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ST. LOUIS — The National Conference for Media Reform, hosted and organized by the nonpartisan media reform group Free Press, kicked off at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis today, bringing together more than 2,000 people from across the country and around the world who are concerned with the current state of the media.

The event will take place May 13-15 featuring dozens of speeches, performances, panel discussions, workshops and film screenings on topics such as media ownership, grassroots organizing, public broadcasting, community Internet, and much more.

"Recent years have seen an unprecedented explosion of interest in media issues — from the FCC's attempt to increase media consolidation to the White House's use of fake news," said Robert W. McChesney, co-founder and president of Free Press. "The public is beginning to understand how critical healthy media are to a healthy democracy. And they are recognizing they must get involved if they want a better system."

Those appearing at the conference include legendary journalist Bill Moyers, who will speak for the first time about the recent controversy over partisan interference at PBS; FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein; U.S. Reps. Diane Watson (D-Calif.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Comedian Al Franken; musical legend Patti Smith; author and political commentator Jim Hightower; Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!; television host Phil Donahue; Kim Gandy of the National Organization for Women (NOW); Naomi Klein, author of No Logo; David Brock of Media Matters for America; Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen; DJ Davey D; and thousands of activists, artists, policymakers, scholars, journalists and concerned citizens.

The full schedule and program information is available online at

"Media reform appeals across the political spectrum because it's based on a simple idea: If we want better media, we need better media policies," said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press. "If we want better media policies, we need to engage citizens in the policy debates that shape our media system. For too long, these decisions have been made behind closed doors. It's time for the public to have a stronger voice in the decisions being made in our name but without our consent."

The National Conference for Media Reform is completely sold out. However, full coverage — including streaming video, audio downloads of key sessions, and daily editions of Free Press' "Media Minutes" radio show — will be available at throughout the weekend at

"We are at a watershed moment for anyone concerned about the media," McChesney said. "Decisions are being made right now in corporate boardrooms, state capitals, and the halls of Congress that will have tremendous impact on the future of the media. We're here to make sure that the public has a place at the table."

Free Press ( is a national, nonpartisan organization that seeks to increase informed public participation in media policy and to promote a more competitive, public-interest-oriented media system.

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