Harry Potter fans mobilize against 'Voldemedia'

[via Free Press]

The StopBigMedia.com Coalition has teamed up with the Harry Potter Alliance to mobilize thousands of Harry Potter fans against media consolidation. The two groups have launched Potterwatch -- a Web site that uses the Harry Potter series to illustrate the dangers of allowing giant corporations to swallow up local, diverse media outlets.

"The Harry Potter books offer a vivid example of what can happen when too much media rests in the hands of too few," said Andrew Slack, creator and director of the Harry Potter Alliance. "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."

"Potterwatch is the independent media movement formed by Harry Potter's allies to oppose Voldemort," said Slack. "StopBigMedia.com and the Harry Potter Alliance have come together to create a Potterwatch movement in the real world to fight back against 'Voldemedia' -- the handful of companies that control most of what we see, hear and read every day."

The groups are urging fans and concerned citizens across the country to speak out against a plan from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin to gut longstanding media ownership rules by Dec. 18 -- a move that would unleash consolidation in hundreds of local news markets.

"Big Media is bad for democracy," said Alexandra Russell, program director of Free Press, the group that coordinates the StopBigMedia.com Coalition. "We depend on media to give us the information we need to hold our leaders accountable. But massive consolidation has led to less quality local news -- and more useless celebrity gossip and damaging lapdog journalism."

StopBigMedia.com and the Harry Potter Alliance are spreading the word with the help of 10 "Wizard Rock" bands that collaborated on a digital album called "Rocking Out Against Voldemedia." The groups -- which include Harry and the Potters, the Remus Lupins and the Whomping Willows -- sing songs based on the Harry Potter series. Their new compilation warns about the dangers of media consolidation.

"We have learned so much from Harry Potter, and we as fans are not going to sit idly by as the FCC tries to take down independent media and replace it with a 'Voldemedia' controlled by the few," said Paul DeGeorge of Harry and the Potters.

The free digital album can be downloaded at http://www.stopbigmedia.com/potterwatch

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The Harry Potter Alliance is an international, nonpartisan organization that engages Harry Potter fans in social activism. By making various parallels between Harry Potter and the real world, we help connect young people to build awareness and action on a wide ranging number of pressing issues including global AIDS, gay rights, as well as concerns around self esteem and body image. Among its many projects, the group has teamed up with watchdog Wal-Mart Watch to fight for employee rights, and STAND's project "Darfur Fast" to end the genocide in Darfur. Learn more at www.thehpalliance.org

Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net or www.StopBigMedia.com

article originally published at http://www.stopbigmedia.com.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey