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Global Experiences of Media Reform: Activists and Academics Speak on Localism and Consolidation

November 8, 2011
04:00PM - 06:30PM

Temple University


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Categories: Panel Discussion

This event brings together activists, scholars, and students to appraise global experiences of media reform. Over the last two decades we have witnessed intense deregulation of media policy around the world. Recognizing the importance of plural and diverse media to a well functioning and accountable democracy, communities across the Americas have been fighting for local media representation and access to media production, challenging the consolidation of media in the United States and Latin America.

In the United States, the work of media activists over the past ten years has finally started to bear fruit. On January 4th, President Obama signed the bipartisan Local Community Radio Act, making possible thousands of new community radio stations. On July 7th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected the FCC’s attempt to further deregulate media ownership. Meanwhile, in Argentina, after decades of struggle, the government has passed new legislation to challenge the corporate consolidation of media; and in Venezuela, grassroots media activists have aligned with the controversial government of Hugo Chávez to expand legislation and funding structures to sustain community media projects.

Bringing together academics and activists whose work focuses on changing media policy and practices in these contexts, this event will highlight the efforts to gain access to communications systems in times of information deprivation and crisis. Panelists will address media policy, justice, activism, state involvement in media systems, and the meaning of a free press in the Americas.


Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University, and editor of the journal Public Culture.   Klinenberg’s first book, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, won six scholarly and literary prizes.  Professor Klinenberg’s second book, Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media, offers insight into the increasingly consolidated media landscape and the political and grassroots fight to regain control of America’s media.

April Glaser is an undergraduate student at Temple University majoring in Philosophy. Glaser was instrumental in the creation of Radio Free Nashville, a low power community radio station in the backyard of her home in Tennessee (documented in Professor Klinenberg’s book Fighting for Air). Glaser moved to Philadelphia in 2006 to work with the Prometheus Radio Project where she organized public testimony for the FCC Public Hearings about Media Consolidation in 2006-2007 nationwide.  Her organizing efforts with Prometheus’ national campaign helped propel the passage of the 2011 Local Community Radio Act, which expands the low power FM radio service for noncommercial community groups.

Damián Loreti is Vice Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires and holds the UNESCO-AUGM Chair in Freedom of Expression, Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of La Plata, Argentina. Loreti is a prominent lawyer and intellectual who has served as legal counselor to the Argentine Federation of Press Workers. He also serves as the legal counselor at PERIODISTAS (Association for the Defense of the Independent Journalism). He was instrumental in the decades-long struggle to pass media reform legislation in 2009 to deconsolidate ownership of Argentina’s media.

Jesús Suárez is Director of Catia TVe, Venezuela’s oldest and most prominent community television station. For the past decade Suárez has been organizing in the low-income barrios of Caracas to teach television production skills and advocate for the importance of local control over media outlets.

Pete Tridish was a member of the founding collective of Radio Mutiny, 91.3 FM in Philadelphia, and a founder of the Prometheus Radio Project. He participated in the rulemaking that led up to the adoption of LPFM, and 10 years of further rulemaking that followed. Tridish fought against consolidation of media ownership, and was involved in the lawsuit Prometheus vs. the FCC, which stopped the FCC from weakening media ownership rules. He also worked to pass the Local Community Radio Act, which will allow for thousands of new community radio stations across the country.

Co-Moderator: Dan Denvir is a staff writer for the Philadelphia CityPaper.

Co-Moderator: Naomi Schiller is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Temple University. Over the past decade, she has done research on media and politics in Venezuela. She is currently completing her book manuscript,Televising the Revolution: Community Media, the State, and Popular Politics in Venezuela based on ethnographic research with community television producers in Caracas.