Archive for the ‘internet censorship’ category

FCC En Banc Hearing on Broadband Network Management Practices

February 27, 2008

A lot has been written about this hearing already.  Here are a just a few blog and press accounts. Net neutrality advocates, stay tuned to SavetheInternet.com, and help line up co-sponsors for the Markey/Pickering Internet Freedom Protection Act of 2008 – rm


FCC Hearing Video Webcast:
http://www.fcc.gov/realaudio/mt022508v.ram
Commissioners Statements: http://fcc.gov

Comcast, net neutrality advocates clash at FCC hearing
by Matthew Lasar
Ars Technica
02/25/08

[ 29 comments ]

A civil but tense tone prevailed at today’s Federal Communications Commission’s hearing on how to address concerns that Comcast and other ISPs degrade P2P traffic. Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen was the star of the show, and he knew it. “It’s a pleasure to be here as a participant and hopefully not the main course for your meal,” Cohen told all five Commissioners and a lively audience during the event’s first panel discussion, held at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   —>
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080225-comcast-and-net-neutrality-advocates-clash-at-fcc-hearing.html
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[fccboston08] FCC hearing: Ed Markey
by David Weinberger
JOHO the Blog
02/25/08

[ 26 comments over 16 posts ]

NOTE: I am live-blogging. Not re-reading for errors. There are guaranteed to be errors of substance, stand point and detail. Caveat reader.  Rep. Ed Markey opens it. He’s been one of the staunchest and most reliable defenders of an open Internet. He recalls his long standing on the Internet’s behalf. He asks us to keep users in mind, preferring their needs to that of the carriers. What a concept!   —>
http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2008/02/25/fccboston08-fcc-hearing-ed-markey/
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FCC chief says Net providers can’t block access ‘arbitrarily’
Delays by Comcast are focus of hearing
by Hiawatha Bray
Boston Globe
02/26/08

CAMBRIDGE – Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin warned yesterday that Internet service providers can’t block consumers from using lawful Internet activities in the name of providing better service.  “While networks may have legitimate network issues and practices,” Martin said, “that does not mean that they can arbitrarily block access to certain network services.”   —>
http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2008/02/26/fcc_chief_says_net_providers_cant_block_access_arbitrarily/
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The FCC holds a hearing on Net Neutrality, and YOU! ARE! THERE!
by John Sundman
WetMachine.com
02/26/07

[ 2 comments ]

So yesterday morning over coffee I was doing what most people do over their first daily cup o’ joe, which is bring up technorati and see if anybody’s talking about me. That process took me to Joho’s page, from which I learned that the FCC was to be holding an hearing on why Comcast sucks, I mean Net Neutrality broadband network management practices only hours thence. Now although to my surprise & delight, Wetmachine, thanks to the work of my fellow wetmechanics Harold Feld and Greg Rose has become quite the FCC policy site with a side-order of net neutrality, I had never been to an FCC hearing. A quick check of the boat and bus schedules showed that I could probably make it to Hahvahd in time for most of the festivities. I decided to go. So, after securing the blessings of Dear Wife and throwing a few things in a bag, off I set to lose my FCC-hearing virginity.

Below the fold, some totally subjective impressions of the day, told in that winsome wetmachine way that you’ve come to treasure, or if you haven’t yet, which you soon will. More sober-styled reports have surely appeared by now, and I’ll dig up some links & post them at the end for those of you who like a little conventional reportage to ballast what you get from me.   —>
http://www.wetmachine.com/item/1084
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FCC En Banc: Annals of the Battle for the Last Mile
by Fred Johnson
Media-Space-Place-Network
02/26/08

[ 1 Comment ]

Harvard Law School was “Markey Country” today as Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey defended net neutrality in his opening remarks before the FCC’s Public En Banc Hearing on broadband network management practices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Markey declared the US “no country for old bandwidth” and hung around to observe, with the rest of us, the FCC, “en banc” and securely enclosed in Harvard space droning through a tedious day of testimony and q&a, comfortably surrounded by an audience packed with polite but bored Comcast employees trained to provide applause on cue.   —>
http://fredjohnson.mwg.org/?p=65
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Network neutrality: code words and conniving at yesterday’s FCC hearing (Part 2 of 2)
by Andy Oram
O’Reilly Radar
02/26/08

[1 comment ]

Yesterday I summarized the public FCC hearing about bandwidth at the Harvard Law School, and referred readers to a more comprehensive background article. In this article I’ll highlight some of the rhetoric at the meeting, which shows that network providers’ traffic shaping is no more sophisticated or devious than the shaping of public perceptions by policy-makers and advocates.   —>
http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/02/network-neutrality-code-words.html
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Comcast Paid Shills To Attend FCC Hearing
by Wendy Davis
Online Media Daily
02/27/08

The Federal Communications Commission hearing about net neutrality this week was so crowded that police had to turn away an estimated 100 people from the Harvard Law School classroom where the event was held.  The large audience even seemed to surprise some of the organizers, who did not have an overflow room available on site.

