Decolonizing the Media: Media Democracy Days 2016

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Tina House and Annita McPhee at rabble's panel "Decolonizing the Mind."

It used to be the case that media and democracy were synonymous. Democracies weren't worthy of the name unless they had free and independent media that spoke truth to power. That was in the good old days. The changes in the political winds these days means that there are more pressures than ever on the kind of media outlets to do their job preserving and strengthening democracy.

Today's program comes to us from Media Democracy Days, held in Vancouver every year. This year was no exception. And one could say that Media Democracy is more important than ever in the dark days of 2016.

The new millenium got off to a really rocky start. The year 2001 was just two years after the historic Battle for Seattle, which saw tens of thousands take to the streets to protest globalization. In 2001, we watched in shock and horror as protestors were assaulted and tear gassed by police at the Quebec Summit of the Americas.

In the media, we hadn't yet started to see the collapse of traditional media, yet alternative media was starting to pop up on the internet sharing a whole new perspective. It was the year that rabble started too. An important year indeed. It was also the first year for Media Democracy Days, which, 15 years later, is still happening in Vancouver.

Today's program features excerpts from Media Democracy Days for those of you who weren't able to attend.  There is always a focus on Indigenous media, but this year it seemed that there was even more than usual.

Features on today's show:

1.) Tania Ehret - B.C. Outreach Coordinator explaining rabble's role and the closing plenary "Decolonizing the Mind."

2.) Ryan McMahon -  Indigenous Writer, Storyteller, Comedian and podcast host. The keynote deals with indigenous identity, storytelling, and finding a connection to the land and its people. This selection details his interactions with youth and elders in Northern Ontario as well as rediscovering Indigenous stories and the people that tell those stories.

3.) Tami Starlight - Indigenous Anti Oppression Activist. This excerpt from Tami's workshop addressed anti-oppression, decolonization within the media and shares their story about Indigenous identity and the role of identity in society. The workshop also analyzed terminology and ways to improve media and content creation.

Our sincere thanks to campus community radio station CJSF for sending us their audio recordings so we can use them on this show. This kind of media co-operation is so good for all of us, and is one of the reasons that alternative media in Canada is vibrant and strong. Thanks to Tania Ehret, our B.C. outreach coordinator, and Braden Alexander, the rabble podcast network intern, for their help putting together this show.

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Image: Flickr/Break Free

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