Legislation and Regulation

Victory! 3rd Circuit Court overrules FCC on media consolidation

The efforts of public interest advocates across the country were vindicated on July 7 when the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the FCC's controversial 2007 decision to allow media companies to control both newspapers and broadcast stations in the same communities.

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people had spoken out in favor of protecting independent journalism by banning excessive corporate consolidation. In Seattle, over 1100 people spoke out passionately against the FCC's proposal to weaken regulations at Reclaim the Media's standing-room only hearing on the issue. The new court ruling vindicates those efforts and sends the FCC an important message about their obligations to consider grassroots public opinion.

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House votes to overturn FCC net neutrality rules

Diane Bartz, Reuters

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to overturn proposed rules that bar Internet service providers from blocking legal content but give some discretion to ration access for bandwidth hogs.

The vote -- which was spearheaded by Republican lawmakers determined to undo a range of Obama administration initiatives -- would block funds to implement rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission in December.

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Congress debates FCC's net neutrality rules

Amy Schatz, Wall Street Journal

House Republicans attacked new "net neutrality" rules for broadband Internet lines in a contentious hearing Wednesday and criticized Democratic Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski for adopting them.

Republicans are targeting the new Internet rules, which would bar Internet providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic and services, as one of many new regulations, including for health care and the environment, which they say are unnecessary and overly burdensome on industry.

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Cantwell, Franken introduce legislation to protect net neutrality

Office of Senator Maria Cantwell

Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 to ensure the broadband Internet continues to serve as a source of innovation, free speech, and job growth. Though Cantwell believes that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) acted within its authority to issue its own net neutrality rules last December, she stated at the time that they were not strong enough to ensure the Internet remains a source of innovation and economic growth. U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is an original cosponsor of the Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act.

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Inslee: FCC Internet ruling falls short

office of Rep. Jay Inslee

On Dec. 21, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01) issued this statement following the release of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) adoption of the Open Internet Order.

Today's rulemaking from the FCC seeks to preserve the open internet, and protect the foundation that has built industries, fostered marketplaces, and created jobs. I commend the FCC for moving forward on this important policy and ensuring basic consumer protections.

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NAB using dishonest tactics to hold back community radio bill

Paul Riismandel, Radio Survivor

The National Association of Broadcasters has never been a friend to low-power community radio. Back in 2000, when the FCC first created the service, the NAB did everything it could to try and keep it from becoming a reality. While the broadcast lobby failed to stop it outright, the NAB did succeed in getting Congress to significantly curtail LPFM with a last-minute attachment to an omnibus budget bill passed in December of that year. One of the weapons the NAB used was a bogus CD that purported to demonstrate harmful interference caused by low-power stations, that was later disproved by an independent report ordered by Congress.

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The Money and media election complex

Robert McChesney and John Nichols, The Nation

Like the wizard telling the people of Oz to "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain," Karl Rove used media appearances at the close of the 2010 midterm campaign to dismiss President Obama's complaints that Republican consultants, led by the former White House political czar, were distorting Senate and House races across the country with a flood of money—hundreds of millions of dollars—from multinational corporations and billionaire conservatives into Senate and House races. "Obama looks weirdly disconnected—and slightly obsessive—when he talks so much about the Chamber of Commerce, Ed Gillespie and me," Rove mused. "The president has already wasted one-quarter of the campaign's final four weeks on this sideshow."

The "sideshow" from which Rove sought to distract attention was, in fact, the most important story of the most expensive midterm election in American history: the radical transformation of our politics by a money-and-media election complex that is now more definitional than any candidate or party—and that poses every bit as much of a threat to democracy as the military-industrial complex about which Dwight Eisenhower warned us a half-century ago. This is not the next chapter in the old money-and-politics debate. This is the redefinition of politics by a pair of new and equally important factors—the freeing of corporations to spend any amount on electioneering and the collapse of substantive print and broadcast reporting on campaigns. In combination they have created a "new normal," in which consultants dealing in dollar amounts unprecedented in American history use "independent" expenditures to tip the balance of elections in favor of their clients. Unchecked by even rudimentary campaign finance regulation, unchallenged by a journalism sufficient to identify and expose abuses of the electoral process and abetted by commercial broadcasters that this year pocketed $3 billion in political ad revenues, the money-and-media election complex was a nearly unbeatable force in 2010.

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Low-power radio bill down to the wire in Senate

Jennifer Martinez, Politico

A bill that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to give licenses to more noncommercial, localized radio stations is caught in static.

Despite support from both sides of the aisle, including strong backing from Arizona Sen. John McCain, a group of Republican senators have successfully blocked the bill.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso currently has a hold on the measure, which would create a new crop of radio stations — known as low-power FM stations — dedicated to hyperlocal community news, such as information about school boards, city councils and church groups, or spreading music by local artists.

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Paths to preserving an open Internet

Sen. Tom Udall, Politico

It is beyond cliché to note how important the Internet is in modern life. The Internet has transformed not only the telecommunications landscape but also our economy and society.

Over the years, the Net has morphed from a complicated medium for scientists and computer engineers into a network for telecommuting to school or the office, a marketplace for e-commerce and a place to connect with friends via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

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Communities of color call on FCC to apply network neutrality rules to wireless networks

Media Action Grassroots Network

In comments filed today with the Federal Communications Commission, almost thirty organizations, including Reclaim the Media, members of Latinos for Internet Freedom and the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), called on the agency to apply Network Neutrality rules to all Internet access platforms, including on wireless networks.

People of color are among the fastest growing constituencies in the United States and the most active users of the mobile Internet and many rely exclusively on their cell phones and other mobile devices to get online. Communities of color use their mobile devices as a primary tool for activism, community engagement and democratic participation, from defending the rights of immigrants to registering to vote.

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