But now, it’s come out that the packed room wasn’t just filled with concerned citizens. Comcast paid shills to arrive early and save seats so that employees and other supporters could attend and cheer on executive vice president David Cohen.

The move came to light after the net neutrality advocacy group Free Press posted an MP3 file (http://www.freepress.net/docs/paid_to_hold_seat.mp3) of an interview with an unidentified line-stander on its site.  “Honestly, I’m just getting paid to hold somebody’s seat,” a man said on the recording. “I don’t even know what’s going on.”  Pictures also surfaced online showing audience members sleeping during the hearing.   —>
http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.san&s=77363&Nid=39790&p=909427
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Comcast Manipulating NAACP on Net Neutrality
by Matt Stoller
OpenLeft.com
02/27/08

[ 4 comments ]

By now you’ve probably heard that Comcast hired a crowd to sit in an FCC hearing on net neutrality so interested citizens couldn’t get a spot to speak.  The gist of Comcast’s excuse is that they hired people to hold spots for Comcast employees, though those people accidentally fell asleep and stayed in their seats throughout the entire hearing.  Nuts.

Interestingly, there’s a bit more to the story, and it involves the cozy relationship between the NAACP and Comcast.  Corporate funding of civil rights groups has been a quiet and dank hallmark of liberal politics for decades.  Most of the time these partnerships are innocent, but they lead to some coincidentally problematic situations.  For example, here’s what else was going on in Boston around the FCC the day before the rent-a-crowd incident.   —>
http://openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=4209
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The FCC and ISPs talk about BT while FP demands “Net Neutrality!”
by thecrazedman
The Crazed Man’s Words
02/27/08

[ comments allowed ]

Yesterday I attended the public hearing held by the FCC at Harvard Law School that was addressing allegations lodged against Comcast and other ISPs that they deliberately have (and continue) to delay and block P2P applications to and from their users, whom are paying customers. No matter if the files being shared are legal or not, these ISPs have been accused of managing their networks unfavorably to the file-sharers all across the United States.

I was invited to the event by my Professor, David Monje, whom shares a friendship, academic and otherwise, to the members of FreePress.net. From FreePress’ perspective this was billed as an attemp “To Save The Internet” as Net Neutrality is a major lobbying issue for this non-profit organization. I was really excited to be there and hear what both sides had to say.

There was a lot of enlightening information from both panels, specifically panelists Marvin Ammori, Yochai Benkler, Timothy Wu, Richard Bennet, David Clark, and Eric Klinker. These men are all from different backgrounds surrounding the internet and this issue of net neutrality. I am going to follow from the notes I took and expand from what kind of discussion developed.   —>
http://thecrazedman.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/the-fcc-and-isps-talk-about-bt-while-fp-demands-net-neutrality/
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In Comcast vs. Verizon, Comcast is Down Two Counts
by Drew Clark
DrewClark.com
02/27/08

[ comments allowed ]

Dominance in the broadband market is a battle of both technology and politics. Right now Comcast, America’s leading cable company, is losing on both counts.  Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen emerged from the Federal Communications Commission’s hearing on Internet practices in Cambridge, Mass., as unable to defend himself and his company against charges of blocking the peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet application BitTorrent.  Comcast also came out looking like the kind of bullying corporation that resorts to packing the auditorium with its own employees.   —>
http://www.drewclark.com/in-comcast-vs-verizon-comcast-is-down-two-counts/
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For the Clueless Among Us: Why Comcast Paying Folks to Attend FCC Hearing Is Wrong.
by Harold Feld
Wetmachine.com
02/27/08

[ comments allowed ]

I can’t believe I actually need to explain this.  Suppose Comcast made the following offer: If you vote “no” on a ballot initiative we like (and agree to take a pocket recording device into the voting booth with you so we can have proof), we will pay you $50.

