Democratic media

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Democratic media is a form of media organization that strives to have the principles of democracy underlying not only the production of content, but also the organization of the entire project.

Definition of the term[edit]

Democratic Media is the idea that the media should be organised along democratic lines rather that strictly commercial lines. A functioning democratic media would aim for transparency, inclusiveness, one-person-one-vote and other key concepts of democracy as principals of operation: "This is a media whose primary objectives are to inform, be open, independent and be accountable."[1] This is in contrast to the belief that media should be run by commercial operations and with the objective of making a profit and the assumption that the media invariably reflects the opinions and values of the owner and advertisers. Advocates contrast it to state-run operations where the media reflects the value system of the state itself. Edward S Herman suggested the form that democratic media would take:

Background of the term[edit]

The idea of democratic media stems from the belief that media is a vital part of a democratic society. Robert W. McChesney, writing for the Boston Review in 2008, commented:

To therefore, if media is vital for democracy, democratic media argues that media itself needs to be organized along different lines to the existing forms. McChesney again:

The idea of democratic media is still in its infancy, according to Carroll & Hackett (2006[4] where they term it "democratic media activism" however the idea does have older roots; In Triumph of the Market: Essays on Economics, Politics, and the Media Edward S Herman asserted that democratic media was a condition of democracy:

The term has been used to describe a number of new media projects from Wikipedia[6] to the Indymedia movement to describe how it saw itself;[7]

Democratic media differs from similar (and related) concepts such as citizen media, media democracy and independent media (aka alternative media) in that it puts as much emphasis on the organization of the media project as it does on the content. (Note; this definition means that an independent media or citizen media project can also be a democratic media project, but being an independent media or citizen media project does not mean it is automatically a form of democratic media. It also means there could be a project that promotes the concepts of media democracy without it itself explicitly claiming to be a form of democratic media.) For a media project to be considered democratic media it must have (or strive towards) the following characteristics:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Towards A Democratic Media - Strategic Media Planning v3
  2. ^ Herman, Edward S. (1997) Triumph of the Market: Essays on Economics, Politics and the Media. Montreal, Black Rose Books. p. 215
  3. ^ a b McChesney, Robert W. (May 17, 2008). Boston Review Archived from Making Media Democratic the original Check |url= value (help) on May 17, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Democratic media activism through the lens of social movement theory
  5. ^ Herman, Edward S. (1997) Triumph of the Market: Essays on Economics, Politics and the Media. Montreal, Black Rose Books. p.213
  6. ^ "Wikipedia: the dawn of democratic media?". Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  7. ^ Nottingham Indymedia Flyer