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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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December 12, 2007 11:22 AM

Harry Potter casts a media reform spell

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Barack Obama has Oprah. The media reform movement has Harry Potter. A little magic never hurts. Especially when battling the media biggies, with their deep pockets and many press outlets. and the Harry Potter Alliance have joined forces and launched a new Web site called Potterwatch. The Web site is aimed at getting Harry's many loyal fans moving against America's Voldemort like media.

In a press release the Harry Potter Alliance's creator and director, Andrew Slack, said:

The Harry Potter books offer a vivid example of what can happen when too much media rests in the hands of too few. In the series, Wizarding newspapers like the Daily Prophet put the magical community in serious jeopardy by denying Voldemort's return, failing to cover abuses from the Ministry and ultimately becoming a mouthpiece for Voldemort.

My initial reaction to the press release was one of laughter. That changed after visiting Potterwatch. The idea that an independent press is vital to a free society is not the sole possession of journalists, or media reformers. It is something people intuitively get, regardless of age or career.

If it takes Harry Potter to awaken a generation to the dire consequences of media consolidation, so be it.

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