Most of us would not only say that this is wrong, we would have no problem understanding why that’s a crime. We would not be persuaded by Comcast defending itself by saying “well, Free Press and other organizations have campaigned in support of the bill and are calling people to ask them to go out and vote — they even provide free rides to people likely to vote for the initiative. That’s just like paying people directly to vote the way we want.” In general, we recognize a difference between organizing ad trying to persuade people to vote the way you want and actually paying people for their vote (and wanting a receipt)…

This isn’t some gray area of giving local employees the day off with pay and a free ride while others had to take time off ad make their own way. This is just hiring warm bodies to block others and — if they stay awake long enough — to applaud on cue. The notion that this is in any way comparable to the kind of civic conversation that democracies depend on and the sort of organizing that Free Press engages in — citizens persuading other citizens and urging them to make their voices heard — is worse than ignorant and beyond Orwellian. It is downright insulting. It takes our most fundamental right and responsibility as free citizens and transforms it into a mockery. It is literally to defend the practice of placing democracy up for sale, and to reduce our democracy to the level of a banana republic.   —>
http://www.wetmachine.com/item/1087
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/17/08

January 18, 2008

Rebecca Padula on the film, “Margaret’s Waltz”
by Jane Lindholm
Vermont Public Radio
01/17/08

During her lifetime, Margaret MacArthur was both a singer and a collector of songs.  For her work preserving oral traditions, she was designated a New England Living Art Treasure, and invited to sing at the Kennedy Center, and colloquially, she took on the name, “Vermont’s First Lady of Folk.”  In May, 2006, MacArthur died at age 78, in her home in Marlboro, after being diagnosed with a rare brain disease just a week earlier.

Now another Vermont folk musician is working to preserve MacArthur’s legacy.   Hinesburg resident Rebecca Padula has produced a 90-minute documentary called Margaret’s Waltz.  The film recently took top honors at the Northeast Alliance for Community Media’s Best Documentary. …and will be shown Friday evening in Burlington. She spoke with VPR’s Jane Lindholm about the film.   —>
http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/78986/
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Post Punk Recipes: Now Playing: Vegan Soup
by Serge Lescouarnec
Serge the Concierge
01/17/08

–>   Rather than merely playing background music , Post Punk Kitchen intersperses its vegan cooking thrills with indie bands on their Public Access TV Shows.  They are taking a break from the Limelight but you can browse The Archive to see past productions…  As for mixing music and cooking  on TV, they are not the only ones as I illustrated in Cook and Groove with Neneh Cherry.    —>
http://www.sergetheconcierge.com/2008/01/post-punk-recip.html
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Marital Bliss
Are the House speaker and his lobbyist wife teaming up for AT&T?
by Jeff Woods
Nashville Scene (TN)
01/17/08

Even the jaded denizens of the state Capitol are wrinkling their noses at House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh’s intervention in one of the legislature’s costliest business battles ever.  Hordes of lobbyists are cashing in on AT&T’s attempt to compete with cable TV companies in Tennessee—and so is Naifeh, assuming he derives benefit from his lobbyist wife Betty Anderson’s lucrative income.

Last year, with Anderson lobbying for the cable industry’s Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, Naifeh was cool to AT&T’s legislation, and it failed. This year, Anderson has switched sides, signing on as a consultant with AT&T, and suddenly—guess what?—Naifeh is springing into action, leading lengthy negotiations in the past month to hammer out a compromise that’s likely to favor his wife’s client.

The working relationship between Anderson, known as the state’s most powerful lobbyist, and Naifeh, the House speaker for 16 years, has long been controversial—critics say it amounts to legal bribery—but rarely has Betty’s influence over Jimmy seemed so obvious. Asked about the apparent conflict of interest, Naifeh casts himself as an unbiased mediator between cable companies and AT&T, which combined to spend nearly $11 million lobbying the bill last year alone.   —>
http://www.nashvillescene.com/Stories/News/Woods/2008/01/17/Marital_Bliss/
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Bredesen may weigh in on fight over cable
Jackson Sun (TN)
01/17/08

Gov. Phil Bredesen says he may get involved in a contentious proposal to change cable permitting rules in Tennessee to encourage broadband access around the state.  Bredesen, a Democrat, stayed out of last year’s legislative fight over the measure that would create statewide franchising rules that would allow companies like AT&T Inc. to avoid having to seek hundreds of municipal permits as it enters the cable TV business.  The measure failed last year, but the speakers of both chambers expect this year’s effort to have a better chance of passage.   —>
http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080117/NEWS01/80117021
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Verizon arrival highlight of annual cable report
by Vincent Todaro
Sentinel (NJ)
01/17/08

EAST BRUNSWICK- The township is beginning to have access to Verizon’s fiber optic cable lines, a move that some residents hope will increase competition and keep cable TV prices in check.  Township Council President Catherine Diem recently gave an update on the cable television issue as it is playing out in East Brunswick. During a December council meeting, she said Verizon now serves slightly less than 10 percent of the township with the fiber optics technology. The company expects to have the entire community serviced within the next three to four years…

One drawback to Verizon’s system is that it does not yet provide residents with access to EBTV, the township’s cable access station, Diem said. EBTV has been advertising a bulletin board and public service announcements to alert residents of the fact that the channel is only available on Comcast.

