Blog created by Rachel Coyler for Media Democracy Coalition about my latest projects and work.
Hungarian born, New York educated, West Coast transplant, Mera Szendro Bok has finally arrived back on the East Coast in DC to work as the Communications and Development Director at Media Access Project. During her multi-faceted daily work, Mera wears many hats in development and communications including working on grant writing, funder relations, press releases, online communications strategy and event planning for the MAP Forum Series.
Mera’s work at MAP includes creating the public image through maintaining the website and working to articulate and clarify the significant and unique qualities of MAP to various stakeholders. When asked about her vision and why she was excited to work at MAP, Mera responded, “Media Access Project is a strong and fundamental part of the media reform movement and has been since its founding nearly 40 years ago. I am honored to be a part of MAP and very interested in learning about the victories and challenges that have brought the media reform movement to the place it is today.”
Mera, the eternal optimist whose positive energy and attitude are infectious, is committed to the movement for our right to communicate through media platforms without interference within the U.S. as well as the movement that is building globally, “I truly feel my commitment and energy for media policy reform and media justice is renewed on a daily basis. The interesting conversations and collaborations that I share with the true visionaries within this movement really keep my commitment strong to contributing in building a robust media reform and Internet freedom movement.”
Mera has been involved in this work for many years. During college, she began to expand her studies in communications arts to include graduate courses about human rights and international relations. While in school Mera was inspired to begin her work on international communications rights that would eventually evolve into her founding Communication is Your Right!, a global human rights campaign, “I quickly learned about what a enormous effect communication and media have on every person in the world intellectually, spiritually and artistically. I then interned at the United Nations in 2006, learned about Article 19 and starting understanding the roles of various stakeholder communities that shape public policy”
Communication is Your Right! is a platform for communications rights and internet freedom advocates around the world to share their message, connect and organize together. When talking about the need for the global campaign, Mera explains, “I feel strongly that there is so much for U.S. media reform groups to learn from the media polices of other countries as well the actions of media reform and Internet freedom activists around the world. There is a global movement happening for media justice, we need to help strengthen and learn from human rights, civil rights activists and advocates of all causes to make sure media reform builds to be an even more dynamic and creative movement that engages diverse communities.”
After Mera graduated college in 2008, she set up in-person meetings with media reform groups in DC During the visit she attended the FCC hearing which examined the Comcast Bit Torrent throttling arguments. On that trip she met former MADCo staffer, Nathaniel James, who plugged her into working on One Web Day and the Mozilla Drumbeat Initiative. While living in San Diego, she organized events for each of these projects.
In San Diego, Mera began her work at New Media Rights, a project that focuses on online publishing rights and intellectual property issues. One of the many noteworthy projects Mera worked on was assisting Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in producing short videos. Her work with New Media Rights, reinforced Mera’s view that internet rights are human rights, “Working with both digital rights groups in San Diego and collaborating with international groups, such as Take Back the Tech! helped me to realize privacy issues, IP issues, open licensing, freedom of expression, right to information, access to internet, access to the policy-making process are all a part of our fight for civil liberties, digital rights and internet rights as human rights.”
Mera’s vision and passion revolve around her belief that collaboration makes for effective strategy, especially in the media reform space, “I am very passionate about helping communicators in the media reform space coordinate and share ideas more easily. I have great respect for those who have worked in this space for years and decades on strategy and believe that strategists at all levels have so much to learn from each other. Many communications strategists in this space are visionaries who have ideas about innovative strategies that that could integrate new communities into the media reform movement. I would like to work on coordinating and growing a support network that helps communicators in this movement discuss ideas and strategies.”
From this vision Mera has begun embarking on a new project, which she hopes many will want to collaborate on. The communicators network would be a platform to those communicators in the movement who are interested in building a deeper communications network that helps us offer each other feedback on new creative ideas and develop stronger relations in order to build a more powerful movement.
Shortly after Mera started working at MAP, she participated in a call for organizing and communications staff around the coalition to discuss the work happening around the AT&T merger. While the call audience was small, the resulting inspiration was big. The call was another indication that the time was now to build a communications network. While concrete plans for a first meeting are starting to come together, outreach is happening to find more communicators in the movement who are interested in building the network. If you want to get involved contact Mera or myself for more details. You can reach Mera at mera (at) mediaaccess (dot) org.
–Rachel Colyer RColyer (at) media-democracy (dot) net