Information is power! If people do not have access to a free flow of information and ideas, they cannot make informed decisions about issues that directly effect the lives of themselves and others.
The media frequently ignores important issues and instead supplies the public with sensationalism, trivia and celebrity bullshit. Harmless fun perhaps, but surely the media's role should be to keep the public informed, and not simply to increase it's market share or sell advertising.
Could it be that the daily diet of trivia is provided to keep us passive and stupid? Could it be that they don't really want us to know what is going on in case we feel inspired to do something? Perhaps they would rather leave us feeling disempowered?
The media is predominately owned and controlled by huge corporations and rich individuals whose interests are at odds with the rest of us. Their vested interest in almost every major issue results in them offering a very narrow view of the world. Most commercial outlets are also very conscious of the views of their advertisers. Self censorship is rife and they have little choice but to express bias against those that try to change the status quo.
You have no doubt heard the expression 'don't believe everything you read in the papers' but the fact is that the media's spin does influence peoples perceptions of an issue.
Whether the issue is health, consumer safety, environmental preservation or democracy and world peace, citizens today find themselves confronted by a bewildering array of hired propagandists paid to convince the public that junk food is nutritious, pollution is harmless, and that what's good for big business and big government is good for the rest of us. [Center for Media & Democracy]
Unlike most advertising, public relations is often hard to recognise. "The best PR is invisible," say industry insiders. To spin the news in favour of their clients, PR firms specialise in setting up phoney citizens' groups and scientific "experts" who spin out contrived research using junk science.
People who have been involved in an event are often surprised at how it is later portrayed in the media. They wonder if they were at a different event and wonder how the reporters could have got things so wrong. Sometimes the facts may be correct but are given a misleading spin and often focus on some minor point or on personality rather than the issues. More often the facts are simply ignored as being an inconvenient but avoidable obstacle in furthering the publications particular agenda.
The major media corporations have a monopoly. Time-Warner, the world's largest media company, owns the 24-hour cable news channel CNN, controls 40% of US cable TV, owns 50 record labels and produces the magazines Time, Life, Money and People.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (third largest in the world after Disney), is hugely powerful in the UK. Murdoch controls over two thirds of the newspaper circulation in the country, owns The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and the News of the World, and also controls satellite BSkyB television, the publishers Harper Collins and Twentieth Century Fox. Meanwhile Murdoch's Star TV satellite service covers most of Asia and the Middle East, potentially reaching two thirds of the world's population.
HOG WASH & WHITE WASH Every day the papers and airwaves are filled with a continuous flow of misinformation and hogwash which we are expected to take seriously. And they ignore or throw scorn on the real issues and controversies. Below, we expose some of the underlying themes in, or out, of our 'free press'.
NEWS STORIES THEY MADE UP'Politics is about voting for politicians in elections'. In reality, all the forms and levels of government are part of a vast bureaucratic system controling us all - real politics is about people organising themselves to challenge this oppression, rather than scrawling an 'X' on a scrap of paper.
'Trust the authorities to sort out problems'. Whether its widespread poverty or homelessness, climate pollution, traffic problems or disintegrating communities, we are told that local and national government, companies and 'experts' are on the job, trying to find a solution. What a joke - they are the ones causing the trouble!
'The royals are interesting'. Acres of space are devoted to these rich, landowning parasites and their pathetic empty lives.
'Big business is there to service our needs'. Most of the media are financially dependant on adverts, which are basically just in-yer-face capitalist propaganda. So are most business-related news items. But companies are only interested in one thing - increasing their profits and power in our communities, by exploiting workers, customers and the environment.
STORIES THE MEDIA SUPPRESSED'Global social and environmental crisis'. The powers-that-be have run amok with our society and our planet, and are fully responsible for the huge crises and conflicts that have resulted. Those in charge are nothing more than ruthless, anti-social criminals who get off scot-free'.
'Wherever there is oppression there is resistance'. Even when the media are forced to recognise that there are serious problems facing us all, they ignore or slag off the campaigns and movements which are fighting for real change'.
'There are alternatives to capitalism'. Humans are quite capable of abolishing the current system based on power and profits, and creating a society based on sharing and freedom, in which people control their own lives and communities. No money, politicians or bosses! The media call it 'Utopia', we call it a necesssity.