Verizon is signing people up for cable service, Diemsaid, but it cannot provide the local cable access channel, which has resulted in some “confusion” among residents.  “As people sign up, they are expecting [EBTV],” she said.  According to Diem, Verizon would not comment or give an update on when the EBTV channel might become available.   —>
http://ebs.gmnews.com/news/2008/0117/Front_Page/026.html
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City looks to expand television channel
by Nicole Young
Capital Online (MD)
01/17/08

To say that programming on the city’s public access channel is scant would be a compliment.  City spokesman Ray Weaver is hoping to breathe life into the boring channel, which up to now has consisted of little more than City Council meetings, religious bulletins, and artist Bob Ross painting happy, little trees more than a decade after his death.

After going on hiatus more than two years ago when the original television studio was shut down, city officials are working to revamp programming on the public access channel found on Comcast channel 99.  Mr. Weaver said he is working to expand the channel’s offerings to include live broadcasts of all public meetings as well as a weekly news program, a city police show and several new shows focusing on things like art in the city.

He also said he wants to answer the age-old question posed to governments time and time again – what do you actually do?  “We want more government-centered programming, more meetings and we want to get as many cameras out there as possible,” Mr. Weaver said. “Sometimes people think we’re not concerned or connected and we don’t care, but we want people to see what we do.”

And now, work is being done to outfit the second floor of the former city Department of Planning and Zoning office at 159 Duke of Gloucester St. with a full Comcast television studio for the broadcast of city programming.  The station is funded mainly by Comcast cable subscribers, as a small portion of their subscription charges go to the city for channel maintenance. The former studio was shut down in hopes of relocating, but was put off for other projects.  “We have an obligation to use our station,” said Mayor Ellen O. Moyer. “We can’t not do our programming so we’re moving forward.”

Since the hiatus, programming on the channel has been running on minimum, with City Council meetings every second and fourth Monday of the month; religious programming, and 30-minute City Hall shows featuring aldermen and department heads discussing the latest issues.  But city officials are hoping to expand to as many as 35 new programs for the station.   —>
http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2008/01_17-23/TOP
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Verizon applying for cable franchise
by Charlie Breitrose
MetroWest Daily (MA)
01/15/08

NORTHBOROUGH – Town residents could have their pick of cable providers within the next several weeks after Verizon New England Inc. submitted an application to provide cable television, Internet and phone service to the town.  Verizon filed an application at the end of October, said Kathy Dalgliesh, director of Northborough Cable Access Television.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/northborough/news/x254745309
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BATV considers moving station to Brookline High School
by Neal Simpson (1 comment)
Brookline Tab (MA)
01/16/08

Brookline High students may soon have the chance to get a taste of Tinseltown without leaving the classroom.  The school district is considering whether to set up a pair of television studios in the school, where public access television producers could work side by side with students. The studios, which could open as early as fall 2009, would be modeled after similar programs in Watertown and Beverly.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/brookline/news/education/x1295936911
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Footage flap irks immigration critic
by John Hilliard
Metrowest Daily News (MA)
01/17/08

FRAMINGHAM –  A local opponent of illegal immigration said his civil rights were violated after his public access television show was pulled off the air by the town’s cable station last week.  “This is an abuse of power,” said Jim Rizoli, who leads a local anti-illegal immigration group and hosts a weekly TV show that targets illegal immigrants.

He said his show was cut short last Thursday and replaced mid-broadcast with another program because it included 20 minutes of footage shot by the town’s government cable channel. He said the town’s director of media services, Ron Rego, told Rizoli that footage was the town’s copyrighted material and could not be used for his own show.   —>
http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1613095207
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Why AT&T’s Copyright Filter Could Suck For Everyone — Including AT&T
by Dan Frommer
Silicon Valley Insider
01/16/08

If AT&T installs a copyright filter on its broadband network, will it shoot itself in the foot?  Last week at CES, reps from NBC, Microsoft, and AT&T discussed whether Internet service providers should take a leading role in filtering out pirated, copyrighted content from subscribers’ broadband connections. “What we are already doing to address piracy hasn’t been working,” said AT&T exec James Cicconi, according to the NY Times.

Why would AT&T offer such a service? It could conceivably charge studios for the filter. It might convince itself that it has a vested interest in stopping piracy because it is now a content provider, via its “U-Verse” TV service. And if AT&T frees up enough of its pipes — pirated video uses up a ton of bandwidth — the filter could even cut network capex.

But are any of those rationales worth the blowback? No way, Columbia Law prof Tim Wu writes in a Slate column .

