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Strategies for Media ReformInternational Perspectives$
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Des Freedman, Jonathan Obar, Cheryl Martens, and Robert W. McChesney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271641

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271641.001.0001

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Media Reform

Media Reform

An Overview

(p.3) Chapter One Media Reform
Strategies for Media Reform

Des Freedman

Jonathan A. Obar

Fordham University Press

Media reform is a great and formidable challenge. Across international contexts, reformers are inspired by what the late C. Edwin Baker referred to as the democratic distribution principle for communicative power: “a claim that democracy implies as wide as practical a dispersal of power within public discourse” (Baker, 2007, p. 7). The challenge is made manifest in battles over the future of investigative journalism, media ownership, spectrum management, speech rights, broadband access, network neutrality, the surveillance apparatus, digital literacy and many others waged in pursuit of the normative ideals at the heart of Baker’s vision. At the same time, those committed to media reform confront formidable challenges: entrenched commercial interests and media conglomerates; sometimes powerful, sometimes disorganized and sometimes neoliberal governments; a general public often disenfranchised, digitally illiterate and not focused on issues of media reform; and always, the uphill battle of organization, mobilization and influence that is the work of any activist. In light of these significant challenges, the central question addressed by this volume is: What strategies might be utilized to overcome these obstacles in the pursuit of media reform?

Keywords:   digital activism, international communication, media activism, media power, media reform, reform strategies, social movement

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