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The IMI Journal—June 2020 Edition: Pandemic, Police Violence and the Problems Facing Democracy

It is a common experience for us all that despite the flourishing of digital media in print, audio and video in the present era, it often comes up short.

Take COVID-19, and the question of whether having antibodies is of any meaningful consequence, or whether the virus is evolving into more potent or weaker strains, or whether the vaccine development process is going to happen, and estimates for when that’s going to happen. Answers to questions like those, when they can be found, are splintered and atomized across many publications and official organizations, hidden like Easter eggs among faulty, vague or useless information, and often lack context and necessary critiques of the politics that surround them.

Or take the way corporate media and local news outlets tend to report the injuries and deaths of innocent people caused by police: “They tripped,” “they posed an immediate threat,” “police departments say these weapons and surveillance are necessary,” etc.

Moments like these are reminders of the value of independent media in difficult times. There is a level of care in providing the public with accurate information from a perspective of what the public might actually make use of. That is so often lost when advertising and the prerogatives of power come into play.

That’s the difference from our approach—here’s some of the recent work we’ve produced with our many publishing partners in the U.S. and all over the world.

Sonali Kolhatkar wrote in her recent column that a big part of America’s racist policing problem is the tendency of “liberal” politicians and Democrats in big cities to support the almost unlimited funding of police departments nationwide, with no accountability. April Short’s powerful interview with activist Aqeela Sherrills tells the story of how one city known for high crime rates and racial tensions kept its protests non-violent.

Another recent article by April Short for Local Peace Economy shows us that many of the world’s best solutions for how to deal with the pandemic are not in the U.S.—many other countries have adopted models that Americans should follow. Jeff Bryant’s latest for Our Schools reminded us that for Trump’s cast of fiendish cabinet secretaries, this is a moment of opportunity. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is using the crisis to ram home her agenda at top speed. Earth | Food | Life’s Reynard Loki zoomed in on an overlooked issue of COVID-19, the soaring death rates of laboratory animals. Steven Rosenfeld’s steady coverage on the increased headaches of conducting elections during a pandemic for Voting Booth most recently took him to Georgia’s multifront disaster primary this June, a possible portent of what the national election could look like in November.

For Globetrotter, Prabir Purkayastha described the new arms race the U.S. is racing to start with China and Russia. M.K. Bhadrakumar explained what the friction between China and India is rooted in. Vijay Prashad explored who the rightful recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize might be as humanity works its way through the pandemic.

That’s just a small sampling of the amazing work of our fellows, amplified by the dedicated work of our editors and the rest of the staff.

I hope that if you haven’t already come to the conclusion that independent media is essential and worth supporting, that you will now.

Thanks from Jan Ritch-Frel and the team at the Independent Media Institute