Key questions: How would the filter know the difference between a legal download of copyrighted content and an illegal download of the same content? How will AT&T offer customer service for the filter? If your download gets stopped, do you have to sit on hold with a rep to sort things out? The first time that happened, we’d cancel our DSL subscription.   —>
http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/01/why-atts-copyright-filter-could-suck-for-everyone-including-att.html
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Berkeley Center for New Media gets endowed professorship
by Heidi Benson
San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
01/17/08

UC Berkeley is announcing Thursday the establishment of the first endowed professorship in the 5-year-old Berkeley Center for New Media.  The $3.1 million endowment was seeded by a $1.6 million gift from the Craigslist Foundation, the nonprofit branch of the popular community networking hub founded by San Francisco resident Craig Newmark.  The additional funds will come from a landmark $113 million gift from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, intended to create 100 endowed chairs at the university.

“It’s a good match,” said engineering Professor Ken Goldberg, who was appointed director of the Center for New Media in July.  “Our mission is to advance new media in the public interest, and to explore the effect of new media on culture,” said Goldberg. “In terms of innovation and public service, Craigslist is one of the companies we admire most.”   —>
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/17/MN19UGDJ1.DTL
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Craigslist to establish first endowed faculty chair in new media
by Marie Felde
UC Berkeley News (CA)
01/17/08

The University of California, Berkeley, today announced plans to establish the first endowed faculty chair at the Berkeley Center for New Media with a donation of $1.6 million from craigslist, one of the most popular Web sites in the world.

The donation, which will support research, symposia and lectures, will be matched with $1.5 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for a total of $3.1 million. The matching funds come from the foundation’s landmark challenge grant, announced last September, that it gave to UC Berkeley to create 100 new endowed chairs. The new chairs are designed to help the public research university compete with private institutions.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau said the craigslist donation recognizes the Berkeley Center for New Media as a major research center where scholars and students “explore the powerful effect of new media on culture and think rigorously about how new media will continue to change our lives and perceptions.”   —>
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2008/01/17_craigslist.shtml
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LiveBlogging NYMIEG Breakfast – Wireless, Wimax and future of communications
by Howard Greenstein
Random Thoughts from Howard Gr
01/17/08

Breakfast – Wireless and Wifi and The future of communications. Sree starts the panel with nice overview.  Laura – research on wifi use- Cities and public spaces and homes are rapidly being overlaid with a wireless ‘blanket’ of wifi, rfid, Bluetooth, etc. Ubiquity- anytime, anywhere as a tag line. “Freedom is the purpose.” Research indicates that Location and context is most important, not ‘freedom”.

Wifi is a factor in attracting people to go to places – like Bryant Park or Starbucks. Searching for info relevant to their geographic location is a major activity. Mobile entrepreneurs who need to get out of their homes, and spend up to 12 hours a day at wifi locations. Starbucks, Bryant Park, NYPub Libe, and indie cafes.

Skews male (65%), higher income, early adopters. Locations have constituencies. Splash pages that are intro to wireless points are very important places to adv, pass on info.   —>
http://howardgreenstein.com/blog/archives/2008/01/liveblogging_nymieg_breakfast_-_wireless_wimax_and_future_of_communications.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/04/08

January 6, 2008

Editorial: County sells out to cable provider
St. Petersburg Times (FL)
01/04/08

State Rep. Trey Traviesa, R-Tampa, was the force behind a predatory law last year that enables the pay-TV industry to wring even more from its customers while giving back less in return. Local government and consumer groups opposed the legislation. The cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg are fighting the fallout in court. Hillsborough County Commissioners, though, are more interested in exploiting the law for their own self-promotion than in defending the public interest. Once again, the county distinguishes itself by siding with big business instead of average citizens.

St. Petersburg and Tampa sued Bright House Networks when the cable company pushed government television from basic service to a more expensive tier. Bright House’s move followed a change in state law last year that moved regulatory control from cities and counties to more relaxed oversight by the state. St. Petersburg and Tampa question whether federal regulations protecting public access to government programming bar moving it to a more expensive tier. Rather than join the fight, Hillsborough commissioners cut a deal Thursday. They accepted $150,000 in free advertising, equipment and other support from Bright House to boost the county’s in-house propaganda efforts, with the goal, officials said, of “increasing our customers’ perception of the value of county services.”   —>
http://www.sptimes.com/2008/01/04/Opinion/County_sells_out_to_c.shtml
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Area city officials oppose AT&T push for video, TV service
by Hank Hayes
Kingsport Times-News (TN)
01/04/08

BRISTOL — Officials with Tri-Cities municipal governments expressed opposition to AT&T’s legislative push for a statewide video services franchise while handing out their 2008 policy marching orders to Northeast Tennessee lawmakers Friday.  The policy document given to lawmakers during a Bristol Motor Speedway meeting stressed that Tri-Cities governments support “a level playing field and fair competition” for cable TV and video services but said the legislation AT&T wants would give the telecommunications giant an unfair competitive advantage.   —>
http://www.timesnews.net/article.php?id=9004528
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Cable giant holds reins
Comcast’s shift on local access reflects the times
by Tim Skubick
Lansing State Journal (MI)
1/04/08

