The People prevail: FCC calls off closed-door meetings on net neutrality

Megan Tady, Save the Internet

You called, you emailed and you signaled your outrage as the Federal Communications Commission continued to meet behind closed doors with Internet companies, and Google and Verizon hatched a side plan on how to manage the Internet.

And then, you prevailed. Amidst a tidal wave of public pressure, FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus called off closed-door negotiations with major ISPs and Internet companies, pledging “to seek broad input on this vital issue.”

Free Press, and CREDO helped generate more than 2,000 phone calls to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s office over the last 24 hours. You called to complain about the FCC’s lack of transparency and urged the agency to put the public interest first in any negotiations over the fate of the Internet.

Read more.

Inslee to FCC: act fast to protect open Internet

Office of Congressman Jay Inslee

This week Congressman Jay Inslee (WA-01) released the following statement regarding recent reports of discussions between Google and Verizon to create a tiered system of access for users:

Read more.

For iPhone users, getting out of jail is free

Dev-Team Blog

Fantastic news today from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). After a lot of hard work and mountains of paperwork, jailbreaking your iPhone is now explicitly a permitted fair use under the DMCA!

The first of EFF’s three successful requests clarifies the legality of cell phone “jailbreaking” — software modifications that liberate iPhones and other handsets to run applications from sources other than those approved by the phone maker.

Read more.

Just say no to fake net neutrality

Derek Turner, CNet

The debate in Washington over Net neutrality--the fundamental principle that keeps the Internet open and free from discrimination--is coming to a head. That means that the wheeling and dealing is under way, and consumers need to watch out.

There are currently closed-door meetings taking place between phone and cable behemoths, and the biggest Internet companies, to craft a "compromise" deal that could carve up the Internet for them and leave consumers and smaller competitors behind. If the fix is in, it won't be long before they launch a PR campaign presenting this scheme as some kind of middle ground far from the "radical fringe." But buyer beware: This could be fake Net neutrality.

Real Net neutrality is when phone and cable companies cannot pick winners and losers on the Internet. Real Net neutrality is when new innovators with good ideas have an equal chance at competing against Google and Yahoo because they don't have to pay ISPs for preferential treatment.

Read more.

Media democracy advocates disappointed in FCC decision to defend discredited media ownership rule

Free Press

The Federal Communications Commission filed a brief today with a U.S. appeals court defending the agency s 2007 decision under former Chairman Kevin Martin to weaken the Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership (NBCO) Rule.

The Martin NBCO Rule, which was adopted as part of the FCC s 2006 media ownership review, is marred by procedural irregularities, ambiguous provisions and loopholes -- all of which run counter to the rule s purpose: to protect local communities from media monopolies and to increase diversity in the marketplace of ideas. The watered-down rule allows media outlets to merge based on promises that the FCC cannot monitor or enforce.

Read more.

Appeals court strikes down FCC restrictions on broadcast indecency

Jim Puzzanghera, LA Times

A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the government's longstanding prohibition against indecency on broadcast television and radio, ruling that the policy was "unconstitutionally vague" and created a "chilling effect" that violated the 1st Amendment protection of free speech.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York is a major victory for the broadcast TV networks, which jointly sued the Federal Communications Commission in 2006 in the wake of a tougher crackdown on indecency over the airwaves.

Read more.

Municipal broadband haters in NC dealt a blow

Matthew Lasar, Ars Technica

"O joyous day! O rapture!" blogged a community broadband advocate on Monday. "That insidious bill [that] incumbents' pocket legislator, NC state Senator Hoyle, tried to pass to kill muni broadband networks met its final demise over the weekend."

Indeed it has. North Carolina Senator David Hoyle's (D-GA) now-defeated amendment (S-1209) was cosmetically titled "An Act to Ensure That A Local Government That Competes with Private Companies in Providing Communication Services Has The Support Of Its Citizens." But advocates of city/county backed high speed Internet projects just knew it as the Municipal-Broadband Must Die Die Die bill.

Read more.

Civil Rights 2.0: NAACP should officially reverse position on net neutrality

Sable Verity, The Fresh Xpress

As people of color we know beyond a shadow of a doubt the way we are portrayed in the media is more about stereotypes than truth. It’s not just news media but entertainment media as well. Those in control of the images and information we consume don’t care to accurately portray people of color, or see the importance in empowering said people to help paint the fuller picture--something the NAACP has historically battled against.

The internet on the other hand, is different. Sites like the FXP and its vast network of Black writers share perspectives, opinions and truths the consumer couldn’t get anywhere else. Ask yourself how you would feel if your internet service provider decided it didn’t like such sites, and prevented your access. What if we couldn't find online:

The Oscar Grant shooting video.

Video of military abuses overseas.

Voter registration information.

Access to family planning clinics.

This is why the debate over net neutrality is so important--and why the NAACP should rethink its stance on this important civil and human rights issue.

Read more.

Time for artists to posse up to work around corporate media dominance

Davey D, Davey D's Hip Hop Corner

One of the more telling aspects that stood out during last week’s Allied Media Conference held in Detroit, is the importance of artists forming collectives as a way to deal with the increasing impenetrable walls preventing access to corporate media outlets. In a world where media consolidation is the order of the day and money and resources are ‘king’ many indy artists are finding that its there’s strength in unity.

It’s become clear as day that when engaging corporate media more often than not, it’s not about preserving, nurturing or appreciating the art. Instead it’s about them finding the most efficient way to make money by obtaining high ratings using a flawed system that seemingly rewards a bland dumb down product that appeals to the lowest common denominator. Hence there’s little or no room for musical expression that doesn’t immediately appeal to the lowest common denominator of a targeted audience.

Read more.

The Media empire strikes back: reviewing reviews of South of the Border

Cyril Mychalejko, Upside Down World

Oliver Stone's new documentary about Latin America's leftward political shift and its growing independence from Washington is being lambasted by the media. This shouldn't come as a surprise as Stone calls out the mainstream media in his new film South of the Border for its mostly one-sided, distorted coverage of the region's political leaders—most significantly Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez .

In an interview with CBS about his new film Stone remarked about America's obsession with empire, maintaining global hegemony, and the paranoia that accompanies such obsessions, saying, "We're a sick country."

And as if on cue, the mainstream media has published a flurry of attacks on the documentary, consequently supporting Stone’s arguments in the film about ideological biases and misinformation  tainting media coverage about the region, while revealing symptoms of this “sickness” he mentions, such as intellectual impotence, pathological lying, and ideological blindness.

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