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.

  • 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?

  • So Who Really Stands to Benefit from AT&T’s T-Mobile Takeover?

    July 1, 2011

    Last week, a group of 76 Democrats made a small splash inside the Beltway after they signed a letter touting the alleged benefits of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger for rural communities and workers.

  • My Fight for Net Neutrality

    June 29, 2011

    Creativity, innovation, and a public that is concerned about the issues affecting them — those are the gifts that net neutrality has given our country.

  • Net Neutrality from the Creators' Perspective

    June 28, 2011

    A number of years ago, I was co-producer of a miniseries for the A&E Network called Biography of the Millennium. With the help of viewers, historians and other experts we chose those who were deemed to be the most important and influential people of the thousand years that began in the year 1001 A.D. and ended in the year 2000.


People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good