'Ordinary people can make a difference''. Its not what the rich, the famous and the powerful do or say that counts, even when it makes front page - its what we think and do, in our everyday lives, our workplaces and communties....our hopes and fears, our feelings, our efforts to make our lives and our world a decent place to live in.
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE LIKE THISNever has it been easier or cheaper for us to create our own media. Cheap computers, photocopying and the Internet have resulted in an explosion in the amount of independent grassroots media available. You can now find out about stuff that may never be covered by the mainstream. You can examine the background issues that the mainstream glosses over or ignores. You can open your eyes to a world beyond consumer bullshit and showbiz hype.
We are not saying that you wont find inaccuracies, lies and bias in the alternative media but you will find different opinion to the state approved line and plenty that is never discussed at all. So remove your self imposed blinkers and check out some of the alternative media that bring you the stories that don't make it past corporate filters.
This News Sheet by: London Greenpeace - Active since 1971, opposing all forms of oppression. Information available on: opposing corporations, Anarchism, State borders, Animal Liberation and Revolution etc.
5 Caledonian Rd, London N1. Tel: 020 7713 1269. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think Globally - Act Locally, PO Box 1TA, Newcastle, NE99 1TA email@example.com http://www.newcastle54.freeserve.co.uk/think_index.htm
Haringey Community Action Newsletter of the locally-based Haringey Solidarity group, encouraging community self-organisation and campaigning. PO Box 2474, London N8 020 8374 5027
The Porkbolter http://www.worthing.eco-action.org/porkbolter/ The Porkbolter is an independent newsletter covering unfashionable causes like freedom, justice and nature. firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 4144, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 7NZ.
The New Internationalist is a guide to today's major issues. Each month NI focuses on a different theme, like Population or Prostitution, Africa or the Arms Trade. http://www.oneworld.org/ni 01858 439616
The Information Subway is a clearinghouse hub for independent media in the service of participatory self-government and democracy. http://www.infosubway.org/infosubway
The Direct Action Media Network (DAMN!) is a multi-media news service that covers direct actions that progressive organisations and individuals take to attain a peaceful, open and enlightened society. http://damn.tao.ca/index.html
Free Speech is the first, and only, audio/video webcasting site created entirely by its members. We believe that democratic media can and will change society for the better. http://www.freespeech.org
'Black to Black' Southbank Technopark, 90 London Road, London, SE1 6LN Quarterly newsletter providing a platform for black people to write about issues not normally covered by mainstream media. www.blink.org.uk 0171 717 1579
Center for media & democracy: http://www.prwatch.org
Corporate Watch (UK) Box E, 111 Magdelen Road, OX4 1RQ. Tel/Fax 01865 791391 email@example.com http://www.oneworld.org/cw/
Counter Information c/o Transmission, 28 King Street, Glasgow G1 5QP. Free quarterly news sheet produced by independent Scottish collective to assist in struggle against injustice, oppression and exploitation.
Earth First! Action Update c/o Manchester EF! Dept 29, 1 Newton street, M1 1HW Tel:0161 224 9846 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk/campaigns/ef/earthfirst.html Excellent monthly NVDA review, contacts, diary etc.
Genetix Update c/o Genetic Engineering Network PO box 9656, London N4 4JY 0181 374 9516 email@example.com Monthly round-up of the latest actions and research.
ARCNEWS P.O.Box 339, Wolverhampton, WV10 7BZ 01902 711935 / 0411 430446 An independent monthly animal rights magazine firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.arcnews.co.uk/
Schnews c/o On The Fiddle, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX Producers of the weekly direct action newsletter with the infamous column 'Crap Arrest of the Week'. Tel: 01273 685 913. www.schnews.org.uk/
PeaceNews reports of the activities of anti-militarist movements around the world http://www.gn.apc.org/peacenews/ email@example.com 5 caledonian rd, london N1 9DY 0171 278 3344
urban75 http://www.urban75.com/ urban75 is one of the UK's busiest underground websites featuring direct action, rave, drug info, unpublished stories, photos, rants and more.
Squall PO Box 8959, London N19 5HW. tel: 0171 561 1204 fax: 0171 272 9243. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.phreak.intermedia.co.uk/squall Kicking magazine for the active
Undercurrents http://www.undercurrents.org/welcome.htm 16b Cherwell Street, Oxford OX4 1BG tel: 01865 203 663 fax: 01865 243 562 email@example.com Biannual video direct action dubbed "the Pathe news of the '90's"