Admittedly picking on the cable TV industry is easy. What other industry can routinely tell its customers to wait at home for a month for the repair guy to show up?  Now comes the decision to hijack local access shows from the easy to find lower tiers of the cable box to the 900 range, the Siberia of cable programming. This is a violation of principle.   —>
http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080104/OPINION02/801040314/1085/opinion
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Columbia Access Television: Is the show over?
The public access station is at a crossroads
by Emilie Rusch
Columbia Missourian
01/04/08

A canopy of studio lights from years gone by — still bearing the stenciled letters of the KTVI television station in St. Louis — hangs from the rafters of Studio A at the Stephens College Helis Communication Center.  This was supposed to be the home of Columbia Access Television, or CAT, which had hoped to outfit the basement studio with equipment able to withstand a constant stream of Stephens students and public access producers eager to get their work on TV for all to see.

But the studio is far from the hub of activity CAT volunteers dreamed about.  In fact, the door is usually locked. CAT instead has set up shop in the much smaller Studio B.  For three years, CAT treasurer Stephen Hudnell has cobbled together meager budgets unable to fund big-ticket studio equipment or even a single full-time employee. Operating a public access channel on $30,000 a year was a challenge, but CAT was getting by in what Hudnell called “budgeted crisis mode.”  “We’d settled into a routine, but at the same time, we (were) not growing.”

Beth Pike, a CAT volunteer and a member of the city’s Cable Task Force, said it wasn’t easy.  “The only way we did it was because we had volunteers that have been running the station, keeping the doors open,” Pike said. “No one wants to do that continuously.”

Last spring, CAT found itself in a situation beyond its budgeting control after Gov. Matt Blunt signed a new cable law that caused the city’s negotiations for a new franchise agreement with Mediacom to crumble. That agreement was supposed to have included assurances that Mediacom would provide adequate funding for CAT.

When the talks fell through, CAT took a hit. An anticipated $10,000 check from Mediacom never arrived. And with less than $600 in the bank, CAT had to go to the City Council for help. Then, in late September, days before CAT received the first half of $15,000 in bridge funding the council promised, something happened that never had happened before: CAT bounced a $100 check.  “We were literally, for the first time in all these years, completely out of money,” Hudnell said. “This is nowhere near what we expected.”

What carried CAT through three years of chronic underfunding was a federally recognized standard that’s been successfully realized in coastal and Midwestern communities alike. In today’s media world, advocates say, it’s important for everyone — the public, the schools and the government — to have access to the airwaves.  “It’s people. It’s their lives in Columbia, what they experience, what they care about, and a way to communicate that to their community,” Hudnell said. “That’s as important to me as roads and sewers and everything else.”

But now CAT has reached a tipping point: either it receives stable, adequate funding, or it goes off the air. Permanently.  CAT volunteers hope that money will come in the form of a five-year contract through which the city would funnel much of its new franchise fee revenue to the station. That contract could be up for a vote by the council as soon as Jan. 22.  “If we don’t get proper funding, we’re not going to continue the effort,” Pike said. “It’s just going to die.”   —>
http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2008/01/04/columbia-access-television-show-over/
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Cable Panel Chairman likes current PEG operator
by Paul Tucker
The Union News (PA)
01/02/08

The Chairman of the Scranton Cable Consumer Advisory Panel, a organization established under the terms and conditions of the Franchise Agreement between the City of Scranton and the cable television operator, told the newspaper he thinks Scranton Today, the current operator of the Public Educational and Government (PEG) access channel’s does a wonderful job operating them.  Charlie Spano, the Chairman of the panel, established under Section 32 of the agreement, believes the recent discussion of replacing Scranton Today as the PEG channel’s operator has more to do with control of the content of information than wanting to improve the programming.

“There no doubt in my mind. Some programming, especially the council meetings, have caused discomfort for some and they want it stopped,” said Mr. Spano.  He compared the live and taped broadcasts of government meetings by Scranton Today as the same as C-Span television. “Government is not always pretty. But people have the right to see it, warts and all,” added Mr. Spano.   —>
http://www.democratictalkradio.com/wordpress/?p=645
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City to hold hearings for cable watchers
by Frank Lombardi
New York Daily News
01/04/08

The city is giving cable television viewers a rare opportunity to make some static about the service they get from providers.  Viewers will be able to sound off in person at a series of public hearings in coming weeks being held by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.  The pulse-taking of cable viewers is a prelude to DoITT’s renegotiation of its nine outstanding cable television franchises, which all expire this fall, some on Sept. 16 and the others Oct. 8. They are up for a 10-year renewals.

