Reagan’s relaxation of media ownership rules in the 80s not only caused a massive loss of jobs, it seems, but distorted the flow of information that’s essential to democracy. Corporate news media is in it to make money and to help those who have it — not inform citizens.
So what can we do about it? The Internet and citizen journalism has been seen by many as the way to fill the media vacuum, but it’s still a challenge getting critical perspectives out there. VODO’s Big Brother Bundle is one promising attempt. Combining serious critical documentaries like Shadows of Liberty and Secrecy, which looks at the case for and against keeping secrets in the context of the “war on terrror”, with graphic novels and even games, VODO is aiming to take the debate around privacy mainstream.
Having known Daniel Domscheit Berg through old friends at The Pirate Bay, VODO asked the ex-spokesperson of Wikileaks to help them curate this collection of media. “I tried to focus on perspectives that would help us see a pattern in the noise,” Daniel says. “There is so much information coming out now with these latest Snowden leaks, it seems the important question is: how do we make sense of it all?”
How does corporate media work to control political agendas, asks Shadows of Liberty (2012), one of the documentaries currently available in the Bundle. The film, from Director Jean-Philippe Tremblay, offers an important insight into news under the media in the military-industrial complex. Simply put, many stories a lot of us would consider essential never get told. FBI whistle blowers are ignored; domestic military disasters and undercover operations are hushed-up; corporate scandals are suppressed.
There’s a varied selection of voices and genres on offer, from the hopeful comic/graphic novel Subatomic (by Patrick Neighly, co-author of the disinformation book Anarchy For The Masses: The Disinformation Guide to the Invisibles) to the doomy horror apocalypse of Harlan Ellison’s game I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream. Shadows of Liberty ends with a call to action to protect the Internet – seeing it as among the last forms of media where information still flows free. VODO’s Big Brother Bundle seems to suggest that with a little creativity, that could really still be true.