Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/17/07

[ Thanks to Matt Stoller for calling our attention to this one.  Please click through to show your interest. – rm ]

The United States of AT&T
by emptywheel
The Next Hurrah

Back in June, the Bush Administration invited one of AT&T’s key lobbyists, Ed Gillespie, to serve as White House counselor. A few weeks after that, BushCo expanded AT&T’s resident lobbyist’s role to include most of Karl Rove’s portfolio. Just days after Gillespie took over that role, the DOJ made an unusual intervention into the FCC’s request for comments on Net Neutrality, weighing against Net Neutrality.

Well today, one of AT&T’s former key attorneys, Peter Keisler, just took over the Department of Justice.

In the late 1990s, Keisler represented AT&T before SCOTUS in a case divvying up authority over how the 1996 Telecom Act would be implemented. He represented AT&T and other telecom companies fighting local ordinances limiting the acts of telecommuncation companies.

In early 2001, Keisler helped AT&T win the dismissal of a lawsuit that charged AT&T had illegally shared private information (a customer’s unlisted phone number) with AT&T’s credit division.The Second Circuit ruled that transfer of such personal information does not incur damages, and therefore private citizens cannot sue.

In June 2006, Keisler was one of a number of government lawyers arguing that New Jersey had no legal authority to subpoena documents relating to AT&T’s and other telecomm companies’ participation in the warrantless wiretapping program. Also in June 2006, Keisler invoked state secrets in Hepting v. AT&T, an attempt to scuttle the citizen lawsuits on the warrantless wiretap program.

In other words, both in and out of government, Keisler has represented AT&T’s interests masterfully.  Which makes it rather disconcerting that the AG has the authority to authorize telecomm companies to cooperate in government spying.

(ii) Notwithstanding any other law, providers of wire or electronic communication service, their officers, employees, and agents, landlords, custodians, or other persons, are authorized to provide information, facilities, or technical assistance to persons authorized by law to intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications or to conduct electronic surveillance, as defined in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, if such provider, its officers, employees, or agents, landlord, custodian, or other specified person, has been provided with—

(A) a court order directing such assistance signed by the authorizing judge, or

(B) a certification in writing by a person specified in section 2518 (7) of this title or the Attorney General of the United States that no warrant or court order is required by law, that all statutory requirements have been met, and that the specified assistance is required,

Basically, Bush just gave AT&T the ability to have its long-time lawyer give it legal authority to collaborate with the government to spy on citizens.

And in case you’re worried that AT&T is stuck with no good legal representation, having lost Keisler, rest assured. You see, former Associate White House Counsel Brad Berenson (who also happens to be Kyle Sampson and Susan Ralston’s lawyer) has taken over for Keisler and is working on the AT&T case, among other things.
—>  [ numerous comments follow original post ]

Community Media Experiment 2007: highlights from Plug in TVs 2007 season
Darkness at Noon (Australia)

I’ve just heard about this, which sounds very interesting. PluginTV are a local group that help produce local social justice and enviro shorts. There are 4 films on at Loop, in Melbourne town, Wednesday October 3rd. Entry is free, from 7, starts at 8, finishes at 9.

“Sheryl Oteyza presents “Unheard, Unknown” which investigates the killings taking place targeting union and community leaders in the Philippines. People defending their rights are being shot dead by unidentified armed men… why is this happening and why don’t we hear about it in the media???”

CBC says media consolidation ‘unacceptable’
The Globe and Mail
by Grant Robertson
Public Airwaves

OTTAWA — The level of consolidation in the Canadian media industry has reached levels that “in any other country would be considered unacceptable,” Canada’s public broadcaster told regulators Monday at the start of federal hearings into the state of ownership concentration in broadcasting.  “Our view is, generally speaking, the level of concentration is too high,” said Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president of English language operations at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.   —>

Vote could eliminate some access channels
by D.L. Bennett
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)

Local television in Georgia’s most populous county will be changed if south Fulton voters agree to incorporate Tuesday. By supporting a new city in south Fulton County, voters likely would be wiping out the local government access channels used by Fulton government and Fulton schools.

Local access Channel 25 also would be eliminated because all three public channels are provided by the county’s franchising agreement with Comcast, the cable company. And, if south Fulton incorporates, the county no longer would be in the cable franchising business, because cities would control all the rights of way.