Seven of the franchises are controlled by Time Warner Cable. They service a combined 1.1 million subscribers in Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens and part of Brooklyn. The other two franchises are controlled by Cablevision, with 600,000 subscribers in the Bronx and a part of Brooklyn.   —>
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/01/04/2008-01-04_city_to_hold_hearings_for_cable_watchers.html
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City access TV programming mainstay in line for ‘facelift’
by Cindy Barks
Daily Courier (AZ)
01/04/08

PRESCOTT – A format change is in the works for the “Prescott Today” show, the mainstay of the City of Prescott’s offerings on the local public access television station.  For more than 10 years, the local “Today” show has showcased members of the Prescott City Council interviewing various community officials and residents on a range of topics.  The half-hour show regularly airs on Access 13, the local public access channel.

Beginning early this year, “Prescott Today” will undergo changes that will involve not only its presentation, but the filming location as well.  “The ‘Prescott Today’ show needs a facelift,” said Kim Kapin, marketing coordinator for the city. Rather than the strict interview segment, he envisions using a “news wheel,” involving a more fast-paced format that combines a number of features.  Kapin, who took on the marketing job with the city just over a year ago, has years of experience in television as a writer and producer. Prior to moving to Prescott, he worked in Los Angeles for the E! Entertainment network and the Dick Clark Company.   —>
http://www.dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&subsectionID=1&articleID=51245
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China clamps down on Internet
Sunday Times
01/04/08

Beijing – China has announced tough new rules to crack down on the explosion of audio-visual content on the Internet, reiterating that sex and politically sensitive material will not be tolerated.  Only state-controlled entities will have the right to operate websites that post audio-visual content, according to the rules, placing into doubt whether Chinese will have access to foreign video sharing sites such as YouTube.  It was not immediately clear how the new rules will foreign-based Internet video sharing sites, such as YouTube, or Western companies already operating in China, such as Yahoo and Google.   —>
http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=672655
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/11/07

December 12, 2007

AT&T negotiating with local government…in Mississippi
by Andrew Eder
Knoxville News Sentinel (TN)
12/11/07

As AT&T tells Tennessee that it’s too cumbersome to negotiate for TV franchises with each local government — spawning an epic battle to change state law — the company has negotiated for a local contract in suburban Memphis, according to the Commercial Appeal.  The cable industry and local governments, which oppose AT&T’s statewide franchise proposal, have asked why AT&T can’t negotiate contracts with individual Tennessee municipalities. This latest twist should open up a new round of questions about why AT&T can do it in Mississippi, but not Tennessee.
http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/eder/2007/12/att_negotiating_with_local_gov.html
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New government channel to educate Nevada County
by Soumitro Sen
The Union (CA)
12/10/07

If C-SPAN is here, can NCTV be far behind? Starting Dec. 19, Nevada County residents will be able to watch local government meetings around the clock on an exclusive government channel aired by Nevada County TeleVision (NCTV).  In addition, a partnership with Suddenlink cable in south county will enable residents in Truckee, Colfax, Lake of the Pines and Alta Sierra to watch NCTV and the new government channel.

“My vision is to help unify the county through live broadcasts of (local) government meetings so citizens can better understand and participate (in the government process),” said Lew Sitzer, director of NCTV. “(The new channel) will include not only planning commission meetings, but also board meetings of the fire district and the water district.”   —>
http://www.theunion.com/article/20071210/NEWS/112100106
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Champaign staff against funding another cable channel
by Mike Monson
News-Gazette (IL)
12/11/07

The city’s staff is urging the council to reject using city funds or higher cable bills to pay for a proposed public-access channel to serve Champaign-Urbana.  The council will consider the issue tonight in study session at 7 at the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

The staff recommendation goes against that made by a city consultant, the Moss & Barnett law firm of Minneapolis, in its recently completed assessment of the community’s cable needs. The report was prepared to help identify community needs before the start of cable franchise renewal negotiations with Comcast, which is expected to become the city’s new franchisee within a few weeks, taking over from Insight Communications.  Champaign and Urbana’s 15-year cable franchise agreements expire Feb. 28, 2009, and the cities are readying for negotiations.

Moss & Barnett is recommending the cities negotiate creation of a fifth access channel that would be devoted exclusively to public access programming – programs submitted or created by the general public.  Currently, there are four access channels, one each for Champaign and Urbana, plus channels the cities have allocated to the University of Illinois and Parkland College. Champaign’s channel is devoted exclusively to government programming, while Urbana divides its content between government and public access.

Besides a new public access station, Moss & Barnett also recommends that the cities should negotiate obtaining $400,000 in capital funding from Comcast to equip the station, which would likely lead to an 18-cent per month increase in Champaign-Urbana subscribers’ cable bills for five years. Federal law allows cable operators to recover negotiated costs from subscribers.

