Established in 1964 as a non-profit international cooperative of journalists dedicated to filling the information void between Europe and Latin America, IPS gradually expanded its outreach to other areas of the Third World and a number of major industrialised countries, and set itself the daunting task of putting the peoples of the South on the international map. In what many outsiders saw as a utopian enterprise, IPS was soon making it possible for the voice of the voiceless to be heard.
IPS has always believed in the role of information as an agent of change and a precondition for freeing communities from poverty and marginalisation. Its historic mission has been to act as a communication channel that privileges the voices and the concerns of the poorest and creates a climate of understanding,
accountability and participation around development, and between South and North. To accomplish this mission, the IPS journalists who have contributed to this book - and the hundreds of others who helped the agency gain international recognition - gave priority to reporting the processes behind the facts, offering a privileged window on a changing global scenario.
Much has changed in almost half century, but not the inequalities and imbalances that gave birth to the agency. However, as some of the contributors note, while new media and new forms of communication are bringing with them new dangers of alienation and discrimination, they also offer new opportunities for making the process of communication a truly horizontal exchange among peoples and nations. IPS has now become the agency of global civil society, with more than 20 million pages read each month on the Web. In the words of Roberto Savio, founder of the agency together with Pablo Piacentini, "millions of young people use the Web to forge alliances and take action at the local, national and international level. Their networks are based on common values, on ideal choices, and on global issues ranging from the environment to human rights, from gender roles to democratic participation." These new actors fighting for a different world are the hidden voices of yesterday - and they take the vision of IPS recounted by this book's contributors to a higher and wider level.
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About the Author
Born in Rome, Savio is an Italian/Argentine citizen. His career in the news media began with Italy's daily Il Popolo and he went on to become Director for News Services for Latin America with RAI, Italy's national broadcasting company. In 1964, he established Inter Press Service (IPS), a non-profit cooperative of journalists and experts specialising in global communications for development. IPS grew to become the world's fifth-largest news agency, providing daily balanced, in-depth and analytical coverage of the development process. It also offers communication services to improve South-South and South-North exchange and executes projects with international partners to open up communication channels to all social sectors. With the strengthening of the process of globalisation, IPS has dedicated itself to global issues, and has become the press agency of global civil society: more than 30,000 NGOs subscribe to its services and several million readers use its online services.
Since 1973, Savio has been a consultant on information and communication issues for many developing countries, designing the National Information Systems Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (ASIN) and the UNESCO-supported Latin American Features Service (ALASEI). He is the founder and managing director of the Technological Information Promotion System (TIPS), a major U.N. project to implement and foster technological and economic cooperation among developing countries. He was also instrumental in setting up the Women's Feature Service (WFS), initially an IPS service, now an independent NGO with headquarters in New Delhi.
Savio is a member of the Scientific Council of the World Global Forum, founded by Mikhail Gorbacev, which organises brainstorming among world leaders on the current international situation.
He is currently engaged in a campaign for the governance of globalisation, which takes him as a speaker to numerous conferences worldwide. He produces a continuous stream of articles and essays.