The fight for Net Neutrality has turned into a lesson in Washington, D.C. sausage making. In the latest round, the usual special interest groups – led by lobbyists from AT&T, Verizon and their pet trade association CTIA – are pouring all their energy into arguments that wireless networks cannot be subject to Net Neutrality rules because of purported technical obstacles.
As we debate the future of news, we need to keep in mind what this debate is really about. We need to ask ourselves, “What is it we’re trying to save, protect or foster?” Or asked another way, “Journalism for what?” Identifying what we mean by journalism and why we care about its future is central to figuring out what solutions might get us there.
The most common response to these questions is that journalism is fundamental for our democracy. It's hard to argue with that, but how does it help guide us toward a new vision for news?
An online publication that will go unnamed and unlinked has accused Free Press of hypocrisy, claiming that as we criticize the Federal Communications Commission for secret meetings, we hide evidence of our own advocacy activity in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act. The allegations are ludicrous on their face.
A familiar foe is once again threatening the future of many U.S. magazines and newspapers — and it’s not the Internet. The U.S. Postal Service’s recent proposal to hike postal rates has print publications even more worried about their future.
The USPS is asking the Postal Regulatory Commission to approve emergency rate increases in order to help offset a $7 billion deficit this fiscal year, which ends in September. But the rate increases, which would be the third price hike to hit periodicals since 2007, may put dozens of already struggling independent and alternative print publications — like In These Times — in jeopardy. They would balloon publications’ postage costs at a time when raising subscription prices and expanding ad revenue is basically out of the question.
The outrage has yet to dissipate over Google and Verizon’s pact to direct the Federal Communications Commission – an independent federal agency - to grant the companies’ Internet wish list: no Net Neutrality protections for wireless Internet and fake Net Neutrality protections for wireline Internet.
Minnesotans – and folks in all surrounding states – listen up! If there’s one reason to break from your summer vacation, leave work early, or just step out of your daily routine, this would be it: your chance to tell the Federal Communications Commission in person that you want Net Neutrality and free speech online.