A New Green Vision and Program for Democratic Media Reform
A 1999 Policy Committee Proposal

(Note:  the New Green Alliance / NGA has been renamed The Green Party of Saskathchewan in April 2005)

Restoring democratic citizen leadership depends on meaningful media choice and diversity. A commitment to busting the corporate monopoly on what information and perspectives citizens are allowed to read, watch and listen to is therefore central to the NGA's media reform strategy.

Building Third Sector Media
The NGA is committed to promoting independent, decentralized worker and community media enterprisess. Viable alternatives to centralized corporate media conglomerates that are not merely commercially-driven include community radio, community access cable tv programming, urban alternative weeklies, co-operative bookstores, member-run art galleries and film pools, and independent cultural and currennt affairs publications.

The Dual Media Power Strategy
The NGA is committed to worker co-operatives and community enterprise as viable alternatives to corporate media power. While the NGA supports increased CBC regional programming and restored funding to the CBC, a public broadcaster can not effectively criticise central state power or the corporate interests which dominate it. Quality public broadcasting depends, therefore, on a strong alternative media to open up space and apply market pressure on it to break with industry patterns established by its bottom-line, corporate competitors.

The NGA does not support centralist or top-down media-reform efforts where decentralist or bottom-up alternatives exist. A NGA strategy would back local citizen initiative & national-level infrastructure specifically designed to support grassroots citizen initiative. For example, rather than lobbying government to impose a corporate media dominated press council or launching a national alternative daily newspaper, the NGA would invest in strengthening existing local community radio stations and urban alternative weeklies, and their networks.

The Monopoly Tax
Tax revenue generated from a special levy against the very profitable, job-killing media monopolies would be directly applied to remedying the negative outcomes of excessive media concentration by investing in citizen-initiated alternative media.

The Alternative Media Trust Fund
In order to prevent government interference and to target revenues to projects with demonstrated demand and organization to succeed, monopoly tax revenues would be dedicated to citizen-initiated alternative media trust funds. Matching grants would be made available on a 5:1 basis.

Due Diligence
To qualify for public investment, funds would be required to designate one half less one of its board positions to third sector representatives, one half plus one to already existing alternative media organizations with at least one accreditted alternative enterprise developer ex offiocio. This composition insures broad community accountability, sufficiently diligent peer and expert review and strategic local integration of sector efforts. Special grants to develop multi-stakeholder development plans, with the assistance of accreditted professionals, would also be made available for long-term business planning.

Equity Advertising
To further support citizen initiative for media choice and diversity, the NGA supports designating ten percent of crown and government agency advertising expenditures to alternative media, where that option is available.

It's Good for the Economy
Citizen-led media reform deters monopoly price-gouging and provides price protection to local economies. It also repatriates local advertising expenditures which may otherwise leak out of the local econmomy to finance acquisitions and dividend payments. New local employment, investment and tax revenues will strengthen local economies. A more vibrant public life will also make local residence more attractive to young workers who otherwise often out-migrate.