A Media Manifesto

Statement of Media Responsibility for the 21st Century

The Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media formed to address issues related to how the media affects our culture, particularly our young people. The United States is blessed to have a free, democratic system of government that allows us to develop massive communication industries. These industries – populated by creative, talented people  –  helped lead a communication revolution that bolsters our economy. In 2011, communication technology was No. 5 on the list of top 10 U.S. exports, according to the U.S. Census.

However, freedom and power must be tempered by responsibility. We recognize the roles and responsibilities that parents, schools, churches and grassroots organizations have in fostering healthy communities. We also recognize the roles and responsibilities of those in the media industries – film, television, video games, Internet, electronic and print – in that same process.

We at the Northwest Alliance hope that a partnership between communities and communication industries can forge a “mantle of stewardship” so vital to healthy living. We urge those interested in assuming this mantle to adopt the Statement of Media Responsibility, which states that a responsible media will:

  • Act as a unifying force that helps maintain cohesive communities – not by homogenizing and commodifying culture but by respecting the dignity of individuals.
  • Be a proactive force for social change that not only reacts to ongoing events but helps communities solve problems.
  • Represent our pluralistic society so that media control rests not in the hands of the few but the many.
  • Restrict gratuitous violent and sexual content that serves merely to titillate and degrade individuals.
  • Create a children’s hour on network television that carries diverse and appropriate programming including news, education and entertainment.
  • Encourage parents to monitor their children’s media consumption, familiarizing parents with V-chip technologies and ratings systems.
  • Sponsor media literacy programs on television and in schools and communities because knowledgeable viewers make better choices and are less vulnerable to media messages that mix reality and fantasy.
  • Increase support for public broadcasting, which provides a space for children’s educational shows and offers greater visibility to programming that highlights art and culture.
  • Restrict the use of characters from children’s TV programs to sell and endorse commercial products.
  • Provide public service announcements about the potentially harmful effects of excessive viewing of television, film and video games, particularly those with violent and sexual content.
  • Act in unison with the Federal Communications Commission to design a clear set of standards for violent, sexual and profane content.
  • Eliminate promotional clips or teasers of news stories that frighten viewers of all ages.

Together – artists, producers, teachers, parents and children – we can make our understanding and use of media a blessing that can help us develop and maintain healthy communities throughout our nation, well into the 21st Century. Communication technology plays a great a role in our lives than ever before. We can’t afford to wait.

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