Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/18/08

Media group calls for release of two Afghan journalists

KABUL — Reporters Without Borders has called on the Afghan government to release two journalists accused of blasphemy, for which conservative religious clerics have demanded the death penalty.  The international media watchdog said Thursday it was concerned about the fate of the men, arrested separately about two months ago.

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, was picked up in northern Afghanistan in late October on charges of blasphemy and defaming Islam for distributing articles about the role of women in Muslim society, the group said.  Mohammad Ghaws Zalmai, in his 40s, was arrested in November while trying to escape to Pakistan after an uproar about a translation of the Koran that he distributed and was alleged to “misinterpret” parts of the Muslim holy book.   —>

City Sponsored Cable Franchise Hearings… (NYC)
by Arthur (3 comments)

—>   New York City will be holding five (5) public hearings, one in each Borough, to solicit comments from subscribers regarding the NYC CableTV Franchise Renewal of Time Warner Cable, in Manhattan, Brooklyn,Queens and Staten Island and Cablevision, in the Bronx and Brooklyn.Hearings will take place from 3pm-7pm on the following dates and siteswith informative websites. Written and/or oral comments may bepresented at the hearing or to NYC DoITT by submitting comments here.

Bronx: January 17, 2008
Queens: January 22, 2008
Staten Island: January 24, 2008
Brooklyn: January 31, 2008
Manhattan: February 7, 2008

Don’t Change the Channel. Change the System.
by Josh Silver (34 comments)
The Huffington Post

Mainstream media — especially television — is like an alcoholic that keeps binging, repenting, swearing sobriety, and returning to the bottle. Problem is, it’s the American public that’s getting poisoned by their lethal stew of horse-race election analysis, celebrity gossip and soundbite coverage. We go to the voting booth — a right that people fought and died for — knowing very little about what the candidates actually stand for. And you can forget about any information on candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, whom the press has shut out of the debate — literally.

While Wolf Blitzer is throwing softballs at another candidate, Bill O’Reilly is blaming every problem on liberals, and your local news anchor is reporting on a car wreck, we are left without a clue about the issues that count. We don’t know if the president’s “surge” in Iraq is actually working. Or if the recent skirmish between U.S. warships and Iranian speedboats is a real incident or a Pentagon PR stunt. And what are the real implications of China’s $1.4 trillion trade surplus that increases by $1 billion every day? Or what important decision was made by your City Council or school board last night?

Before you shake your head and say that TV doesn’t matter in the age of the Internet, consider this: According to a report recently released by the Pew Research Center, local TV stations remain the No. 1 source of presidential election news. Cable TV news is second; network TV news is third. TV continues to completely dominate as the opinion leader in American politics.

But at some point you need to stop throwing your remote at the TV. Going outside and yelling that you’re “fed up and you’re not going to take it anymore” isn’t working, folks. It’s time to understand what’s really wrong with the media and what’s really needed to fix it. One word: profits.  You can dress up a cash cow and make it look like a news operation, but at the end of the day, they’re milking the information lifeline that nurtures our democracy.   —>

Aide’s new job raises no flags for Bredesen
by Bonna Johnson (2 comments)
The Tennessean

Gov. Phil Bredesen said he sees no ethical conflict with his communications director leaving his staff to work for a public affairs firm that represents AT&T, which is engaged in a fierce legislative battle with cable companies.  Bob Corney, who joined the governor’s staff in February 2004, is leaving at the end of the month. He is not permitted to lobby for a year under the state’s ethics law.   —>

Bredesen to cave in on AT&T bill?
by R. Neal (1 comment)
TennViews (TN)

Looks like Bredesen is set to cave in on the AT&T cable franchise bill. Coincidentally, his communications director has just left and gone to work for AT&T’s lobbyist.  Gov. Bredesen cites the need to expand broadband access as the justification. I agree we need expanded broadband access. This is not, however, the way to achieve it.   —>

Bredesen weighs getting involved in AT&T vs. cable
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)

Gov. Phil Bredesen said Thursday he is considering getting involved in the fight between AT&T and the cable industry over creating a statewide television franchise.  But Bredesen, who stayed out of the brouhaha between the two parties last year, said he would not be coming down on the side of AT&T or the cable industry.  Instead, Bredesen said if he got involved it would be to explore ways to deploy more broadband Internet access into rural areas, which he says is currently insufficient.  “It’s particularly acute in rural areas of our state, which as you know I’m concerned very much about promoting business in,” Bredesen told reporters Thursday. “So I think the possibility exists. I’m not promising it.”   —>

Connect Kentucky Article Raises Bell Lobby Specter
by Drew Clark (1 comment)

Art Brodsky’s 4,789-word article about Connect Kentucky and its offspring Connected Nation has been the talk of telecom circles over the past week…

…What Connect Kentucky doesn’t do, or at least doesn’t advertise doing, is measuring competition in the broadband marketplace. Knowing where broadband is available and where it isn’t available is only the first step in our nation’s broadband quotient. Knowing where broadband competition is available, and who the competitors are, is the crucial next step.

