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Issue #1506      22 June 2011

Guardian 1500th and the alternative media

Sydney marked the publication of the 1500th issue of The Guardian with a function at the Mori Gallery last week (see page 6). An exhibition of front covers of Communist Party newspapers dating back to the original 1920s Workers’ Weekly formed the backdrop to a discussion of the alternative media and the role of The Guardian.

CPA Sydney District secretary Tony Oldfield introduced Guardian journalist and former editor Anna Pha who talked about the importance of the paper in countering the distortions and lies carried in the corporate media. She cited several successful, deliberate campaigns on the part of the monopoly news outlets to generate a lack of understanding about current realities. Anna pointed out that the Party press is objective and partisan (on the side of the working class) at the same time.

She also stressed that the paper does not seek simply to inform the public but to organise, educate and agitate among the working class to advance its interests. It has a special place among the “alternative media”.

Professor Jake Lynch – director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney; former presenter for BBC World News and former political correspondent for Sky News – spoke next. He quoted German 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer about the process that all commonly held truths pass through. “First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Professor Lynch noted several examples from the pages of the Party press where a ridiculed and isolated position, like support for East Timor’s independence, was finally embraced by the wider community. He paid tribute to the brave people working in the alternative media who often pay a high price for bringing a principled position in from the outer sphere of “deviant” opinion to the inner sphere of acceptable beliefs.

The exhibition of front pages drew considerable attention. Souvenir packages of Guardians were distributed and several subscriptions to the workers’ weekly were sold.  

Next article – Top Guardian Seller

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