Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/04/07

[ Lots happening this week – here’s some non-video franchising stories.  See special edition (to follow) for OH / MA franchising stories.  rm ]
A Quarter-Million Americans Flood the FCC with Calls for a Better Internet
by Tim Karr
The Huffington Post

This weekend, the Federal Communications Commission got an unexpected surprise when a quarter-million people flooded their offices with letters urging the agency to use our airwaves to connect more Americans to an open and affordable Internet.

The mass outcry comes in advance of the FCC efforts to set rules for the upcoming auction of the 700 MHz band of “spectrum.” If used right, this slice of public airwaves could beam cheap, high-speed Internet signals to every park bench, coffee shop, workplace, and home in America.

Dominant phone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast — don’t want that. They’re spending millions to lobby the FCC and Congress to hand them our airwaves.   —>

Save Our Spectrum Coalition Asks FCC To Create Wireless Broadband Competition
Free Press

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission should use its auction of the valuable 700 MHz spectrum to create high-speed Internet service that will be a true competitor to broadband services offered by telephone and cable companies, a group of public-interest and consumer groups said today.

In a series of three filings with the FCC, the six-member Save Our Spectrum coalition said the Commission should structure the auction of the spectrum, and the service offered over it, so that the service will be operated in a non-discriminatory manner, under an open access structure following auction rules that will allow for greater participation than simply the incumbents.

The members of the coalition are: Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, New America Foundation and Free Press.   —>

Venezuela and the Media: Fact and Fiction
Robert McChesney and Mark Weisbrot
The Huffington Post

To read and view the U.S. news media over the past week, there is an episode of grand tyranny unfolding, one repugnant to all who cherish democratic freedoms. The Venezuelan government under “strongman” Hugo Chavez refused to renew the 20-year broadcast license for RCTV, because that medium had the temerity to be critical of his regime. It is a familiar story.  And in this case it is wrong…

… RCTV’s broadcast frequency has been turned over to a new national public access channel that promises to provide programming from thousands of independent producers. It is an effort to let millions of Venezuelans who have never had a viable chance to participate in the media do so, without government censorship.   —>

Censorship or Democratization? RCTV and Freedom of Speech in Venezuela
by Gregory Wilpert
Portland Indpendent Media Center

As far as world public opinion is concerned, as reflected in the international media, the pronouncements of freedom of expression groups, and of miscellaneous governments, Venezuela has finally taken the ultimate step to prove its opposition right: that Venezuela is heading towards a dictatorship. Judging by these pronouncements, freedom of speech is becoming ever more restricted in Venezuela as a result of the non-renewal of the broadcast license of the oppositional TV network RCTV. With RCTV going off the air at midnight of May 27th, the country’s most powerful opposition voice has supposedly been silenced.

It is generally taken for granted that any silencing of opposition voices is anti-freedom of speech. But is an opposition voice really being silenced? Is this the correct metaphor? Is the director of RCTV, Marcel Granier, actually being silenced? No, a better metaphor is that the megaphone that Granier (and others) used for the exercise of his free speech is being returned to its actual owners–a megaphone that he had borrowed, but never owned. Not only that, he is still allowed to use a smaller megaphone (cable & satellite).

In other words, the radio frequency that RCTV used for over half a century is being returned to its original owners-the Venezuelan people-under the management of its democratically elected leadership.   —>

Comcast, DPS mull partnership
by Andy Vuong
Denver Post (CO)

Denver Public Schools officials are looking at using Comcast’s on-demand video technology to train teachers and help students with classwork at home.  The cable giant has told DPS Superintendent Michael Bennet that it has the ability to give access to selected content – such as, for example, a video on best practices in teaching third-grade math – to any specified home in its service area.   —>

Norwood grads urged to look ahead, but not to forget
by Brian Falla
Daily News (MA)

—>   Norwood Public Access Television announced it will give each family of the Class of 2007 a complementary DVD of class day activities as well as graduation, starting June 14. The DVD’s will be available at the high school.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Dir., Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, community media, democracy, media ownership, media reform, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, spectrum auction

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