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5 Short Films, 5 Profound Lessons in Media Literacy

By The Listening post / interactive.aljazeera.com
Mar 7, 2017
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5 Short Films, 5 Profound Lessons in Media Literacy

Now more than ever, we cannot take news media at face value – we need tools to read media critically, strategies to discern how information works. This is what inspired The Listening Post’s project: Media Theorised.

We’ve taken key works of five thinkers from around the world – theorists located in the space between the cosmopolitan centre and the 'global south'. Roland Barthes, French philosopher; Noam Chomsky, American linguist and political activist; Stuart Hall, Jamaican-British cultural historian; Marshall McLuhan, Canadian academic; Edward Said, Palestinian-American literary historian.

As Roland Barthes would have put it: these are writers who have taught us how to ‘read against the grain’.

Working with journalists, artists and political activists from Africa, Latin America, Asia, the United States and Europe, we have created five videos supplemented by essays to introduce you to these media theorists and to help you apply some of their critical tools in your everyday encounters with the media.

 


 

Incredible Animation Summarises Noam Chomsky's 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine
5 min · For decades, Noam Chomsky has been the agent provocateur when it comes to critiquing the US mainstream media. He co-authored ‘Manufacturing Consent’, a seminal work on mainstream journalism and its role in the mechanics of power.
Stuart Hall: Race, Gender, Class: The Politics of News
3 min · Known as the ‘Godfather of Multiculturalism’, Stuart Hall (1932-2014) gave us tools to understand how representation is always imbued with ideology - and how to resist.
How to Read the Signs in the News
3 min · Roland Barthes The work of French philosopher Roland Barthes (1915-1980) is difficult, slippery, whimsical - it calls on us to read the world around us as a series of texts. He would have seen the TV screen as a cultural text - there to...
Digital Prophecies: The Medium Is the Message
2 min · In the 1960s, way before anybody had ever tweeted, Facebook Live-d or sent classified information to WikiLeaks, one man made a series of pronouncements about the changing media landscape. His name was Marshall McLuhan and you've...
Framed: The Politics of Stereotypes in News
2 min · Palestinian academic Edward Said’s (1935-2003) book ‘Orientalism’ showed how the West had the power to represent the colonial ‘other’ - while at once leaving them voiceless.

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Goal: To rapidly transition to a just, ecologically sustainable, holistic way of living as fast as possible.

We believe the first step to achieve this goal should be an information delivery network that can amplify the impacts of all our efforts 1000 fold. 

Although Films For Action is centered around film - its true objective is the transformation of the world. This means moving away from the unsustainable paradigm we have now to a regenerative paradigm, as fast as humanly possible.  

Film is the medium of delivery -- the catalyst, the metabolizing agent to speed up, amplify and multiply the effects of every transition movement on the planet. And of course, "transition" contains it all - social justice, ecological regeneration, true democracy, egalitarian economics, universal empathy, less cultural insanity and more happiness and well-being.

All of these movements need a media ecosystem that supports this transition, rather than the media we have today which marginalizes it, ignores it, sanitizes it, suppresses it, or actively fights it. There is certainly good coverage across many different news outlets, and the quality and depth varies, but in terms of volume, the good stuff is easily lost in the deluge of superficial concerns.

Watch any network TV channel for 24 hours or read the newspaper for a week, and you will see what we mean. The dominant narratives which drive the national debate and become "common knowledge" is more often superficial, focused on symptoms rather than root causes, and reinforces the conventional "two sides" within the status quo. The lies and spin promoted by figures in power become well known, while voices that challenge and expand the range of debate rarely get heard. But most importantly, the level of repetition and volume of coverage is what counts. What gets covered day after day, and what gets covered once and is forgotten, or not covered at all? That's why we need a media movement that's dedicated to elevating the voices that aren't getting heard. We need media alternatives that make social change its primary focus. That's why Films For Action exists.

Ultimately, we're just one star in this growing constellation of new media, but we aim to do our part by cultivating the best video library dedicated to transition online, and we hope you'll join us