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Welcome to the Free Press blog! We post several times a week on everything from Internet access to free speech to media mergers, so check back often to see what we’re up to.

  • Verizon's App-Blocking Defense: "Of Course You Should Pay Twice"

    August 8, 2011

    Verizon Responds to Free Press Complaint by Demonizing its Subscribers

    Leave it to a company like Verizon to respond to criticism of its shady business practices by forcing its customers to pay twice, then basically calling them thieves if they don't.

    First, a bit of recent history:

  • Boston Tells Congress: It’s Time to Investigate News Corp.

    August 8, 2011

    Dozens of media reform activists gathered at the Massachusetts state house to take a stand against mega-media companies like News. Corp. and call for an investigation and Congressional hearings into whether News Corp.’s criminal behavior has spread from Britain to the United States. The rally was organized by the new grassroots advocacy organization, the Boston Media Reform Network.

    Wielding signs with slogans like “Media for the people, not for profit,” we talked with passersby, held signs up at the busy intersection of Beacon and Park Streets outside the state house, rallied around speeches, and walked the sidewalks outside of the Boston Fox TV station, WFXT-25.

  • The FCC Coddles and AT&T Throttles

    August 4, 2011

    The FCC has taken to heart the maxim “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” allowing AT&T another chance to prove that its proposed purchase of T-Mobile is a bang-up idea.

  • Covert Consolidation Hall of Shame

    August 2, 2011

    Covert consolidation is even more pervasive than we realized. When Free Press launched ChangetheChannels.org last month, the site’s interactive map featured 80 markets where two or more stations entered into resource-sharing agreements and, in essence, merged their news operations. These agreements may not technically qualify as mergers under FCC rules because broadcasters claim they are not transferring control of the license, but the effect is the same:  increased profits for station owners at the expense of competition and independent, local journalism.

  • The FCC Proposes to Expose Astroturf Through Ex Parte Reform

    July 29, 2011

    The Federal Communications Commission’s ex parte procedures allow companies, advocacy groups and real people to visit with FCC staff or write to the agency on important topics, provided they disclose publicly what was said in those meetings and filings. The ex parte process may seem obscure to most people, but these meetings have a significant impact on FCC decisionmaking.

  • AT&T to America: Let Us Take Over and We’ll Give You All Broadband

    July 28, 2011

    For most of the twentieth century, AT&T held a monopoly over telephone service in the United States. National sentiment at the time could best be characterized by comedienne Lily Tomlin’s puckish character Ernestine, an employee of the “Phone Company,” who famously taunted audiences: “The next time you complain about your phone service, why don't you try using two cups with a string?

  • "Hello Kettle? It's the Pot Calling ... " Nexstar's Ironic Monopoly Challenge

    July 27, 2011

    Major media companies don't often like to use the "M" word (monopoly) to describe their competition. After all, it might draw attention to their own vast media holdings. But this week, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. couldn't hold back, and flung the word against Granite Broadcasting Corporation -- along with an antitrust lawsuit. 

  • Washington Slowly Wakes Up from AT&T's Bad Dream

    July 21, 2011

    Congress may be finally waking up to the obvious: that the massive merger of AT&T with T-Mobile just doesn't make sense.

    No amount of contributions from AT&T, or visits from AT&T lobbyists, will alter this simple truth.

  • More News is Less News

    July 19, 2011

    It's a record-breaking year for TV news. The average television station is now airing an average of 5.18 hours of local news – an increase of 18 minutes from last year – according to an RTDNA/Hofstra University annual survey.

    But let's not prematurely celebrate this increase in quantity without first asking: Is anyone measuring the quality of this news coverage? Do additional minutes on the news clock actually make viewers more informed? Are TV stations using this added time to air important, ground-breaking news stories?

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good