What is Media Democracy Day?

[Quoted from www.mediademocracyday.org]

A day of action based on three themes:

Education - understanding how the media shapes our world and our democracy

Protest - against a media system based on commercialization and exclusiveness

Change - calls for media reforms that respond to public interests, promote diversity, and ensure community representation and accountability.

What is Media Democracy Day? Why is it? Who is it for?

More & more people are concluding that the dominant, agenda-setting big media are a problem for democracy, and a key obstacle to positive social change.

Why should that be? According to the civics textbooks, journalism is supposed to provide a quality of information, and a wide range of perspectives and voices, to promote participation in public discussion, and informed citizenship. But behind the buzzwords of the day — convergence, global competitiveness, de-regulation, consumer choice — the reality is a media system with fewer and fewer owners controlling more and more media outlets (eg. General Electric, Time/Warner/AOL, - and CanWest/GlobeMedia/Rogers in Canada). More and more integrated into the profit-making imperatives of trans-national conglomerates. More and more driven by marketing and commercial pressures rather than an ethic of public service. More and more shaped by the corporate agenda and its neo-liberal ideology of slashing taxes for the wealthy, and public services for the rest of us.

No wonder the American writer Robert McChesney (author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy; and Corporate Media & the Threat to Democracy) says:

Regardless of what a progressive group's first issue of importance is, its second issue should be media and communication, because so long as the media are in corporate hands, the task of social change will be vastly more difficult, if not impossible, across the board.

So, who is MD Day for?

In short, Media Democracy Day is for anybody who is skeptical of the profit-centred agenda of the big media and wants to see their news & views presented in a fair manner that promotes broad-based democratic debate and action.