When you ask youth about their place in society and they respond by telling you that the media is what negatively impacts them and stops them from feeling a sense of belonging in the broader community, you (should) pay attention. Maybe even do something about it.
That's the basis of a new project, the Multimedia Multicultural Initiative (M&M), now operating in seven cities across Canada. It is run by the United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC). While not the actual UN, the organization is part of a federation of United Nations Associations around the world that promotes and educates around the broader mandate of the UN, issues like good government, equality, diversity, and human rights.
Despite being granted bail, Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange remains imprisoned in London, awaiting extradition proceedings to answer a prosecutor's questions in Sweden. He hasn't been formally charged with any crime. His lawyers have heard that a grand jury in the United States has been secretly empanelled, and that a U.S. federal indictment is most likely forthcoming.
Politicians and commentators, meanwhile, have been repeatedly calling for Assange to be killed.
Just days away from crucial midterm elections, WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website, unveiled the largest classified military leak in history. Almost 400,000 secret Pentagon documents relating to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq were made available online. The documents, in excruciating detail, portray the daily torrent of violence, murder, rape and torture to which Iraqis have been subjected since George W. Bush declared "Mission Accomplished." The WikiLeaks release, dubbed "The Iraq War Logs," has been topping the headlines in Europe. But in the U.S., it barely warranted a mention on the agenda-setting Sunday talk shows.
Remember the attack ad the Paul Martin Liberals used in the 2006 federal election campaign that backfired so badly it helped galvanize Canadians to turf them out instead?
Aimed at terrifying Canadians about the militaristic and undemocratic impulses of Stephen Harper's Conservatives, the Liberal ad intoned over a war drumbeat: "Soldiers with guns... In our cities... In Canada... We did not make this up."
Today the tables could be abruptly turned on the Conservatives with this far more sinister message: "The prime minister's office. In a first-world democracy. Controlling a major media network. We did not make this up."
Canada's for-profit mainstream media is in a state of crisis and failing to meet the country's needs, several concerned media critics told of a conference aimed at promoting alternative independent public media last week:
I've been deeply involved in journalism for 40 years, and I've never experienced a time like this when mass media corporations are feeding us such distorted, one-sided news and opinion.
Corporate media is helping to facilitate a total change in the ideological fabric of the county into a nation of mean-spirited people who are starting to believe that extreme right-wing policies are the only solutions to our problems. Left behind are compassion, a sense of what’s in the public interest, and social justice.