The printed (French-speaking) alternative media in Belgium: Journalism or activism?

Robin Van Leeckwyck


This article provides an insight into the Belgian alternative media landscape. Ten French-speaking printed media are analysed to understand how they develop a socio-economic structure that allows independence from any financial sources and to establish their goals regarding the media and society. The methodology is based on interviews and analysis of the background and descriptions of these media. Findings show three categories of media: journalism-oriented (with the objective of practising another journalism); content-oriented (focused on specific issues); and counter-hegemonic-oriented (promoting another society). A clear distinction emerges between them. On one side, media-centred alternatives are developed by professional journalists, who may accept advertising and whose goal is to provide another journalism (deep or slow journalism) without the constraints of traditional media (speed, low-paying jobs, influence of capital, etc.). On the other side, society-centred alternatives are independent from advertising and are composed of non-professional journalists (volunteers) willing to provide a strong alternative voice and opposed to the hegemonic discourses of traditional media, an approach that is very close to activism.


Activism, alternative media, Belgium, democracy, journalism, mediactivism, public sphere

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