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Community Media and Quality Journalism Matter

By Dr. Despina Afentouli*

Thank you for the honor and opportunity to participate in the Community Media Advocacy Day for the second consecutive year. We are here at the Capitol building for an important reason. We are here to support the Community Media Reinvestment Act – a bill in both the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly that would support the future of Public, Educational and Governmental community media around New York State.

New York State Senate Bill 2581 and New York State Assembly Bill A5900 propose the installation of an excise tax on large streaming and satellite corporations, with part of the revenue going to Public, Educational and Governmental community media.

Citizens in a democratic society make informed, conscious choices through Media, express themselves freely on policy issues and ensure that elected representatives maintain their oaths and commitments. That is what community media and networks like BronxNet TV are all about. It is local citizen Journalism. Citizens have equal access to the technology, studios and local multiplatform channels, to help foster an informed and engaged society.

While the media, as the “fourth estate”, have a great power and responsibility in a democratic society, community media contribute highly to re-engaging communities on the periphery. For this reason, it is crucial to let the media, including the community media, flourish with legislation that supports their existence and development.

I thank BronxNet and especially the BronxNet Executive Director, Michael Max Knobbe, for offering me the opportunity to share my Modern Odyssey program via BronxNet – reporting untold, under-reported or misrepresented human stories that matter.

And remember – it is not only about the survival of the media but also about saving quality journalism, including community quality journalism, and journalists who strive for excellence. Support investigative journalism and specialist reporting. Free media indicate the quality of democracy. Democracies thrive when there are better opportunities for citizens, greater outcomes for communities and more just societies. Thank you!

* Dr. Despina Afentouli’s speech at the Press conference on the occasion of the Community Media Advocacy Day in Albany, NY on February 12, 2024.

Dr. Despina Afentouli is a journalist-sociologist and researcher.

Dr. Despina Afentouli’s speech is available here Community Media Day of Action at Albany 2024: Dr. Despina Afentouli (youtube.com)