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PMC Works in A Range of Political Environments

Nov 12, 2020

A Message from Population Media Center President and Founder Bill Ryerson

PMC works in many places where democracy has been destroyed. We are familiar with the playbook that stokes authoritarianism, attacks opposition, and makes it impossible or scary to vote.Nonetheless, we are able to operate in these settings, addressing gender rights, civic rights, and environmental protection. In the U.S. and abroad, it’s more important than ever to work on these issues. What is most needed is meaningful communication to inform people.

In the past four years, we have seen the most aggressive implementation and expansion of the Global Gag Rule ever, denying health services far beyond access to abortion for women in the United States and abroad.

We saw the United States pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and saw the removal of climate change from the U.S. national security strategy. Regulations on toxic air pollution have been dropped; economic considerations have been given unprecedented priority related to the Endangered Species Act by rolling back animal protections; and logging and drilling in protected natural areas have not only been approved, but have included dangerous techniques such as seismic airgun blasts.

U.S. funding for UNFPA has been eliminated, impacting services to 10.5 million women and girls and impacting humanitarian aid during a global pandemic. Court composition at every level has been altered, threatening reproductive rights.

As the country faces weeks of legal battles and the risk of escalating violence, we must look at where we are and how we’ve come to be here. The small margin that decided the U.S. election clearly illustrates vastly diverging ideologies.

More than ever before, it’s essential that powerful entertainment and communications be utilized to raise awareness, open new perspectives and discussions, and change behaviors. One way to do this is to create shows that allow people to emotionally bond with characters they never would have otherwise befriended. Seeing other realities, other perspectives.

PMC is proud to work on these issues, both domestically and abroad. We know the power of social norms, of the will of the people. We know that lives and countries and the global community aren’t swayed by the 30 second PSA or campaign ad.We know creating a clinic doesn’t mean women are able to use it. We know that issues, whether it’s climate change, a woman’s social status, drilling in national parks, or reproductive health, have to be made real and understood on a personal level that includes one’s social circle’s response to contrasting or conflicting beliefs or actions. And we know social norm shifts in communities take time.

As we work to create a sustainable world with equal rights for all, we thank you for your support and partnership. There has never been a better time to utilize mass entertainment to create change – here in the U.S. and abroad. So please, stay tuned as we continue to do what we do best, empowering entire communities, one story at a time.


Bill Ryerson
President and Founder, PMC