MediaJustice

Feb. 8, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Chelsea Fuller, [email protected]

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has issued an executive order calling for federal agencies to redouble their efforts at achieving racial equity. And in February 2021, the Media 2070 project is inviting media-makers to explore how this reckoning could extend to the U.S. media system.

Revenue from “slave ads” helped the first colonial papers stay afloat financially. Today, deregulation has resulted in a landscape where less than 1 percent of full-power TV stations are Black owned and controlled — while Big Tech’s algorithms help white supremacists spread racist conspiracies online, which cable and broadcast networks then normalize into mainstream discourse.

Since its beginning, the media system has had anti-Blackness embedded in its DNA. And Media 2070 and allies believe that the antidote is Black Narrative Power.

Throughout February, Media 2070 is joining with MediaJustice and the Movement for Black Lives to present a series of virtual events addressing the theme: “Lineage: The History and Future of Black Narrative Power.”

The lineup includes:

  • A twitter “storm” inviting participants to tweet #BlackFutureHeadlines from a world where reparations have been made real
  • A live roundtable of Black journalists speaking on racial reckonings at The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and beyond; moderated by Peabody-winning podcaster Chenjerai Kumnayika
  • A live gathering of Black journalists and activists unpacking narratives of power and pain

All events are free and open to the public. To register or learn more, visit freepress.net/media2070.

Media 2070 Director Alicia Bell made the following statement:

“We dream of a future in which Black folks have the capital needed to tenderly and easefully steward our own stories through creation to production to distribution — and dominant media narratives reflect the Black liberation that’s been made real across all aspects of society. A future where the information needs of Black communities are fully served, and dominant media narratives are no longer grounded in a myth of Black inferiority. We believe that media reparations will take us to that future, and that narrative justice could be a pathway to get us there.” 

Media 2070 co-creator Joseph Torres made the following statement:

“Thanks to the work of Black freedom fighters, there is a broad recognition of the ways in which the criminal-legal system and many other systems and institutions have harmed Black lives. But the media system largely flies under that radar. So in February 2021, we’re gathering journalists, reporters, media-makers, creatives and community storykeepers to acknowledge harm and also find inspiration in the  long lineage of Black media resistance. There’s a rich history of Black journalists and organizers who fought to be heard. Now is the time to call for specific repairs, repairs that could create a new media system. We envision a system where the Black community owns and controls an abundance of communications platforms that dismantle politically weaponized anti-Black narratives while providing news and information that serves the community’s well-being.”

MediaJustice Narrative Director Eteng Ettah made the following statement:

“Since our organization’s founding, we have understood that the current iteration of our corporate-driven media system continues to be a major barrier in the path toward Black liberation. Black communities have always created, protected and transmitted our own narratives, but we’ve had to fight tooth and nail against a system designed to silence, dehumanize and separate us from one another. We have a right to liberatory media systems, and the Black Narrative Power Month series is designed to help us unearth shared language and histories to strengthen our ongoing fight for a world where we are all connected, represented and free.”

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Media 2070 is a project of Free Press, a nonpartisan organization fighting for people’s rights to connect and communicate. Free Press does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Learn more at mediareparations.org.

MediaJustice is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for a more just and participatory media—fighting for racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age. MediaJustice boldly advances communication rights, access, and power for communities harmed by persistent dehumanization, discrimination and disadvantage. Home of the #MediaJusticeNetwork, comprised of more than 100 grassroots partners, we envision a future where everyone is connected, represented, and free.

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