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November 5, 2007

The Net @ Risk update

by Rick Karr

Since we're talking about media this week, it seems to be a good time for an update on the fight over “net neutrality."

(If you're not familiar with the term, all you need to know is that this battle is a lot like the one over media ownership that we cover on this week's show: It involves the FCC, and it pits media conglomerates – in this case the cable and telephone giants that Rick Karr by Robin Hollandprovide most Americans with Internet service – against the public interest. For a more detailed explanation, check out the web page for the documentary that we broadcast on the subject last year.)

Public-interest advocates say net neutrality is essential to preserving openness, innovation, and free expression online. Cable and telephone conglomerates and their allies argue that net neutrality is a “solution in search of a problem” -- in other words, that they'd never censor or otherwise interfere with online content.

But a few recent incidents have cast doubt on the conglomerates' claims, according to net neutrality advocates.

(Photo: Robin Holland)

Continue reading "The Net @ Risk update" »

November 2, 2007

Is the Internet the antidote to media consolidation?

by Rick Karr

Rick Karr by Robin HollandA majority of Americans (pdf) think media consolidation is a bad thing, as we report in this week's JOURNAL. So why do Republican members of the FCC want to allow more consolidation?

The answer, in two words, is "the Internet”. Let's look at the argument that leads up to that conclusion:

(Photo: Robin Holland)

Continue reading "Is the Internet the antidote to media consolidation?" »

October 31, 2007

Preview: Minority Media

(Can't Play This Video? Click here for quicktime and windows media versions)

Big Media is pushing the FCC to relax ownership rules again to give conglomerates more control over what Americans read, see, and hear. What most Americans don't know is that the FCC plans to fast track the rule changes and cut off public comment in December. Who wins and who loses?

On Friday, November 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), Bill Moyers Journal reports on the real-world consequences of media policy through the lens of how it affects minority media ownership in America.

Check Your Local Listings here and we'll see you on the blog after the show.

August 23, 2007

Poll: Net Freedom or Limitation?

One important aspect of the complicated issue of net neutrality relates to whether stricter regulations on Internet providers could have an adverse effect on developing new web innovation. Read this opinion below:

Mr. and Ms. Consumer are starting to demand a lot from their Internet. They want on-demand movies. Voice-over-Internet telephone service. Streaming live video. And, very soon no doubt, a lot of data-rich services that we haven't even heard of yet. Those sorts of services will require Internet providers - like, yes, the telecoms and the cable firms - to invest enormously in expanding the pathways for that coming flood of data. If we want movies (and we do) and if we want streaming video (and we do), then someone must pay for the huge infrastructure improvements necessary to deliver those innovative services into our offices and homes. Government-enforced "net neutrality" would stifle that innovation. It would temper the consumer-driven imperative to make the Internet work faster and better."

- "'Net Neutrality' Would Stifle Innovation," editorial, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, June 26, 2006

But Jeff Chester of THE NATION disagrees:

"According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out...If we permit the Internet to become a medium designed primarily to serve the interests of marketing and personal consumption, rather than global civic-related communications, we will face the political consequences for decades to come. Unless we push back, the "brandwashing" of America will permeate not only our information infrastructure but global society and culture as well."

- "The End of the Internet?," Jeff Chester, THE NATION

Learn more about net neutrality here.

What do you think? Answer our poll question then debate the topic below:

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