Communications Rights

Venezuelan media workers march, new national paper announced

Tamara Pearson, Venezuelanalysis

CARACAS - On Saturday, to mark the Day of the Journalist, media workers both for and against the Venezuelan government marched in separate marches in Caracas. President Hugo Chavez also announced the creation of a new national paper.

For over 40 years Venezuelans have celebrated the Day of the Journalist on June 27th. On that day in 1818, the Orinoco Post first went to print to report on the political and military achievements in the struggle for independence and combat the misinformation of the Spanish Crown-run paper, La Gaceta de Caracas. In 1964, Garcia Ponce, a parliamentarian for the Communist Party, proposed from jail (where he was being accused of military rebellion) that the Day of the Journalist be celebrated on that day.

In Caracas on Saturday, in a march called by the National Council of Communicators, thousands of journalists and government supporters marched against media terrorism. Many speakers and participants also spoke of the need for a new participatory model of communication.

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Is broadband a civil right?

Steve Rosenbaum, Huffington Post

There are some moments when you can feel the conversation change -- and the world tilt from right to left. Today was one of those days.

It began early at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City. The PdF as it's known, is now in it's 6th year -- and attracts the top talent in politics, consulting, and technology.

Predictably, the conversation this year revolved around Twitter, Iran and the transformational power of social media to change the political landscape. The days agenda featured a list of Obama campaign and administration superstars -- and it perhaps is somewhat ironic that Julius Genakowski, the newly appointed FCC chairman wasn't able to attend, as he was being confirmed in DC just as the afternoon sessions began.

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Venezuela investigates Globovision for inciting assassination

James Suggett, Venezuelanalysis.com

The Venezuelan government has opened an investigation into whether the private, opposition-aligned television channel, Globovision, has incited crimes including threats to assassinate President Hugo Chávez. If convicted, the channel could potentially lose its broadcasting license.

The National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) visited Globovision's headquarters in Caracas on Tuesday to notify the directors of an investigation of possible infractions of Article 171, Section 6 of the Telecommunications Law, according to CONATEL legal consultant Roselyn Daher.

Article 171 lists the causes for which a broadcasting concession may be revoked, one of which is if the license holder "uses or permits the use of the telecommunications services for which it is authorized, as means to cooperate with the commission of crimes."

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French council rules Internet access a universal right (while US lags behind)

Jesse Kirdahy-Scalia, Open Media Boston

The French Constitutional Council's recent decision against that nation's "HADOPI" Internet copyright law, which required ISPs to disconnect users after three purported copyright violations, naming Internet access a universal human right and bringing France into alignment with the rest of the European Union, which already rejected such "three strikes" laws last month.

The Constitutional Council's June 10 decision (original French in PDF format) referred to the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which enumerated universal rights—that is, unalienable rights which belong to a person as a matter of their human nature, rather than as given to them by a government. As such, these rights are valid in all times and places, independent of any governing body.

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Net neutrality gains political traction

Seattle Times

The fight to maintain free and open access to the Internet has gained political strength, including a recent boost from President Obama.

Free and open access to the Internet helped the technology grow and thrive. The political fight to maintain robust access for all has picked up strength in Washington, D.C. That is good news for consumers.

The shorthand for the field of battle is net neutrality. Proponents argue that a network provider should not restrict users for reasons against their interests, such as to deny them the right to use certain services because those services are owned by somebody else.

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California's lessons can be model for national broadband stimulus

Alex Tcherassky, Broadband Census

States looking for answers to many questions on how to implement the broadband stimulus program should look to California, said a group of experts Monday during a panel at the Tech Policy Summit on the “state of the state.”

M2Z Networks CTO Milo Medin said California’s state-based mapping data shows approximately 96% of Californians have access to 1.5 Mbps broadband. But San Fransisco Digital Inclusion Project Director Emy Tseng said that the number only measures availability of broadband — not adoption.

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Zimbabwean journalists Journalists spurn government press freedom summit

Busani Bafana, Inter Press Service

Media organisations this week dug in their heels over boycotting a national media conference in the resort town of Kariba, Zimbabwe. State-owned media reported that the much-postponed conference finally opened on May 8, with information minister Webster Shamu lamenting the deep divisions within the media fraternity in Zimbabwe.

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Civil rights group pushes for expansion of low-power FM

Radio Ink

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has put out a new report, "Low Power Radio: Lost Opportunity or Success on the Dial?" The report was issued with the support of Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE), co-sponsors of the Local Community Radio Act, which would lift third-adjacent channel protections for full-power FMs to allow more LPFM licenses.

The report says, "In an era of mass media consolidation, LCCR believes that it is important to preserve an avenue through which diverse viewpoints can be represented over the public airwaves, namely, low-power radio."

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The Cost of downloading all that video

Saul Hansell, Bits/New York Times

In an article in today’s New York Times, I wrote about the controversy over the now-abandoned plan by Time Warner Cable to impose additional fees on customers who upload and download more than a set quota.

AT&T continues to test a similar plan, and many cable and phone company executives still argue that usage is growing so fast, mainly driven by video that they need to start charging heavy users to cover the additional cost of the bandwidth they consume.

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Congressman: Internet caps ought to be against the law

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

Time Warner Cable's Internet usage caps, rolled out to more test markets last week, aren't just generating controversy among the geekerati. With nearly unbelievable speed, in fact, the issue packed its bags and moved to Washington, DC. On Friday, freshman Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) pledged to introduce a bill called the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act" that would, in his words, "prevent job killing broadband internet downloading caps."

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey