Banned by Media24 and Independent because of his views, and kicked off the M&G blogmark (jointly owned by a Media24 subsidiary) in December, David Robert Lewis rails against the act of mediation, and invites you to discuss this topic on the MediAlternatives mailing list, which unlike the M&G blog is currently unmoderated.
OUR lives are mediated. Everywhere one looks, one sees advertising telling us what to buy, what lifestyles to choose, what to wear. The media continue to parrot the view-points of the rich and famous while ignoring contributions from the majority — the dispossessed, the disempowered, the dissatisfied. People are reduced to being ordinary citizens, passive consumers of news and information, whether carried via radio, television, satellite or print media.
Opinion-makers on the other hand continue to occupy a privileged position — an educated elite, largely conservative or intellectually biased towards a neo-colonial and apartheid mindset. Even those claiming to speak on behalf of the newly enfranchised masses, are themselves oppressed, straight-jacketed and enslaved by the current system of mediation.
Free-thinkers, natural contrarians, non-conformists — practically anybody not having a mainstream or neo-colonial view, or who refuse to follow the party line for whatever reason, are being ignored. Shafted, pushed aside by a super-sized media apparatus, a cross-border industry that has increasingly become a global behemoth — as Hobbes would put it Leviathian is alive and well. The dragon of capitalism is eating our rainforests, destroying our oceans, polluting our atmosphere.
Attempts to reduce mediation i.e. media manipulation, in favour of the individual or the collective, only brings about new forms of media. Take the internet. What used to be touted as a “radical new tool for self-empowerment” or “a collective experiment in free will”, has turned into yet another means of pushing mainstream views while promoting advertising. The World Wide Web is simply pushing products onto our desktops, and pre-packaged opinions to our computers via electronic ticker.
Whether Google text, Yahoo pop-ups, Hotmail banner ads, you name it — the media continue to mediate and manipulate our lives, whether on a conscious or unconscious level, while refusing to accept our own unique forms of mediation, whether from leftist viewpoints, radical perspectives, alternative viewpoints..
This one-way flow of information has got to stop. The Alternative Media Forum believes that alternative mechanisms of mediation such as free and open debate, direct media, participatory mechanisms, individual and collective action, are urgently required, in order to counter the current institutional bias, censorship and selective reporting. Moreover, progressive and even radical perspectives, including contrarian and non-conformist views, are needed, now more than ever, to counter the dominance of the Washington Consensus.
If you wish to debate the issues raised here, please use MediAlternatives as a forum or platform to express your hopes and wishes, desires and demands, for a new, unique participatory media that is free of the old forms of mediation.
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Soon media newsrooms will drop the pretense, and start hiring theatre directors instead of journalists.