Media @ McGill

Canadian researchers win grant award from Social Science Research Council

Submitted by hive on

Revitalizing a Media Reform Movement in Canada: Survey and Workshop

Primary Investigator: Robert A. Hackett, Simon Fraser University

Partnering Organizations: World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) and Campaign for Democratic Media (CDM)

In the 1930s, Canada was home to one of the earliest movements that successfully campaigned for public broadcasting. Since 1998, however, deregulation and government acquiesence to mergers have produced a powerful reversal of that public-interest tradition. Among these developments is the dramatic concentration of media ownership, in which three companies now control half of Canadian media revenues. Key principles of the contemporary public-interest media agenda -- Canadian ownership of media, support for public and community broadcasting, 'fair dealing' in copyright law, and 'net neutrality' in digital media -- are threatened by this sharp tilt toward market- based solutions and deregulation. How, under these circumstances, can we build a politically progressive coalition that can democratize public communication in Canada?

Robert Hackett of Simon Fraser University, in collaboration with the Campaign for Democratic Media and the World Association for Christian Communication, will work to identify the issues, allies, resources and frames that can facilitate both public-interest media campaigns and sustainable media reform organizations. The research comprises:

* an online pilot survey distributed to some 200 currently and potentially allied social movement organizations (SMOs) in media and related fields, such as environment, peace, labour, and human rights;

* in-depth interviews with up to 20 key activists from progressive SMOs; and

* a focus group/strategy workshop with key media policy advocates and activists on strategies, frames, obstacles, and political opportunities.

Building on Hackett and Carroll's research on the politics of media activism (Remaking Media; Routledge, 2006), this project contributes to a growing field of scholarship on media reform as an emergent social movement. The final report will be posted on CDM and WACC websites and adapted and shared with actors across the Canadian media reform spectrum.