Media Culture Manifesto

We live in a media-driven, commercial culture.
We live in a media-driven, commercial culture. We can't escape the ever-increasing waves of advertising, infotainment, fluff and mayhem that hit us at every turn. Meanwhile, our public spaces are eroding, and what were once safe havens -- schools, museums, libraries, parks -- are now awash in commercial messages.

Inside this tsunami of information, we try to find the news and inspiration we can use and trust, and we seek connections with others who share our values and concerns.

Much of our media misery can be attributed to privatization and deregulation of the public airwaves, a trend that has produced the mega-conglomerates we love to hate. Media moguls like Rupert Murdoch of the News Corporation, Sumner Redstone of Viacom and Steve Case of AOL have unprecedented influence over a government that wants to turn virtually everything over to the private domain.

Thus the media has become a battlefield for those who believe that a healthy democracy requires noncommercial access to the tools of communication.

There are two struggles in this battlefield. One is to fight the power -- to do battle with the free marketers who want to end all restrictions on media ownership and who threaten the freedom and diversity we currently enjoy on the Internet.

The other strategy is to independently produce the best media we can, and to share it with as many people as possible. Fortunately, the Internet has given us media tools we couldn't have imagined a short time ago and, as a result, the world of independent media -- especially online media -- is healthy and booming.

This MediaCulture page is dedicated to both these necessary tasks. With your help, we will fight the hyper-consolidated system and celebrate the hearty souls doing the heavy lifting for media democracy. We also will highlight the best media voices, analysis and criticism, and the clever ways today's independent media-makers are getting their messages out. And while we're at it, we'll have some fun.
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