I had the pleasure of attending a talk in Halifax by Amy Goodman, a journalist and reporter for Democracy Now, last Saturday, Sept. 29. Goodman is a woman who I deeply admire and respect for reporting on issues that have been systemically overlooked. In her lecture, she discussed the importance of independent media, fair journalism, the danger in reporting anti-establishment issues and her experiences of reporting abuses of power. She has reported on the dog attacks against the Sioux Tribe at Standing Rock and the atrocious murder of young Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Often deemed unworthy by mainstream media, Democracy Now has amplified marginalized voices and stories for over 20 years.
The Establishment, composed of the dominant elite that holds immense authority over day-to-day politics and finances, is controlled by mega media corporations, political parties, the fossil fuel industry and more. Because of this, it has always been the Establishment’s prerogative to exclude people of colour and the poor in mainstream discourse. Its existence is based off this segregation as a fundamental instrument to uphold the continuation of white supremacy that solely benefits the elite – and no one else.
In New Brunswick, Irving is the largest owner of media, including all three major print publications in its three most populated cities: the Times & Transcript in Moncton, the Daily Gleaner in Fredericton and the Telegraph-Journal in St. John. Irving’s print publications have been notoriously known to omit opinion pieces that criticize its massive estate of syndicates (approximately 400 companies under its name). Irving’s monopoly of news in our province prohibits the major role that criticism plays as the foundation of democracy. As long as Irving controls these media organizations in New Brunswick and the practice of free speech, the people of New Brunswick are not free.
This is why Democracy Now and other independent media organizations are essential to society – especially in the era of Donald Trump and the Establishment’s regime. As independent media aims to bring attention to the stories that are anti-establishment, they highlight the ongoing systems of oppression that not only take advantage of brown and black lives, but also murder, incarcerate and hate us. The stories that Democracy Now covers are our stories. They are stories of our lives and our existence.
These stories are often labeled as social justice issues – when social equality is only a fraction of what is just. Liberation is economic. It is political. It is feminist. It is social. It is, and will always be, intersectional. It is impossible to separate climate justice from the inherent economic need of climate financing by the nations that emit the most. It is impossible to separate migrant justice from the politics of providing rightful residency to the countries in which migrants fairly contribute. Justice for our communities must be considered in every aspect of our lives because we have been coerced to survive unjustly. In this era of tyranny, our voices are more important and necessary than ever. Democracy now. Justice now.