Connect Kentucky and Connected Nation don’t speak much, if at all, about this aspect of broadband mapping. In fact, the Durbin and Inouye bills sidestep this challenge completely. Ed Markey’s “Broadband Census of America Act,” by contrast, clearly states that local information about broadband competitors will be made available to the public. It appears that the Connected Nation approach to broadband mapping, as articulated in the Durbin and Inouye bills, doesn’t contemplate public access to or knowledge about the companies that provide broadband within a given area.   —>

With Comcast Under Fire, Vuze Enjoys Growth Surge
The P2P service claims to have signed up 17 million subscribers since its launch one year ago and says it’s adding 2 million users per month.
by Richard Martin

While controversy swirls around the struggle between traditional big-pipe entertainment providers to the home — specifically the cable carriers and namely Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), the nation’s largest cable TV service — and providers of online peer-to-peer content services, particularly BitTorrent, the market for online movies and other forms of content continues to grow apace.

That growth is benefiting startups like Vuze, the P2P service launched last year by Azureus, one of the biggest BitTorrent client software providers.

Calling itself “the world’s most popular entertainment platform for DVD-quality and HD video content,” Vuze claims to have signed up 17 million subscribers since its launch one year ago and says it’s adding 2 million users per month. Last month the Palo Alto, Calif., company announced a $20 million funding round led by New Enterprise Associates. NEA managing director Mike Ramsay, the co-founder and former CEO of TiVo, joined the Vuze board of directors.

Vuze has become involved in the effort to force Comcast to stop slowing traffic on its network devoted to big file-sharing programs, particularly BitTorrent — which is now thought to account for as much as 50% of all Internet traffic in the United States. On Nov. 14 Vuze filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission demanding that the commission set rules governing traffic management by large Internet service providers, and that ISPs be forced to publicly reveal their policies toward traffic filtering and “shaping.”   —>

Show Us Your Reel Brooklyn: A Video Contest for Brooklyn Teens
by The Changeling
Bed-StuyBlog (NY)

I recently received this information about a video contest open to 9-12th graders in Brooklyn. I sounds like an exciting opportunity for a young filmmaker-to-be:

BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn announces Show Us Your Reel Brooklyn, a borough-wide teen video contest that will launch the new Brooklyn Independent Television show BK 4 Reel. Brooklyn Independent Television is a flagship initiative of Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT), a program of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn.

Participants in the contest are being asked to send in a 2-3 minute video of Brooklyn from their own unique perspective. The video may be in any genre; however, it must be shot in Brooklyn by a 9th-12th grader who either lives in, or attends high school in, the Borough of Brooklyn…  The contest deadline is February 20, 2008. Official contest entry forms are available at and Students with specific questions about the contest may write to bk4reel [at]   —>

Katonah-Lewisboro communications plan
District looks to improve communications
by Matt Dalen
Lewisboro Ledger (NY)

—>  On Thursday, Jan. 10, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Roelle presented a draft of the district’s new communications plan to the school board, proposing a widespread strategy to disperse information to residents, through more meetings, the Internet, cable television, the media, and “backpack mail” flyers…

… The full “public information plan,” as presented by Dr. Roelle, would include a part-time (60% of the work week) public information officer and webmaster, as well as a full-time cable television coordinator. Money for the public information officer was included in the 2007-08 school budget, but has not yet been spent.  A cable television coordinator would need to be included in a future budget should the school board agree that such a position is needed.  How much a potential coordinator would be paid was not addressed. Dr. Roelle told The Ledger later that he had looked at coordinators in two school districts, which paid between $65,000 and $75,000, but that the district would need to make a decision when and if the position made it into a budget.

“We don’t think we’re maximizing the use of cable television,” said Dr. Roelle. He mentioned ideas for broadcasting student performances, timely discussions and more athletic events on public access television, which in Lewisboro is Channel 20. While some athletic events are now broadcast on Channel 20, not all of them are, and the only school-based talk show is the student-produced Straight Talk, which is broadcast intermittently.   —>

Support Free Speech! Judge August to Decide on Future of Public Access
by Cynthia Thomet
Akaku: Maui Community Television (HI)

Show your support for public access and Akaku on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8:15 a.m. at the Second Circuit Court in Wailuku. We are asking supporters to dress in black and appear in court as Judge Joel August presides over Akaku’s case against the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and the State of Hawaii. Through a controversial and unlawful request for proposal (RFP) process that would put PEG access under the influence of state bureaucracies instead of the general public and community organizations, the DCCA and the State of Hawaii have been attempting to take the public out of public access .   —>

Canada Begins Curbing Cross-Ownership
Radio World Newspaper

Canada’s communications regulator has instituted a new media ownership policy to maintain “a diversity of voices” in the country’s broadcasting system.  The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has established a new policy restricting cross-ownership. A person or entity will only be permitted to control two of three types of media serving the same market: a local radio or television station or a local newspaper.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: BitTorrent, broadband policy, cable franchising, cable vs telco, Connect Kentucky, cross-ownership, educational access, freedom of the press, media criticism, media diversity, media justice, media ownership, media reform, net neutrality, P2P, press freedom, rural broadband, video contest, video franchising, youth media

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