1. We believe that attempts of social and political change will depend almost exclusively on the possibility of transforming the media system.
2. We believe the mainstreammedia holdings perpetuate the status quo: a globalized socioeconomic system that is largely dominated by large multinational corporations. In this system, these media moguls are an important part of a constellation of forces that make the big decisions.
3. We believe that while the audience is segmenting and diversifying itself, media companies are intertwining and concentrating, making the oligopolies found in the media some of the world's largest. This is how the tendency to standardize content and lowering quality takes place. This conflict between globalization's diversified supply and the commercial homogenization of the audience is applicable, primarily, to policies of transnational standardization of publics deployed by broadcasting companies around the world.
4. We consider information a public good and the media a public service. Rather than mislead and scatter us, we need the media to make us aware of the challenges we face. and help us find and share solutions.
5. We believe that citizens have two possibilities: either one wants to be informed or just wants to vaguely know what is happening. In the first case, one can reach his/her objective by cutting and pasting information. We not only have newspapers, but also magazines and books to do so. We must be willing to do it, and this means active work.
6. Many people believe that the easiest way to change our information and communication systems would be to initiate alternate means of communication and knowledge creation. This is not viable because: first, such efforts will be undermined; second, if an alternate is created, it will tend to the same urge to be controlled; third because in the meanwhile we will still need to communicate through existing mechanisms. On the other hand, in regards to information and communication, we need to seek quality and not quantity, at least to start with.
7. We believe the main reason for the problems we face today in the communication system is the pursuit of personal interests. In order to obtain their own interests major groups formed alliances, helping each other. To avoid the occurrence of such things, governments must enable the entrance of other competitive forces in this market, through laws and regulations that would create more competition and less monopoly. In order to have an effective media system, governments have to be independent from it, and be able to guarantee it plays its role.
8. We believe that mass media operate in spaces and frequencies that constitute key social resources. Private ownership of the media should therefore be subject to the interests and needs of communities. Neutral mechanisms and clear commitments should be established to balance the dissemination of messages in such a way that it reflects the diversity of opinions, tastes and demands of the audience, and become an open forum for the expression of ideas and education. Mass communication has to be used to promote human development, artistic and cultural flourishing, and the expansion of knowledge, not to cheat or to keep people as passive consumers.
9. We believe no concessions should be made to non-elected political actors in control of information. Rather the genuine public interest that is served by these cultural industries has to be clearly identified in distinction from the narrow interests the sector it also serves. Such public interest must then, in those few areas that they are in tension with the right to freedom of speech, be balanced through democratic deliberation, legislation and enforcement.
10. To avoid the concentration of the media in few hands, we need to introduce a carefully calibrated level of global regulation, under UN auspices, that acts on the understanding that media concentration is now a global issue, beyond national boundaries and control.
11. We believe it is necessary for states to legislate on the majority local ownership of all media.
12. We believe it is necessary to impose restrictions on the repatriation of funds from global media companies.
13. We believe it is necessary to restrict political, commercial and other interests interfering in the media, through the implementation of a Media Council and / or boards of directors composed of representatives of media professionals, representatives of parliamentarians, professional associations, unions, NGOs, etc... Offering plural and transparent advice on public meetings and live broadcasts, to ensure the quality and accuracy of the information and programs, with advocates of users very attentive to the claims, complaints and suggestions from the public.
14. We believe it is very difficult and dangerous to try to ensure the right to truthful information and to avoid the manipulation of information by regulating or through a top-down imposition. We must multiply social references that discuss and highlight manipulations and biases in the information provided. People will slowly get used to follow some of these social referents, feel interested in their editorials and analysis, and prioritize and access the news and those approaches that they recommend.
Governance of advertising
15. We believe the control of advertising is basically a governance issue. The advertisement industry must be regulated and made responsible within the national boundaries according to the socio-cultural values of that society.
16. We believe that the financing of the general media, like all public service has to be assumed by the public via the state budget as a solution to avoid advertising as ""propaganda"" that promotes consumerism and condition and free content media
17. We want to see laws introduced allowing consumers to sue for damages if ads are misleading, untruthful or can be shown to be objectively incorrect. Promises made - e.g. as to health effects of food or drugs - should have to be guaranteed (product liability). This would do away with a lot of unsubstantiated advertising.
18. We believe that media should undertake more serious analysis on its operations, even if it is only so that everyone knows how they work and that they are not reluctant to inspection, introspection and criticism. They should not have a privileged position. They do not exist to judge others, not to be judged in turn. It is important that when mistakes are made, they are recognized. Only then education is taking place.
19. We believe that in order to reverse the concentration trend:
19.1. At the local and national levels: foster solidarity to obtain a better-quality job, for example with the creation of networks to facilitate program coordination and the exchange of information, sharing experiences and innovative technologies. Invent alternative media.
19.2. At the regional level: identify the institutions and individuals likely to engage in lobbying and advocacy. Create databases.
19.3. At the international level: strengthen South-North cooperation. Planning meetings between networks. Cooperate in political advocacy.
20. We believe that in order to encourage the media and communications industry to promote the common good and not to divide societies, we shall need to offer attractive alternatives that deliberately use language and stories to unite people. This should be accompanied by appropriate education of consumers and in schools. Children’s programming can be very useful to instill acceptance and respect forothers.
21. We propose that every community should have one local media funded “equally among local people.” We have to empower ourselves by introducing an education system that uses the critical consciousness approach of Paulo Freire. To revitalize a centralized society, we need to revitalize so-called local-media, including FM-radio and local electric forms of newsletters.
22. We want to have media oriented towards the common good, with an egalitarian system that makes us more aware of the problems we face and help us find and share solutions:
22.1. Increasing government investment in public national and local media.
22.2. Encouraging the establishment of news agencies that counterbalance the spread of biased information and the agenda-setting according to commercial expediency and / or based on the conceptual and ideological conceptions of conventional agencies. For example, to support cultural diversity and independent, unorthodox thinking, instead of the current globalizing homogenization.
22.3. Promoting non-fiction content and flooding local media with news products that address social problems.
22.4. Promoting and subsidizing content focused on local cultures.
22.5. Organizing seminars, workshops and discussion groups in schools and universities on the role of media in a developing society.
22.6. Organizing workshops on interregional social media.
22.7. Sensitizing viewers, readers, and listeners through national campaigns on values, culture and local distinctiveness.
22.8. Imposing restrictions through legislation on the amount of advertising per hour of programming.
22.9. Ensuring that at least half the profits are invested in social content of public service, with no advertising.
22.10. Acting through the educational system and sociocultural networks to provide adequate training and the involvement of cultural promoters (socio-cultural leaders).
22.11. Betting on the digitalization and interactivity of the media, thus creating new news providers, cultural products, social activities (including training in digital journalism and digital production), etc; but at the same time, taking care of influencing the organization of these new forms of social information and communication, and growing with them.
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Written by J.Elissalde at 03 / 12 / 2010
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