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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

September, 2006

 

It's The Media Stupid
By Zhenya Spake and Barbara Bogard

Independent Media Committee, Marin Peace & Justice Coalition
and Kim Weichel, Our Media Voice
Media, as we well know, is the central nervous system of our society and has a profound influence on our daily lives. It shapes how we see our world and drives public opinion and public policy. In order to have a true democracy we need media that's free to include many perspectives. Yet the public primarily consumes media owned by only a handful of corporations, reducing the variety of perspectives and the depth of our awareness.
According to The Center for Creative Voices in Media, just six media conglomerates own approximately 75% of all media outlets. However, most people agree that meaningful participation in a democracy requires an informed public. This is where the burgeoning independent media movement takes on a crucial role: providing access to the voices so often excluded.

So what does independent media offer? It champions free speech, freedom of the press, public access and input. It is here we find compassionate and critical thinking and a real capacity to question and imagine. It delivers on the issues and news that impact our lives, with focus, context and nuance. Independent media inspires our communities to reconcile our differences and to act on our shared hopes.

In Marin, we have launched a campaign, "Choosing our Media, Changing our World," that promotes independent media. Turning to an independent channel, website or paper is not simply changing the bias, it is being open to real stories that stir our hearts and inform our understandings. If individuals and communities support the media that supports us all, we can create a positive force for social change.

We have recently produced a high quality Independent Media Guide for Marin County. The guide lists radio, TV, Internet and press and serves as a gateway into the world of independent media. Some featured sources include CommonDreams, Guns and Butter, Crooks and Liars, AlterNet, Yes! Magazine, The Coastal Post and Democracy Now! We are distributing over 15,000 free copies throughout the county. You can download a copy or find out where to obtain one at http://www.mpjc.org/imc

On September 17th, at 1 PM, our campaign invites everyone to hear Amy Goodman, one of the premier independent radio journalists in the country and host of Democracy Now! She will be joined by her brother and co-author of their new book, 'Static', as well as musicians Jon Fromer and Shree Dove and political satirist Roy Zimmerman, plus a video presentation by Link TV. This Celebration of Independent Media will take place at Angelico Hall, Dominican University in San Rafael. Visit our website at http://www.mpjc.org/imc for more information.

Do you have a stake in shaking up and shifting the American media diet? Increasingly, those concerned about people and planet in these troubled and compelling times realize we need media we can count on. Whatever our interests, there are two media, independent and corporate, that deliver or diminish the messages that are most important to us. It's time that independent media become commonplace.


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