A 2015 Media manifesto is set to be launched in parliament today. The manifesto - put together by the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom together with the Media Reform Coalition – calls for a diversification of the media, in order to support a more democratic society.
The power of the media in shaping an election process has been well documented. It is strikingly apparent that, in the UK, the media is controlled by a small concentration of white male voices and this amounts to a grossly unfair distribution of power. The manifesto amongst other aims, seeks to place controls on media ownership, to push for well-funded independent public media services and to call for greater transparency in the media. Given the proliferation of scandals in recent years, these aims are of the utmost importance.
The news media, through biased and racist reporting, have for a long time played a role in the negative perceptions of blackness. Black males have been depicted as thugs and gangstas and the black family has, too often, been represented as dysfunctional. We hear regularly of black-on-black crime, but never white-on-white crime. Most recently the media machine is stirring up hate and Islamophobic sentiment. Unsurprisingly we have seen a rise in hate crimes against Muslims. The media also controls our image of what is successful, popular, and beautiful; very rarely do we see black faces in positive news stories. Such distortion can only support white privilege in society. In this regard, media sources such as Maroon News, The Voice, Media Diversified and others are abundantly important and must be supported.
You can sign the Media Reform Coalition’s petition for a more diverse media here. The launch is open to all and takes place in committee room 9 of Parliament on Wednesday 18th March, 6:30pm.
As Malcolm X observed, ‘the media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.’