Media Reform For What?

From The People's Guide to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, "Media Reform For What?" by Janine Jackson (FAIR).

"As we go forward we need to keep asking ourselves: 'Media reform for what?'

Do we want to break up dominant media conglomerations because it sounds better that there be a smaller number of companies? No. Media reform is not an academic exercise. Bad media hurts real people. Better media would help real people. Media reform means gaining the power to speak and to be heard. And that means taking some of the power from people who have it now. So, done right, media reform is dangerous.

* I want truly democratic media because 45 million Americans don't have health insurance and a lot of them think it is their fault.

* I want democratic media because black and brown kids go to jail because of what somebody read in the newspaper about 'super predators'.

* I want truly democratic media because public television just said that a family with lesbian mothers is unfit to be acknowledged on the network that you and I pay for.

* And I want truly democratic media because, if we had it, tens of thousands, perhaps one hundred thousand people, who have died in Iraq might be alive today.

Media reform is not an academic exercise. It is a crucial problem for our time and asking ourselves 'Media reform for what?' will help us keep our eyes on what we are ultimately fighting for. And it will remind us to acknowledge and celebrate the real and concrete successes that we will not doubt achieve on our way towards our bigger goals."

Janine Jackson, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Media Reform Conference, St. Louis, May 2005

Read the People's Guide to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, from the Alliance for Community Media and the Community Media Review.

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