Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/06/08

League of Women Voters Says Yes to E-Democracy
Keeping the Internet Neutral and Supporting Public Access TV

[ “Emerging Media and Internet Issues: E-Democracy for Connecticut” pdf ]

After a year-long study, the League of Women Voters of Connecticut released new position statements on “Internet neutrality,” universal high speed Internet access for Connecticut residents, and community access television for state residents.

LWVCT President Jara Burnett said, “Over the past two decades, the Internet has emerged as the new press—a neutral, nondiscriminatory agent for free speech, democratic participation, and business innovation. The League will work to keep it that way—and to make sure that all Connecticut residents have an affordable way to acquire the high speed Internet service they need to connect to today’s information superhighway.”

Based on survey results from its 27 chapters around the state, League members voiced their support for state policies that will guarantee that their Internet service providers will not block, discriminate against, or slow down customers’ access to any Internet site.

“Once we’ve paid our monthly Internet service bill, we all expect full access to the entire Internet without our Internet service providers “tampering” with our service—controlling which candidate’s Website will load the fastest or which Internet telephone service we can use,” said League Vice-President Cheryl Dunson.

To support open and transparent government, League members will also lobby for protecting the future of community access television—the local channels that broadcast town council meetings, board of education meetings, candidates’ debates, and public affairs programs. The Connecticut Network, or CT-N, provides a similar service to the people of Connecticut on a channel dedicated to broadcasting the state legislature live and unedited, as well as other statewide meetings and events. The future of both CT-N and community access television have been the topic of debate with the entry of new video service providers into some areas of Connecticut. The state legislature has held hearings about the funding and broadcast quality of community access channels on these new video services.

Ms. Dunson says that the League uses its member-approved positions to advocate in Hartford for, or against, proposed state legislation.

Legislature to consider cable TV compromise
Leaf Chronicle (TN)

[ 1 comment ]

Tennessee lawmakers are expected to present compromise legislation on Monday that would create a statewide system for permitting cable TV franchises. The measure is supported by AT&T Inc., which wants to avoid having to seek hundreds of municipal permits as it enters the cable TV business. Similar legislation stalled last year. But lawmakers have scheduled a news conference on Monday to roll out legislation that is the result of behind-the-scenes negotiations between AT&T, the cable industry and local governments. —>

To YouTube or Not To YouTube: Human Rights Video in a Participatory Culture
by Henry Jenkins
MediaShift Idea Lab

[ comments invited ]

One of our goals at the Center for Future Civic Media is to identify best practices from existing projects which might inform those initiatives which will emerge from the Center. We want to understand how people out there are using the tools available to them right now to enhance civic awareness, to play informal watchdog functions within the culture, to call attention to problems and force governments and other institutions to respond, to skirt around censorship and other kinds of regulation over communication, and so forth.

We are looking at a range of different models — from serious games to programs to support an independent student press. We’ve done interviews; we’ve brought speakers to our lab meetings; we are hosting public forums (such as one to be held later this week at MIT featuring Yochai Benkler and Cass Sunstein, two of the best contemporary thinkers about the prospects of digital democracy.)

Last week, on my personal blog and on the Future Civic Media Blog we’ve been featuring an interview with Sam Gregory, Program Director at Witness, a human rights organization founded by Peter Gabriel in the late 1980s, designed to put cameras into the hands of everyday people around the world so that they can document abuses by authorities. The organization emerged in the aftermath of the Rodney King video, which had sparked much greater public awareness of police brutality in the United States, and the hope was to create what Gregory refers to as a “participatory panopticon,” as the wide spread availability of media production tools and the expansion of a distribution network for digital video makes it possible for people to record and transmit their own experiences of abuse. Those who might be seen as victims in one context are taking media in their own hands

I met Gregory during a recent DIY Media event at USC where he spoke about the decisions his organization faced between circulating these videos via a site like YouTube and creating their own web portal, The Hub, to create a better context for people to encounter human rights videos. What follows are a few highlights from this exchange, but to get the full account, I encourage you to follow links back to our blog. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, citizen media, human rights, net neutrality, participatory culture, PEG access TV, public service advertising, video franchising

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: