The UK’s media is struggling to do its job. The pandemic and Brexit have shown how far we are from having the media that we need – trusted institutions which can help a divided society talk to each other and hold the powerful to account. We can’t rely on private media companies to meet the challenges we face. We need media which is owned by us, accountable to us, where we all get to play a part in creating it: we need to build a media commons.
The BBC and Beyond is a campaign from the Media Reform Coalition. After dozens of conversations and 9 highly successful events (watched by 30,000 people) we have written a Manifesto for a People’s Media, which contains a vision of a media commons fit for the future.
Join us as build a movement to demand the media we deserve.
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Our Manifesto for a People’s Media is out! It imagines a system where significant new public investment and new forms of participation ensure that our media are independent, accountable, democratic and for everyone. And it contains a wide range of proposals to build towards that vision by transforming the BBC and Channel 4, and properly supporting independent media.
The Manifesto covers a lot of ground, and there are lots of parts of it which are only painted in broad brush strokes. For those who want to deep dive, we’ve written a series of blogs exploring ideas in the manifesto in more detail.
ACTIONS & EVENTS
Petition for a People’s BBC
The BBC is ours. But for it to truly serve the public, it has to change. It’s time for a People’s BBC. A People’s BBC would be:
- funded by a fair alternative to the licence fee
- fully independent of government
- devolved and democratised, so decisions are made much closer to home and citizens get to have a say
Join our events at the Media Democracy Festival 2022 – full programme here.
July 14th, 2021. With Anamik Saha, Goldsmiths; Francesca Sobande, Cardiff University; Penny Wangari-Jones, Racial Justice Network and BCB; and Dan Lewis, Bywire; chaired by Marcela Pizarro. The conversation covered topics such as how community media can be part of antiracist organising, why blockchain might be a more accountable kind of technology than the internet, and why public media needs to move from promoting ‘diversity’ to embracing ‘reparative justice’.
WHAT IS A MEDIA COMMONS?
A commons is a collective resource sustained through the active participation of those who rely on it. In a media commons, our media would be funded through significant public resources, and managed collectively so they serve our needs and help us face the challenges ahead.
The media commons wouldn’t replace all commercial media. But it would become the heart of a media system that is fit for the future – just as the NHS is the public heart of healthcare.
In a media commons, media will be:
While this is a bold vision, the seeds of the media commons already exist within the UK media landscape today – in the best of public broadcasting, as well as media cooperatives and democratically-run community media.
WHO WE ARE
The Media Reform Coalition was founded in 2011. For the past decade, it has brought together academics, media professionals and activists to demand that Britain’s media ecology become more accountable, democratic and sustainable. The current Chair is Dr Tom Mills (Aston University) and Vice Chair is Riaz Meer (BECTU).
The BBC and Beyond: Reimagining Public Media is a campaign running up until April 2022. The campaign coordinator is Dr Debs Grayson. The Campaign Advisory Board is:
- Sophie Chalk – policy advisor, Voice of the Listener & Viewer
- Debs Durojaiye – Afrotech Fest
- Rizwana Hamid – Centre for Media Monitoring, Muslim Council of Britain
- Mathew Lawrence – Common Wealth
- Lindsay Mackie – New Weather Institute
- Riaz Meer – BECTU and Media Reform Coalition Co-ordinating Committee
- Pascale Robinson – We Own It
- Marcus Ryder – Executive, Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity
- Dr. Marcela Pizarro – Northwestern University Qatar/former Al Jazeera English
The BBC and Beyond is supported by The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
Ideas, thoughts, suggestions?
Please contact campaign coordinator Debs Grayson at dgray012 [at] gold dot ac dot uk