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Towards a Global Commons of Truth

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
25th December 2012

This is excerpted from a longer and much worth reading editorial by Nicolas Mendoza in Al Jazeera’s Opinion:

“WikiLeaks has recently announced the creation of a new organisation called the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The following excerpt from the press release gives a quick description of the new initiative:

“The Freedom of the Press Foundation, an initiative of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) co-founder John Perry Barlow, former Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, the actor John Cusack and others, will crowd-source fundraising and support for organisations or individuals under attack for publishing the truth. It aims to promote “aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption and law-breaking in government. (…)

The Foundation’s first ‘bundle’ will crowd-source funds for WikiLeaks, the National Security Archive, The UpTake and MuckRock News. Donors will be able to use a slider to set how much of their donation they wish each organisation to receive and can donate to WikiLeaks using their credit cards. The Foundation holds 501(c) charitable status, so donations are tax-deductible in the US. Other courageous press organisations will be added as time goes by. It will not be possible to see by banking records what portion of a donor’s contribution, if any, goes to WikiLeaks.”

After reviewing the history of press funding, the editorial concludes:

Towards A Global Commons of Truth

Nicolas Mendoza:

“It was through the aggregation of millions of contributions given by the public, over the years, in the form of classified ad payments to newspapers that independent investigative journalism evolved through the past century.

It was us who afforded society journalism all along, and as corporate media divorces itself further from the meaning of the word “journalism”, it is now up to us to decide whether those who search for the truth survive or fade. It will not take care of itself like it used to.

Academics, newsmen and pundits have been speculating for years about what the model for the future of newspapers will look like. A better version of this question is, of course, to ask about the model for the future of journalism as a service for the people and for global justice.

Well, an organisation like the Freedom of the Press Foundation is what it looks like. This is it: We, The People, must from now on fund journalism directly so that it can rise again and pursue the truth, without chains, in these critical times of global transition. Public funding has failed too: it is time for funding by the public.

This is why the Freedom of the Press Foundation is so important, and why it is in the best interest of each of us to support it, by donating at least a fraction of what we used to pay during a year for newspaper subscriptions and classified ads.

The worldwide importance of WikiLeaks as an agent of government and corporate transparency is undeniable. WikiLeaks and other equally committed journalistic organisations are the core of a new model: a strongly autonomous global commons of truth that must be protected and nurtured by citizens themselves, by news organisations and journalists around the world, and by all other groups and institutions seeking to pursue true change at a global scale.”


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