WAM Addresses Inequalities In Media Representations, Access

The Women, Action and the Media Conference (WAM) began five years ago with a mandate to improve news coverage of women, people of color and other marginalized groups through grassroots media reform. With the advent of popular social networks like My Space, Facebook, You Tube and a deluge of blogs, opportunities has been provided for traditionally shut out voices to get a spotlight.

Chicana blogger and media justice activist Brownfemipower, spoke on a panel discussing immigration as a feminist issue. She says her blog gives her an opportunity to have real debates about immigration with anti-immigration advocates online.

“A lot of people who dislike what I have to say somehow find their way to my blog and want to have a discussion,” she said. “It’s really great.”

As the War on Terror rages on overseas, American Muslims have also found a channel to voice their dissent with the war in Iraq and “Islamofascism” at home.

“There is a growing number of message boards and blogs where Muslims are having serious discussions about their faith and life in America,” said Asra Nomani, former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam. “Some of the discussion is really changing how Americans once viewed Muslims.”

While there is a revolution taking place in cyberspace, there are still large segments of American society that are being left out of the new digital frontier. With nearly half of Americans not having high speed internet access in their homes and a larger number being forced to switch from analog to digital television by next year, there were also workshops on how to close the digital gap.

In a workshop called “Media, Technology and Social Justice,” attendees had an interactive discussion about what needs to be done to make technology available to all.

What is Media Justice?
• Media that reflects cultural, civic and economic diversity and equally accessible to all

What are the key trends preventing Media Justice?
• Lack of diversity
• Equality in access to all mediums
• Fairness and accountability
• Media obsession with celebrity
• Entertainment posing as news
• Mass media appeal to large groups rather than community building
• Privacy at risk
• Glamorization of violence
• Devaluing poor people

• More media justice lobbyists in DC to work on these issues
• Universal internet access
• Community training on web tools
• More internet cafes, especially in low income communities

It’s a start… To learn about joining the media reform movement go to the Media Action Center or Free Press.



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