Appendix I: Global IMC Documents

IMC Principles of Unity

1. The Independent Media Center Network (IMCN) is based upon principles of equality, decentralization and local autonomy. The IMCN is not derived from a centralized bureaucratic process, but from the self-organization of autonomous collectives that recognize the importance in developing a union of networks.

2. All IMC's consider open exchange of and open access to information a prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society.

3. All IMC's respect the right of activists who choose not to be photographed or filmed.

4. All IMC's, based upon the trust of their contributors and readers, shall utilize open web based publishing, allowing individuals, groups and organizations to express their views, anonymously if desired. **see appendix: Open Publishing document --> still in proposal phase, at this address:

5. The IMC Network and all local IMC collectives shall be not-for-profit.

6. All IMC's recognize the importance of process to social change and are committed to the development of non-hierarchical and anti-authoritarian relationships, from interpersonal relationships to group dynamics. Therefore, shall organize themselves collectively and be committed to the principle of consensus decision-making and the development of a direct, participatory democratic process] that is transparent to its membership.

7. All IMC's recognize that a prerequisite for participation in the decision making process of each local group is the contribution of an individual's labor to the group.

8. All IMC's are committed to caring for one another and our respective communities both collectively and as individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including knowledge, skills and equipment.

9. All IMC's shall be committed to the use of free source code, whenever possible, in order to develop the digital infrastructure, and to increase the independence of the network by not relying on proprietary software.

10. All IMC's shall be committed to the principle of human equality, and shall not discriminate, including discrimination based upon race, gender, age, class or sexual orientation. Recognizing the vast cultural traditions within the network, we are committed to building [diversity] within our localities.

Updated: 14 Jun 2002


 Each IMC and Global Working Group is expected to:

a. Agree in spirit to the NIMC Mission Statement and Principles of Unity,

b. Have a committed membership substantial enough to sustain a functional IMC,

c. Have open and public meetings (no one group can have exclusionary "ownership" of an IMC),

d. Work toward developing a local Mission Statement or Statement of Purpose. Network Mission Statement may be adopted or used on an interim basis,

e. Establish and publish an editorial policy which is developed and functions through democratic process, and with full transparency,

f. Agree to the use of Open Publishing as described in the NIMC Editorial Policy [editorial collective comments: "We did agree that the term "Open Publishing" was one that is still being defined by the Global Network Collective, and we would wait and see what the results were before rewriting this criteria],

g. Adopt a decision-making policy that is in alignment with consensus principles which include open, transparent and egalitarian processes,

h. Have a spokesperson(s) willing and capable of participating in the global decision-making process and meetings as a rotating liaison/representative, with a clear understanding of the responsibilities that come with this role,

i. Participate in the key IMC Network Communication Methods that pertain to the health and vitality of the Network and that contribute to the work of the IMC. Assure that at least one person from your local IMC participates at any given time on the IMC-Communications list,

j. (NOT FINALIZED): Have no official affiliation with any political party, state or candidate for office (comments: but individual producers have freedom to do whatever they like and local IMCs can "feature" stories about various political parties and initiatives),

k. IMCs shall in no way engage in commercial for-profit enterprises. [We could add: The IMCN is committed to the decommercialization of information and will disassociate from any local IMC that decides to become a for profit media corporation.]

l. Display a i² logo on your website and literature.

m. Include the IMC Network current &Cities List² on your site, preferably on the front page.

NETWORK MEMBERSHIP 1. Network Membership is open to any group that accepts the above criteria for membership. In the case of several requests from the same city or region, we will encourage them to meet and work together.

2. Network Membership in the NIMC will be confirmed by the New IMC Working Group, which is accountable to IMC-Process and ultimately to the NIMC decision-making process.

DEFINING OUR TERMS: For clarity and precision, we need to define our terms more carefully so there is less room for misunderstanding. Also explains how we as a culture (the IMC culture) use these terms.

* NIMC = Network of Independent Media Centers

* Open = means that diverse people and groups are welcome to attend and that no attempt is made to exclude people based on their sex, race, gender, class, age, ability or religion.

* Official affiliation = still being worked on

* IMC Network Communication Methods = international email lists, IRC discussions and logs, phone calls and conference calls, and face-to-face meetings.

* Local version = acknowledges the many variations of the name and the logo that will occur depending on the language and culture of the local IMC.

Updated: 14 Jun 2002


San Francisco IMC Documents

Editorial Policy


The SF-IMC newswire operates on the principle of Open Publishing, an element essential to the Independent Media Centers (IMC) around the world. Simply put, Open Publishing is to news and information what open source code is to software. In practice, the Open Publishing newswire allows anyone to instantaneously self-publish their work on, a web site accessible from around the world. People are encouraged to "become the media," to use their own skills and abilities of observation, writing, and creativity in posting text, analysis, videos, audio clips, photos and artwork directly to the website. The post is then viewable at the top of the newswire, and will move down the list as more people post news.

