Media Politics

Writings by Jonathan Lawson

House, Senate launch crusade against media consolidation

Summary:

In the House of Representatives, a bipartisan coalition led by Rep. Jay Inslee has filed a measure that would void the controversial media ownership rules pushed through the FCC by Chairman Kevin Martin last December. The Resolution of Disapproval comes on the heels of a similar resolution filed the previous week by a bipartisan group of Senators including Maria Cantwell, Byron Dorgan, Ted Stevens, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and Olympia Snowe.

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Missing voices at the Seattle FCC Hearing

Jonathan Lawson, Reclaim the Media

[comment at the Nov 9 Seattle FCC Hearing on media ownership]

As Commissioner Copps noted, if there had been respectful noice for this hearing, many more would have turned out tonight. No one can speak for these missing voices. But I will use my time tonight to say at least something about our friends and neighbors who the FCC will not hear from this evening.

If the FCC strikes down the cross-ownership ban, people living in small or medium-sized cities in our region are especially likely to see reduction in the quality and quantity of local news coverage. Northwest rural folks deserve the chance to discuss such concerns with the FCC. So do African-Americans, Latinos and other minority communities, who own few media outlets, and whose voices are severely underrepresented in civic dialogue as a result.

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Ignoring Cantwell and Inslee, FCC rushes to conclude nationwide ownership debate in Seattle

Summary:

FCC to Conclude Nationwide Public Debate on Media Ownership in Seattle

Chairman ignores request from Cantwell/Inslee, provides just five business days' notice

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Grassroots media activism organizes for power

Summary:

A rising wave of grassroots media activism is linking up with social movements fighting racism, sexism, economic oppression, environmental plunder and war - and organizing to re-center media reform efforts on human rights and social justice. Introducing the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net).

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A Century of Media, A Century of War

Summary:

A Century of Media, A Century of War
by Robin Andersen (New York: Peter Lang, 2007)

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Save Internet Radio!

Summary:

UPDATE: Congressman Jay Inslee has introduced the Internet Radio Equality Act to rationalize net radio royalty fees, tying webcaster rates to similar fees paid by satellite radio and jukeboxes. The bill would also trigger a recalculation of rates for noncommercial webcasters. More info here and here.

This March, the music industry overlords at the RIAA succeeded in convincing the government to impose arbitrarily high royalty rates on Internet broadcasters. While the largest corporate-backed webcasters will be able to absorb the higher costs, the very survival of independent streams such as OSeaO and Soma.fm is threatened.

These new rates have little to do with supporting musicians and everything to do with corporate greed, and quashing grassroots broadcasting on the web. Visit SaveNetRadio.org for more information and to take action in support of Inslee's bill, and write to your Congressman directly.

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