentation of assembly documents, and
    •  Make available clear directions for organizing assemblies and submitting documents.


Cultural Events

    • Full integration of cultural events into the program of events,
    • Investment funding for projects that might become grassroots fundraisers for the forum, such as CDs, t-shirts, etc.,
    • Wide publicity for cultural events in the local community and online, and
    • Live video streaming of cultural events.

Documentation & Media Production


  • Outcomes from self-organized activities should be collected, beyond assembly documents, for the purpose of memory.
  • Also, an evaluation of the forum process should be conducted with all participants and forum organizers and analyzed.


Press Conferences & Press Releases

Press conferences will be held in the area of the Media Center, but in a space with sound-proof rooms and audio equipment such as a table, microphone, and speakers. Similar to the Media Center this space will not be open only to official media. Preferably in the morning, a press conference will be held each day during the forum.

Additionally, it's important that conferences be organized one day before and one day after the forum event. During the days of the forum, the space can be used for thematic press conferences by movements, groups, and networks that participate in the forum.

Press releases will be made available online, as well as a schedule of conferences. A team of organizers will be dedicated to daily PR work. It will also be possible to live video stream the daily conferences.


Media Center

    • Must be made open to all participants, and
    • Securing fast, dedicated internet for content transfers and expanded events only.


Online Media Center

    • Presentation of the event and press kit for all media,
    • Generation of dynamic logistical announcements,
    • Dissemination of media as it is produced on the main event website,
    • Aggregation and display of content from various sources, and Prioritization of the display of alternative media over mainstream media coverag