Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 5:18am
DIGITAL MEDIA: THE NEXT FRONTIER FOR MEDIA REFORM
[SOURCE: AlterNet, AUTHOR: Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy]
[Commentary] On Friday, several thousand U.S. media activists will converge in Memphis to attend the Free Press group's "National Conference for Media Reform." Much of the conference is focused on current and upcoming public policy battles designed to help make this country's media system more democratic. Right now there is greater interest in media policy than we have seen since the 1960s. Among the key concerns is fighting against the Federal Communications Commission's current plan to permit greater consolidation of our nation's newspapers and broadcast stations; battling Congress over the broadband Internet (network neutrality); and highlighting the lack of ownership of media outlets by women and people of color. These are important topics, but the real action it requires must take place outside of the D.C. beltway. Our most urgent task is to proactively intervene to shape -- on behalf of progressive values -- the emerging commercial digital communications system. This will require a strategic intervention to create sustainable "new media" services that help harness the power of digital media to better promote social justice. Our digital media system will have the capability to help "define" political and social "reality" for the majority of Americans. Unless progressives can seriously "program" the new media -- in every community and across the nation -- we will face even greater obstacles promoting our agendas.
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