The use of, and belief in, Open Publishing rests on several central assumptions:
- People who post to the newswire will present their information in a thorough, honest, and accurate manner.
- Readers are intelligent and aware, skeptical and inquisitive of the posts they read and videos they watch, and are able to distinguish for themselves what is content of value and what is not.
- The SF Indymedia editorial Working Group will, at least in theory, refrain from removing any post, given that by doing so, the flow of information between poster and reader will have ceased to be free.
- The means to an end is as important as the end itself.


For purposes of this editorial policy and process, consensus shall be defined as written agreement with a proposal from four editorial working group participants, or no dissension or block within a four-hour period of discussion on the imc-sf-editorial list, after which time the post will be hidden. The post or comment may be re-displayed if principled dissent is later voiced by an editorial working group participant.


The editorial working group is reponsible for updating and maintaining several sections of the site, including the center column of the front page and various feature pages, and the newswire. While the center columns are compiled and edited by the editorial working group, the open-publishing newswire, on the other hand, is designated as an open, unedited space for publication of news, media, and commentary by SF-IMC readers, participants and organizers.

The newswire is divided into three separate sections:
1. Local News: this section contains posts that are local in nature. They are selected by a member of the editorial working group from posts the come in on the open newswire.
2. National/Global News: this section contains posts that are national or global in nature. They are also selected by the editorial working group from posts the come in on the open newswire.
3. Other/Breaking News (Open Publishing Newswire): this section is where a post will appear immediately after being published. If it is local or national/global in scope it will most likely be moved over to the local or national/global section of the newswire. This section is subject to editorial policy. See below for process and details.

The process for moving a post to the local or national/global news section of the newswire is quite simple: any participant in the editorial working group may do so based upon her/his understanding of the SF-IMC Principles of Unity and her/his personal judgement. If a decision to move a post is later questioned by another participant, the challenge must be based on said Principles of Unity.

Editorial Process

While striving towards pure open publishing principles is the ideal, reality dictates that the editorial working group at times decide to edit or hide posts and comments. This is not a decision that is taken lightly, however, and the editorial working group does all it can to refrain from hiding/editing posts and comments. Our vision for the function of the newswire, and the general framework in which these decisions will be made, are as follows:
- The newswire is intended to be a community media resource, a space free from spam and abuse in general.
- That space will not contribute to the oppression of traditionally oppressed and marginalized groups.

Therefore, any proposal to hide/edit a post or comment by editorial consensus should be based on at least one of the following three points:
- The post or comment constitutes abuse of the newswire (see note below)
- The post or comment undermines the Principles of Unity of the SF-IMC
- The post or comment constitutes a spam attack (see below) on the newswire

Types of posts that are exceptions to the 4 person/4 hour consensus process and MAY be hidden immediately are as follows:
- All reposted corporate media articles
- Duplicate posts or comments
- Posts uploaded with technical problems
- Explicitly pornographic material
- Posts from a previously recognized spammer
- Test posts
- Product advertisements

Upon hiding/editing a post, the member of the editorial working group who did so will also add a comment explaining the basis upon which the decision to edit/hide was made.

In addition, all hidden posts and comments will continue to remain publicly accessible one click away from the front page on a page listing only hidden posts. The link to view all hidden posts is located at the bottom of the newswire.


Commenting on posts is an essential feature to the democratic nature of Indymedia. It allows points to be refuted, ideas to be expounded upon, arguments to be had, and discussions to be hashed out. If you disagree with the content of a particular post that someone has posted or can provide further relevant information, you can say so by commenting via the "add your own comments" link at the bottom of each post.

The process for hiding and editing comments will be the same as that for posts. Special care will be taken to not stifle debate and dialogue. To be clear, flame wars are not generally considered debate and/or dialogue, while cogent arguments and analyses are.

Spam Attacks

A spam attack is defined as a pattern of abuse of the newswire by a particular poster or posters. If the editorial working group reaches consensus (at a meeting or on the mailing list) that an individual is launching a spam attack on the SF-IMC newswire, the spammer's posts and/or comments may be hidden from the newswire by a member of the editorial working group. Alternately, the posts may be linked together so as to occupy only one spot on the newswire.

Each instance of recognized spam will be considered individually, and the reason why the editorial working group perceives the post(s) as spam will be stated on the editorial mailing list, as well as in a comment on the hidden post itself. When a member of the editorial working group hides a post, (s)he shall immediately notify the editorial working group via the mailing list.

In cases of recognized spam, editorial working group members are empowered to immediately hide the post or comment, though notification via the mailing list is still necessary.


