Mirrors or Movers?

a debate about the social impact of media

Does media content mirror or move society?

Is it just a reflection of current norms or does it actively change who we are and how we see things? And if it does change us, what responsibility does that place on media companies?

Relatively speaking, media companies make up only a small fraction of global business and resource usage, yet they command an inordinately high share of ‘voice’; a voice that is both powerful and pervasive. The media sector’s footprint may be modest, but its ‘brainprint’ is enormous.

Should the sector actively seek to shape public debate, change behaviours and promote sustainable lifestyles as its contribution to social responsibility?

This is a new and contentious suggestion. There are many different views and it raises important practical and philosophical issues, not least around the influence of media content in a democratic and liberal society. This report – based on interviews and discussions with industry representatives, aca­demics and other expert commentators – aims not to answer the question but instead to provide a framework and structure for this vital debate.

Mirrors or Movers Conference

As a world first, this one-day event brought together editors and content producers, media professionals, policy makers, academic experts and campaigners to advance the debate about the social impact of media.

The conference was held in Sadler's Wells Theatre on 13th June 2013 and organised by the Media CSR Forum and its sister organisations, the Nordic Media CR Forum and the Media RSE Forum (France). Together, the Forums represent thirty major media companies.

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