Blog

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.

  • 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?

  • AT&T and T-Mobile: Fewer Jobs, Less Investment

    July 14, 2011

    This week the Washington Post's Cecilia Kang reported that the Obama Administration is feeling "caught in the middle" between consumer advocates — like Free Press — who oppose AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile, and labor unions

  • What's Behind Newport TV's Covert Consolidation?

    July 14, 2011

    When Free Press’ Change the Channels initiative shined an uncomfortable spotlight on Newport TV’s business practices, the company responded with threats and demanded that YouTube take down our video exposing it. In the week since, buzz has been building around how Newport used a baseless copyright threat to try to silence a critic.

    The Change the Channels campaign highlights covert consolidation going on in over 80 communities involving 200 stations. It is worth looking into why Newport reacted so strongly to being identified as a covert consolidator. 

  • The Trouble with Rupert

    July 12, 2011

    There are many reasons that the scandal that's engulfing Rupert Murdoch has riveted public attention over the last seven days. It's a story that features all of the classic elements: twists of fate, betrayal, deception, abuse of power, and, even, murder.

    But beneath Murdoch's meltdown lies a bigger problem, and its one that's not confined to the United Kingdom. It plagues all consolidated news organizations that reach a certain size and stature, but especially News Corp: The problem of media that get too cozy with power.

  • Free Press to Newport: We won't be silenced!

    July 11, 2011

    Two weeks ago, Free Press launched Change the Channels, a new campaign to uncover and fight covert consolidation, a practice whereby TV stations outsource their local news operations to their competitors resulting in less local competition and diversity, and sometimes even duplicate newscasts. We dubbed this trend “covert consolidation” because the stations involved often use contractual agreements and backroom deals to get around the FCC’s media ownership laws. But the results can be just as bad as outright consolidation.

    We seem to have struck a nerve.

  • Will the new copyright-policing deal become the Heckler’s Veto?

    July 8, 2011

    ctc_copyright2.pngThere’s a concept in the law of free speech known as “the Heckler’s Veto.” It’s the idea that if a speaker creates such a stir that he is silenced to avoid enraging the audience—perhaps to the point of violence—then the audience, and the most unhinged among them, gets to determine the limits of free speech.

    In the United States, that sort of thing is generally frowned upon.

  • Public Interest Wins, Corporate Media Lose: Court Overturns FCC Decision to Relax Media Consolidation Rules

    July 7, 2011

    We just scored a huge victory for the public interest.

    Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to weaken its ownership rules and allow big media companies to buy up even more local outlets.

    In 2007, the FCC ignored letters and calls from millions of Americans and tried to change its media ownership rules to allow companies to own both newspapers and broadcast stations in the same market. This change would have given individual companies enormous – and unacceptable – control over your local media in print, on TV, on the radio and even online.

    Free Press and a coalition of public interest organizations challenged the FCC in court, and today the court agreed that the FCC was wrong. The court also upheld all other media consolidation restrictions and told the FCC it needed to do better to support and foster diverse voices in the media – two crucial decisions in the fight to build better media. With very few exceptions, the court squarely rejected the big media companies’ arguments.

    At a time when corporate control of our media and our democracy is spinning out of control, this decision is a vital win.

  • Verizon's Illegal App Blocking

    July 6, 2011

    What if your Internet service provider told you what kind of computer you could use and what kind of software you could run on it? Would you stand for it?

  • Google vs. Facebook: Should Human Rights Factor in Your Choice of Social Network?

    July 6, 2011

    Question: What would billionaire Mark Zuckerberg lose by refusing Chinese demands that he censor Facebook? What would he and his company gain from being more principled?

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