On 25 March, one of the most important media events in the UK will take place in London: the annual Media Democracy Festival, whose purpose is to debate and analyse what is happening with the media and to encourage the creation of independent, responsible and ethical media choices.
Organised by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC), the first version of the festival was held in 2015 and every year since then it brings together academics, activists and decision-makers “to understand what’s going on in the media landscape, build connections and strengthen the movement for a transformed media.”
Since 2020, as a product of the changes brought about by the Covid pandemic, the festival has been held in a combination of online and face-to-face sessions.
It is an event open to all: staunch advocates of media reform, curious consumers, and defenders of traditional media. The ultimate purpose is to learn how media can be reformed to work for people, not profit. The reality is that the media does not work, and this needs to be changed. There is an urgent need for a movement to make it happen.
Granddaughter of an Indian immigrant who came to the UK in 1960, Zarah Sultana has been a member of the Labour Party since 2011 and in 2019 was elected to the House of Commons, representing South Coventry. Sultana has been very critical of the policies of Conservative governments and her voice is not only to make public interest situations visible, but also to be heard by many.
Zarah Sultana will be present on 18 March during the Media Democracy Festival where she will be the keynote speaker. She will be joined by academics, activists, policy makers, trade union representatives, social justice advocates and media experts.
Together they will discuss the current media landscape and seek to make connections and strengthen the movement for a transformed media. As planned by the organisers, “This year’s Media Democracy Festival will be a stimulating, urgent and thought-provoking gathering”.
It could not be otherwise as the Media Reform Coalition (which brings together activists, academics and media producers) challenges “unaccountable media corporations, and campaigns to build an independent, democratic media system”. Through research, lobbying and campaigning, they lead “the fight for a media fit for the 21st-century”.
For the time being, the programme for the day, which will take place from 11 a.m. in three rooms, includes the topics: “For and against big tech: building the left online”, “What is democratic media?” “Making media work for workers”, “Meanwhile, in Westminster: threats & opportunities in the policy pipeline”, “Another century of the BBC? Reimagining public service media”, and “Resistance culture in a time of culture war”.
It also includes two “Independent News Forum” sessions and the Independent Media Association’s general meeting. The closing address will be given by Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana”. The closing speech will be given by Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana.
Date and venue: 25 March, 11 am. to 5:30 pm. Birkbeck Clore Management Centre, 27 Torrington Square, London, WC1E 7JL.