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Media Justice: A Women's Issue

There is no "media democracy," no media justice, without women.

Women In Media & News is a consistent progressive feminist voice for women as stakeholders in the media reform and media justice movements, insisting that the "universal" issues of structural and economic reform are understood as interconnected with (and not more important than) institutional biases around gender, race, class and sexuality in media content and in the media industry.

The following is a selection of WIMN's published articles on institutional media bias and the need for feminist reform, followed by writings and campaigns by women working domestically and internationally for media justice. WIMN's staff and board members have also participated in numerous panels and conferences on these issues.

Please contact WIMN if you would like to submit feminist writings on the need for media reform and the movement for media justice.

Articles and Essays by WIMN

• "Reclaiming the Media for a Progressive Feminist Future," Jennifer L. Pozner, Media Development, a quarterly magazine of the World Association of Christian Communications, Issue 2005/3. (An abridged version of this essay appeared in the post-election "instant book" What We Do Now, Melville House, December 2004.)

• "Where are the people in the 'public interest'? U.S. media activism and the search for constituency," Aliza Dichter, WIMN board member, Media Development, Winter 2004

• "The Big Lie: False Feminist Death Syndrome, Profit, and the Media," Jennifer L. Pozner, essay published in Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century, Northeastern University Press, Spring 2003. A brief excerpt was republished in the Asheville Global Report Online, Dec. 5-11, 2002

• "Billionaires, Public Interest Angels and the FCC," Jennifer L. Pozner, TomPaine.com, March 21, 2002. This political satire about corporate media ownership, consolidation and monopoly was written by "Mya Cash, Media Mogul," the "billionaire alter-ego" of WIMN's executive director.


Campaigns, Speeches and Publications by WIMN's Allies

Progressive women are leading the charge for institutional media change, organizing in local communities and working in national and international organizations. This section looks at some of their efforts.

• In this keynote address at the WAM!2006 Women, Action & Media conference, April 1, 2006 (listen on Uprising Radio), Maria Hinojosa (senior correspondent for NOW on PBS) discusses the challenges and opportunities she's faced trying to effect change as a journalist working within mainstream and public broadcast media, including CNN, PBS, NPR and WNBC-TV (NY).

• The entire 2005/3 issue of Media Development magazine is dedicated to the theme of media and gender justice. Many articles are a must-read for understanding women's media change movement in the United States (via WIMN's essay, "Reclaiming the Media for a Progressive Feminist Future") and especially abroad, with pieces on gender, race and class issues as pertains to media in Nigeria, Serbia, China, France, the Caribbean. The following articles offer insights into institutional media change issues and the relevance for women:

• "Justice By Any Name," Malkia Cyril, Youth Media Council, Opening plenary speech at the at the National Conference on Media Reform, May 13, 2005.

Excerpt: "... By adopting a raced, classed and gendered lens to examine issues of media content, access and infrastructure, we can dispel three dangerous myths. The first myth is that the U.S. media used to be more democratic and has become less so over time ... The second myth is that communication rights are inherently individual civil rights guaranteed by citizenship ... The third and final myth we must dismantle is that we can achieve a free press without also working to end racism, sexism and class oppression ... If we want to bring about real change, the media reform movement must adopt a movement-building analysis, change model and vision that centers racial, economic and gender justice. Media Justice is a framework for media policy change that seeks to expose structural racism and class oppression in our media system, use local organizing campaigns to root our victories, develop marginalized communities as media activists and leaders, and build an expansive movement for communication rights. We want accountability, alternatives and a media reform movement that spins on an axis of self determination and strategic alliance ..."


• "Media Reform For What," Janine Jackson, FAIR, Opening plenary speech at the National Conference on Media Reform, May 13, 2005

Excerpt: "... So, we have been successful: People are talking about media reform. But as we move forward I think we have to keep asking ourselves: Media Reform For What? Do we want to break up dominant media corporations because it just sounds better to have a larger number of owners? No. Media reform is not an academic exercise. Bad media hurts real people. Better media would help real people. Media reform means gaining the power to speak and be heard, and taking some of that power from those that have it now. Media reform is dangerous. Let me be clear: I want truly democratic media because: 45 million Americans don't have health insurance, and many of them believe it's their fault; I want better media because: black and brown kids go to jail because of what someone read in the paper about 'superpredators'; I want democratic media because: public TV just said that a family with lesbian mothers is unfit to be acknowledged on the network you and I pay for; I want truly democratic media because: if we had it, tens of thousands of people who have died in Iraq might be alive today..."


• "Internet Governance and Gender Issues," Kathambi Kinoti interviews Mavic Cabrera-Balleza of the International Women's Tribune Centre, for the Association for Women's Rights In Development, Aug. 12, 2005

• "Reflecting on ICTs, Women's Activism and Silences at Beijing +10 - Interview with Mavic Cabrera-Balleza," Jacsm Kee interviews Mavic Cabrera-Balleza of the International Women's Tribune Centre about her work using information and communications technology (ICT) and her thoughts on issues of gender and ICT policy as well as the challenges facing women's movements in this respect, May 1, 2005.

• "How are groups working to ensure that women will have equitable rights within the information society?" Janice Duddy of the Association for Women's Rights In Development discusses the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) with Chat Garcia Ramilo, project manager, Association for Progressive Communications Women's Networking Support Programme, and Anne S. Walker, special projects coordinator, International Women's Tribune Centre.

• "What is the role of the WSIS-Gender Caucus at the World Summit on the Information Society?" Janice Duddy interviews Gillian Marcelle, founding convenor of the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) Gender Caucus.

• "Women and Media: The Need for Policy," Media Development, Issue 2000/3; this issue is devoted to women and media policy issues. Sample article headlines include "Developing gender sensitive communications policies," "Don't abandon safeguards in the name of freedom of expression," "Globalisation of the media and its implications for women's expression," and more.

Feminist International Radio Endeavor is the first women's Internet radio project. FIRE has broadcast from several United Nation's women's conferences and amplifies the voices of women's rights activists all over the world. FIRE's Maria Suarez Toro speaks regularly about how the need to maintain free, independent radio is directly related to women's ability to communicate and advocate for their survival.

Anatomy of Radio 101, at The Women's Radio Fund, offers an outline for choosing and funding radio projects. It was produced by Wings: Women's International News Gathering Service to educate progressive philanthropists about the ways in which radio functions as a feminist organizing tool.

• The National Organization for Women is one of the only major national feminist organizations that consistently prioritizes institutional media reform as part of their women's rights agenda. Visit NOW's media section for the information on media activism and an archive of resolutions, press releases and articles.

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