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Why Media Trade Monitor?

In recent years, US trade negotiators have pushed for global trade agreements more favorable than ever to the giant media corporations. This has assisted the rise of a global media oligopoly: a few tightly knit, dominant transnational firms with interlocking boards of directors and unprecedented lobbying power.

These firms create pressure in every country for the privatization of public service media, and end to monopoly limits, and reregulation in the corporate interest across the board. They are currently lobbying multilateral bodies such as the WTO to prepare the ground for trade sanctions against any nation that tries to support its own domestic culture, limit foreign ownership of media systems, limit the ratio of foreign to local audiovisual content, or subsidize the production of local content. This would have an especially harsh impact in the developing world, where there is a need for media systems that can reach the broadest base of poor people and achieve development objectives, rather than skim a thin segment of wealthy audiences in order to attract advertisers.

Still, media reform movements in some nations have successfully resisted this trend toward the elimination of public service media and the concentration of ownership in the hands of a few transnational conglomerates, and held media corporations accountable for their blatant failure to serve the public interest. To replicate these successes in the US and at the international level, media reform groups in different countries need to join forces. Solidarity across national borders will be key to influencing global media policy.

Media Trade Monitor is meant to be a space for international cooperation between media policy activists to share knowledge and coordinate activity to ensure that the trade deals don't undercut domestic media policy victories.
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