The Campaign Against ‘Amerika’: Catalyst for Media Democratization

Robert A. Hackett

Abstract


This essay recalls an ad hoc protest campaign against Amerika, a television mini-series broadcast by the ABC and CTV networks during the fading years of the Cold War (1987). Depicting a fictional Soviet takeover of the US, the program aroused a storm of controversy in both the US and Canada, where it raised additional issues such as cultural sovereignty. The partners, activities and accomplishments of the protest campaign are described; it changed the program’s discursive context and forced the broadcasters to respond. More enduringly, the campaign prefigured a later wave of democratic media activism by questioning media content, challenging the asymmetrical media-audience relationship, implying a new model of public communication, highlighting the contradictions between media imperatives and social movements, and providing a springboard for specifically media oriented activism.

 


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