Our Frameworks

Media Justice: An Affirmative Framework for Media Change

CMJ recognizes that we live and work in a changing media landscape characterized by unprecedented consolidation of ownership and increased influence of U.S. news and entertainment media around the globe. These conditions present both threats and opportunities for communities of color and poor communities. Communities who have been historically marginalized from the democratic process must continuously defend our rights to fair media access and accurate representation, while advancing strategic stories to transform the public narrative around race, class, and power.

Media justice is a participatory, relevant, and strategic framework that addresses these threats and opportunities, and centers the leadership and participation of historically disenfranchised communities in the movement for media change.

Guided by a broad vision for social justice, this framework has five key assumptions:

  • Media change of all kinds must expose and directly confront the mechanics of structural racism and systemic oppression.
  • Leaders from historically marginalized communities must be developed as effective media activists and strategic movement communicators.
  • Media policy advocacy and strategic communications are more effective when clearly relevant to the primary justice issues of the movement for racial justice, economic equity, and human rights.
  • Compelling communications and media activism campaigns must be both rooted in critical issues and coordinated across issue, sector, and region for national impact.
  • When justice sectors strengthen communications strategies, center the use of culture as a communications tool, employ winning frames and messages, and strengthen their influence over media rules and rights, the possibilities for transformative change skyrocket.

Traditional media reform and communications strategies are insufficient to address structural racism in public debate and policy, and to create a media environment in which campaigns for racial justice, economic equity, and human rights can thrive.

The Center for Media Justice is dedicated to building a strong and effective movement for media justice, and supporting organizing groups to incorporate media as a tool to reclaim our stories, reframe our humanity, strengthen our campaigns, and determine our destinies.

Because the power to communicate should belong to everyone.

Participatory Communications

Participatory communications is a framework for conducting change communications and media advocacy that engages people at all levels of movement leadership. Strategic communications should not be the job of experts only. Everyone in a community organizing group or campaign has a role to play in communicating the core messages, values, demands, and vision of the advocacy effort, and should be given the tools, training, and opportunity to participate in the process.

Justice Framing

The right has spent decades developing frames that highlight personal responsibility, conceal structural inequity, and replace government- and community-based policy with privatization and corporate solutions to social problems. Justice framing is a methodology that exposes structural inequity, emphasizes social responsibility and corporate accountability, and highlights the role of government and policy. Justice framing uses news coverage, policy, entertainment media, and all forms of communications to move public conversations toward a collective vision of progressive structural change.


“InSecurity: Race, Surveillance and Privacy in the Digital Age” Sponsored by New America Foundation, the Center for Media justice and the Consumers Union

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