Contact the SF-IMC editorial collective if you have any questions or comments.


Last updated Wed, 12 Feb 2003 05:59:23 –0800

Urbana-Champaign IMC Documents

Editorial Policy

Urbana-Champaign IMC Website Appropriate Use Policy
Approved by IMC Steering Group, Sept. 30, 2001

I. Explanation
II. Guidelines for Hiding Posts
III. Guidelines for Editing or Deleting Posts
IV. Procedures for Hiding, Editing or Deleting Posts

I. Explanation

The Urbana-Champaign IMC website newswire is an open publishing system, and its use for both posting and reading messages is available to anyone on the Internet. The newswire is primarily intended for the posting and discussion of news, opinions, ideas and experiences that relate to current events and news, particularly that of interest to people in the greater Urbana-Champaign area. The Newswire is especially intended to be available and useful to peoples, ideas and news that are overlooked or systematically excluded from the dominant media. These are necessarily broad categories of postings that include a wide diversity of approaches, however there are types of posts and posting behaviors that are not included.

The newswire is a virtual commons that the IMC intends to be open fairly and equally to all who would want to use it. As a commons, there are basic ground rules that allow the commons to be fairly available and useful to as many people as possible. The principle guiding these rules is that the IMC discourages postings that compromise the availability and usefulness of the newswire as a commons and the IMC reserves the right to hide or remove such postings.

When considering posts containing speech that may be unacceptable and detrimental to the newswire's status as a commons, the IMC Steering Group should keep in mind principles of free speech which advocate for using more speech to counter unacceptable speech. This principle must be balanced against the real harm that speech can do both to individuals and to the usefulness of the newswire itself, with an attempt to gauge if more speech can actually counter any real harm done.

In all considerations it must be recognized that the IMC newswire is only one amongst many hundreds or thousands open posting forums available on the Internet, and therefore the IMC cannot fully silence any voice on the Internet. Commensurately, it must also be recognized that the IMC newswire's strength is its openness, and the significant hiding of posts will weaken its use and goals.

The IMC Active software that runs the newswire has a feature allowing posts to be hidden from view on the newswire without being deleted from the system. These hidden posts can still be viewed through the "story administration" page that may be easily linked to. The IMC Active software does not provide a provision for deleting posts, however it does provide for the editing and deleting of text within a post, and such changes are permanent.

In most cases where posts are deemed as unacceptable they should be hidden from view on the newswire, with an explanation for the hiding attached to the post. Posts should only be edited or deleted in the few cases outlined below in which their appearance anywhere on the site threatens the financial or legal status of the IMC.

II. Guidelines for Hiding, Editing and Deleting Posts

Guidelines for Hiding Posts:

The following are types of situations and posts which may be hidden by the IMC Steering Group, along with guidelines for determining what should be hidden.

Guidelines for Editing and Deleting Posts
The following types of posts may be edited or have text deleted by the IMC Steering Group.

III. Procedure for Hiding, Editing or Deleting Posts:

The Steering Group shall rely upon the IMC website editor or editorial group to monitor the Newswire and alert the IMC volunteers when inappropriate posts appear. Additionally, any IMC volunteer, member or website visitor may call attention to a post believed to be inappropriate by e-mailing the general IMC mailing list or

Hiding Posts:
When the Steering Group is made aware of posts that should be hidden, it should make a reasonable attempt must be made to contact the author of the post in question and to explain the IMC's appropriate use policy, asking for cooperation and compliance. In the event that a post in made anonymously, or no valid e-mail address is posted, then no effort can reasonably take place to contact the author.

If after attempting contact with an author posting inappropriately the Steering Group is unable to reach a resolution with that poster, the Steering Group may hide any of that author's posts as they deem necessary, according to this policy. The Steering Group may instruct the website editor or editorial group to hide future posts from such an author.

Whenever a post is hidden a comment from the Steering Group explaining whey the post was hidden should be added to the hidden post.

Editing and Deleting Posts:
Only posts which pose an immediate threat to the welfare of the IMC and the IMC website may be edited or deleted. Because of this, the editor or editorial group may, at their discretion, hide or edit a post if they believe it inappropriate according to the guidelines of posts that may be edited or deleted. Whenever such a post is hidden or edited, the editors must immediately inform the IMC General e-mail list of the action and the rationale for the action.

The Steering Group will address the post in question at their next regular meeting following editorial action. At this meeting the Steering Group can affirm, modify or reverse any editorial action. Only the Steering Group may decide to delete a post - the website editor or editorial group may not take this action with Steering Group approval.

If a post is edited, a comment must be added to the post explaining why it was edited. If a post is deleted then there should be no record of it in the IMC website and website database.