Download page  DOWNLOAD eBOOK FOR FREE! as Word-document > 443 KB (443 KB) as PDF-document > 801 KB (801 KB)


In this section of Global Fix we present the draft made by the members of FixGov, discussing the (democratic) role of the media.

The values we endorse are: true information, knowledge, sound judgement, independent news gathering, democratic communication.










original proposal: Liane Casten / Richard Stimson >>>
















































Join our discussion on the media >>>

The draft of FixGov.

Members of the FixGov forum seem to have arrived at the following consensus on necessary reforms for the media:

1. Information media (including newspapers, magazines, books, television, radio, digital communication, and cinema) must be free of government censorship of facts and opinions. What are reasonable restrictions involving national security and decency will always be debatable. Governments tend to err on the side of too much restriction.

2. The media must also be free of censorship by commercial cartels, which have been concentrating ownership of all types of media across national boundaries, putting these corporations in position to block and/or distort information to suit their commercial and political interests. As many people recognize what is happening, public trust in the media is undermined.

3. In the case of print media, full information and diversity of views is most likely to prevail when there is the maximum of competition. Government should not interfere with publication, but it should enforce strong antitrust laws to prevent economic power from driving out competition.

4. The broadcast media should likewise consist of independent television and radio stations, not having interlocking ownership and control with print media, and certainly not dominated by parent companies that are primarily interested in entertainment products and/or conflicting commercial activities.

5. Although the BBC has built a reputation for quality television and often broadcasts information displeasing to the government in power, it is dangerous, in general, for government to have a monopoly or dominance of the airwaves, as demonstrated in many countries where that situation has turned broadcasting into a government propaganda machine.

6. In the United States the Public Broadcasting System once provided a useful counterpoint to commercial television, but the attacks of Newt Gingrich on public television have largely converted it into an imitation of commercial TV with sponsored messages and promotional announcements. National Public Radio has retained more of its objectivity under this pressure.

7. Government does have an important role in broadcasting, however, because frequencies have been allocated under international agreement and the spectrum available in each country is controlled by government, unlike the unlimited possibilities for print media in a free society. Broadcast rights should be auctioned periodically for the highest bid offered by a responsible party guaranteeing to provide a public service in an equitable manner.

8. During election campaigns, in particular, broadcasters should be required to provide a reasonable amount of free time for political discussions with all candidates treated equally. There should also by something along the lines of the "Fairness Doctrine" formerly enforced by the United States Federal Communications Commission to require that if one point of view is presented on the air equal time must be given to opposing opinions.

9. A limit on commercial messages (including their own promotions) should be a condition of broadcast licenses, as it was until the 1980s in the United States, and certainly 100% commercial programs known as "infomercials" should be completely prohibited.

10. Newspapers and broadcasters need to be freed from the control of corporate cartels. Since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 there has been a parade of media mergers and over 4,000 radio stations have been bought up in the United States, while television networks are now in the hands of huge corporations like General Electric, Viacom, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch also controls large portions of the television and newspaper media in Great Britain, Australia, and elsewhere. Corporate media have done their best to hide corporate scandals and to downplay or distort any protests against corporations.

11. Material reported as coming from "think tanks" needs to be labeled with information about the bias of such sources. They generally claim to be nonpartisan research organizations, while actually slanting their writings toward one party or against other and showing little evidence of any objective research despite their tax-exempt status.

12. Because the mainstream media coverage of protests against WTO, IMF and World Bank abuses, such as at Seattle and Genoa and at the Republican and Democratic conventions, distorts the events (stressing violent actions and ignoring the message of peaceful protesters), it is important that independent media be able to continue reporting on and other Internet sites. The Internet itself must be kept free of control by governments and private monopolies.

13. Local organizations should be allowed to operate low-power radio as another means of conveying information independent of the media cartel. So far, the lobbying power of the National Association of Broadcasters with Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has blocked such efforts in the United States on spurious claims of interference with commercial radio signals.

14. Writing letters to the editor of publications sometimes is a way of circulating information that is ignored in the news columns. Editors try to exhibit fairness by publishing letters expressing varied view, including ones disagreeing with the paper's editorial policy. Such letters may have little impact, but they can start people thinking.

15. It is important for individuals to get information "outside the box"--the television box, that is. The "infotainment" supplied by the media cartel tends to structure people's thinking in a way that makes them avid consumers with short attention spans and little interest in matters of substance. It builds and reinforces stereotypes (that some scientists label "memes" or "holodynes") that prejudice a person's thinking and reaction to new information.

16. There are dangers in the recent trend to protect corporate profits with the concept of “intellectual property” embodied in copyright extension long beyond the lifetime of the innovators, overreaching software patents, and international enforcement agreements. Unreasonable copyright and patent provisions need to be reversed.


"Public opinion in this country is

Abraham Lincoln, speech, Columbus Ohio,

"You can fool some of the people all of
the time, and all of the people some of
the time, but you cannot fool all of the
people all of the time."

Abraham Lincoln, speech, 1856


Subscribe to FixGov



Civic society
Online book


Subscribe to FixGov

© 2003 aideon webdesign
mail to webmaster