Project Censored’s mission is to promote critical media literacy, independent journalism, and democracy. We educate students and the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-government. Censorship undermines democracy. We expose and oppose news censorship and we promote independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking. Through our website, weekly radio program, annual book, media literacy curriculums, publishing imprint, and other programs, we provide this service to the United States, Canada, UK, and the world.
It’s clear that media literacy educators in the United States face big challenges, as do news media outlets committed to renewing the public’s trust in journalism—not to mention individuals who seek to understand today’s complex social issues, so they can engage actively, in their communities and in local, regional, and national politics. Project Censored’s work speaks to each of these concerned groups, providing time-tested resources to understand the power of media, and to harness that power in order to improve people’s lives by addressing systemic social problems.
We seek to ensure that news stories that have the greatest implications for the people of the United States get more coverage than those that are sensational or simply entertaining. Our goal is to enlighten people about the stories they don’t hear—”the news that didn’t make the news”—that are likely to affect their lives (and the lives of their children) far into the future. From this perspective, journalism undertaken in the public interest can stimulate people to act in ways that make a difference.
An informed public is crucial to democracy in at least two basic ways. First, without access to relevant news and opinion, people cannot fully participate in government. Second, without media literacy, people cannot evaluate for themselves the quality or significance of the news they receive. Project Censored’s work highlights the important links among a free press, media literacy, and democratic self-government.
This is why we promote public awareness of, trust in, and support for independent news sources that provide meaningful alternatives to corporate news reporting. Our promotion of independent journalism includes tools for educators and the general public to enhance peoples’ critical media literacy skills, and therefore enrich each persons’ interactions with news media.
A lack of taught critical thinking skills will impact readers’ abilities to understand whether an information source is trustworthy, rendering them vulnerable to mistaking “junk food news” and other forms of sensationalized or misleading reporting as indistinguishable from credible journalism.
To counter the rising tides of misinformation and disinformation, it’s important that more individuals begin to understand the limitations of corporate news coverage and to cultivate appreciation for independent investigative journalism. A better understanding of news is not truly the end in itself, but a means to an end: the real goal is a better informed public, which in turn is a crucial requirement for a robust democracy and a population of individuals with restored trust in media (especially journalism), our political institutions, and each other.