When things might change is unclear because the possible elimination of the FGTV on Channel 21 and the school station on Channel 23 is new territory for all involved.  The possibility has county officials scrambling to figure out what to do.   —>

Salem public access TV focuses on growth
New location to offer more services, space for community voices
by Chris Hagan
Statesman Journal (OR)

Capital Community Television is the Salem area’s public access TV station, showing staff-produced programs such as school board and city council meetings, as well as community-produced shows such as “Friend for Life” and “Cannabis Common Sense.”

Executive Director Alan Bushong has been with the organization since its start in 1989 after spending 11 years at a public access station in Austin, Texas.  He’s now helping oversee the move of the station’s studio from Salem Public Library to a yet-to-be-completed building in what is now a parking lot at Church and Trade streets downtown.  Recently, Bushong talked about the move, his start in TV and how YouTube has changed the way CCTV operates.   —>

Knight-Batten innovation awards announced
by Cory Bergman
Lost Remote
09/17/07 walked away with a $10,000 check after winning the grand prize in the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. “The site not only reports on, but encourages, citizens to participate more directly in the political process,” the panel of judges said. “It’s an amazing source of information from a non-traditional news outlet.” Here are the rest of the winners:

$2,000 First Prize: Crisis Guides
$1,000 Wild Card Award: Reuters’ Second Life Virtual News Bureau
$1,000 Citizen Media Award: The Forum, Deerfield, N.H.
$1,000 Special Distinction Award:’s onBeing
$1,000 Special Distinction Award:’s Varsity MyTeam H.S. Sports

Verizon’s hubris
Why is a market-leading mobile phone company suing the FCC over regulations on airwaves it isn’t even licensed to use?
by Jon Healey

Given the litigious history of the telecommunications industry, it should come as no surprise when a powerhouse phone company sues the Federal Communications Commission over a regulation it doesn’t like. Years of government-guaranteed monopoly profits bred such a sense of entitlement among the telcos that any attempt to open their markets to competition routinely drew fierce responses in court. Nevertheless, the lawsuit filed Sept. 10 by Verizon Wireless set a new standard for hubris. The No. 2 mobile phone company in the country is trying to block regulations that the FCC wants to impose on airwaves that Verizon isn’t even licensed to use, let alone own.   —>

CAAC will self-assess as part of ’08 goals
by Cathy Nelson Price (MI)

Anticipating the ups and downs of future funding, the Cable Access Advisory Commission will step up its monitoring of how well MCTV is doing both fiscally and in delivering programming and services to the viewing public.  CAAC focused on two sets of goals at its Wednesday night meeting: its organizational objectives for the current year and its 2008-2009 plans to be included in the city’s upcoming budget deliberations.

For that budget, the city has requested that all boards and commissions come up with measures to “ensure economic sustainability” through increasing revenues and pruning expenditures. CAAC voted to determine an appropriate level of services cable access should provide, to identify measures to keep that level steady, and to share its findings with the City Council. This will become especially crucial if the current revenue stream diminishes and support for MCTV has to come from the city’s general funds.   —>

Community Foundations and Local News
by Dan Gillmor
Center for Citizen Media

I have an op-ed piece in today’s San Francisco Chronicle urging the nation’s community foundations — which are holding a conference this week in San Francisco — to play a growing role in keeping local journalism vibrant. It starts:

“As America wakes up to the crumbling of basic infrastructure, with Minnesota’s bridge collapse the most recent example, a more subtle but also alarming breakdown is hitting our cities and towns. In community after community, newspapers are shedding editorial staff at a rate that spells trouble for a well-informed citizenry, a foundation of a free society.  Unlike the job of building and maintaining roads and bridges, however, ensuring a vibrant press is a questionable role for government, when a key role of journalism is to question power and hold it to account.”    —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, citizen journalism, citizen media, FCC, human rights, media diversity, media justice, media ownership, municipal programming, PEG access TV, privacy, public access television, spectrum auction

One Comment on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/17/07”

  1. […] In yesterday’s Clippings, there is a link to an interview with Capital Community Television’s Executive Director, Alan Bushong in Salem, Oregon’s In it he addresses two questions that have become integral to this study: […]

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