News Network Aims To Challenge Media Welfare Myths

Real Media Press Release:

Award winning investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed is among those speaking at the Real Media gathering in Manchester on Saturday 28th February.

The event will run from 11am to 5pm at the Friends’ Meeting House, Mount Street.

The Real Media gathering is bringing together over 30 independent publications and organisations to provide a day of discussions, workshops, film and theatre challenging mass media distortion and campaigning for public interest journalism.

Media campaign groups such as the Media Reform Coalition and the Campaign for Press and Broadcast Freedom will be discussing the role of the media with national publications like Red Pepper and New Internationalist as well as local publications and journalists.

Real Media has been set up by Real Fare, a project that aims to challenge myths about the welfare system.

“One of the major obstacles to being able to have an honest conversation about welfare or immigration is the mass media and how they cover the issue,” says Drew Rose of Real Media and The Bristol Cable.

In the run up to the general election, the Real Media gathering hopes to provide an opportunity to discuss the concentrated ownership of the mass media, the way in which it frames the public debate through lack of coverage of issues such as inequality, corporate power, fracking and privatisation, and often misleading or largely negative stories on topics such as immigration and welfare.

Dominant narratives in the media can contribute to misconceptions. A 2013 survey by Ipsos MORI highlighted a number of gaps between public perception and reality on topics including immigration, teenage pregnancy and the religious and ethnic make up of the UK.

Samantha Asumadu, a speaker at the event and founder of Media Diversified, a platform which seeks to cultivate and promote skilled writers of colour, says: “I couldn’t think of a more ideal time than now for a gathering of independent media outlets and creative thinkers.

“The behemoth that is the mass media has not served the people’s interests for far too long. Let’s talk and plan and then act.”

Jamie Kelsey-Fry, contributing editor to New Internationalist magazine, will also be speaking. He says: “The time is ripe for a new platform of credible alternative media outlets that can make the corporate owned mainstream obsolete and show it for what it is, the servant to a system that is unjust, undemocratic, unsustainable and broken.”

Real Media are also planning an anti-Daily Mail week of action from 13th – 20th March and will be launching a new website in April to aggregate independent news from the UK.

The public can purchase tickets for the conference on a sliding-scale basis through the website or at the venue on the day.

Any enquiries can be sent to [email protected]