The report also recommends that the public-access channel should have an annual $300,000 operating budget that could be funded from franchise fees levied by the cities. It is this recommendation that city staff doesn’t agree with, said Jeff Hamilton, a telecommunications and audiovisual technician for Champaign.  “The administration is supportive of creating a fifth channel that could be used jointly by our citizens,” Hamilton said. “We don’t feel it’s in the best interests of the city to fund it with city dollars or to increase cable bills to pay for that.”   —>
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2007/12/11/city_staff_against_fundinganotherchannel
~

State Assembly approves video franchising bill
Wisconsin Technology Network (WI)
12/11/07

Madison, Wis. – AB 207, a bill designed to intensify cable television competition in Wisconsin, has passed the State Assembly and remains one signature away from becoming law.   —>
http://wistechnology.com/article?id=4390
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AT&T U-verse access debated
City’s low-income areas often lack cable alternative
by Rick Barrett and Ben Poston
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
12/10/07

—>   Yet even as AT&T irons out some technical glitches, such as occasional video and Internet lockups and problems with sound-picture synchronization, U-verse finds itself in a statewide debate over competition and access in the video and Internet businesses.

Today, the state Assembly is scheduled to vote on legislation that proponents say would open Wisconsin to real competition in cable and video services.  The legislation would give cable and video providers a single statewide franchise and scrap the present system that forces them to negotiate separate contracts with each community they serve.

But opponents say the measure lacks adequate consumer protection, and they point to the rollout of U-verse in Milwaukee as evidence that AT&T has been “cherry picking” neighborhoods where it wants to offer the service.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he’s worried that AT&T will exclude some parts of the city from U-verse.  “I don’t want to see a service map with a huge doughnut hole in it,” he said.

240 locations, 15 in poorer areas

A Journal Sentinel analysis of U-verse “service cabinet” locations that have been approved or are awaiting approval in Milwaukee shows that significant parts of the city aren’t covered. The cabinet locations are “nodes” that provide U-verse to a neighborhood.  Of 240 locations, only 15 are in census tracts where the median household income is less than $24,130, the 2007 federal poverty threshold for a family of five, according to the analysis.

There are 40 of those tracts, which accounted for 11.3% of the city’s population in 2004, but account for only 6.25% of the approved or pending U-verse cabinets.  “These trends are very disturbing to me,” Barrett said Monday. “We will be talking with AT&T about filling in the gaps and reversing the trends shown on the map.”  U-verse has been available in selected areas of Wisconsin for about nine months. But it’s unclear exactly where the service is offered, or when it’s coming to a neighborhood, because AT&T refuses to provide detailed information.   —>
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=695172
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Pancake breakfast at Applebee’s
The Citizen of Laconia (NH)
12/11/07

The Tilton Police Union will sponsor an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at Applebee’s Restaurant in Tilton on Sunday from 7:30 to 10 a.m.  Proceeds will go toward scholarships, providing needy families with Christmas baskets, and the WLNH-Lakes Region Public Access Television-MetroCast Cablevision Children’s Auction, along with the other community activities the union provides.   —>
http://www.citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071211/GJNEWS02/712110067/-1/CITIZEN
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Avoid the crowds: Watch Merriment on cable TV
by Stan Musick
The Reporter (CA)
12/11/07

This year’s 25th celebration of Merriment on Main was a lot of fun. My fellow volunteers from Vacaville Community Television and I recorded the event for broadcast on your Public Access cable TV Channel 27.  We were able to work with the event coordinators to provide a live broadcast in the streets the night of the Tree Lighting.   —>
http://www.thereporter.com/letters/ci_7691033
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Santa Claus is coming to town … again
by Brian Falla
Daily News Transcript (MA)
12/10/07

Due to overwhelming demand, Santa Claus is coming to town again this year to talk live with kids on Norwood Public Access Television.  “Norwood Digest” host Jack McCarthy said he received confirmation from Santa last week when he attended the annual Friends of St. Nick luncheon to benefit Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  Santa will again be making an appearance on NPA’s “Norwood Digest” show, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. and kids can call in live to talk with Santa and drop any last-minute gift hints to the man in red.

McCarthy will once again be sitting down with Santa and sipping hot cocoa in front of the fireplace during the one-hour show that has become a holiday tradition.  Norwood Public Access held the first “Live Santa” chat last year and decided it had to do it again.  “We must have had 40 or 50 kids talk to Santa last year,” said NPA station and public affairs coordinator Karen Murphy. “It was so popular, Santa asked us if we could come back again this year.”   —>
http://www.dailynewstranscript.com/homepage/x1206958914
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Mass Confusion: Bright House Channel Changes Start Today
St. Petersburg Times (FL)
12/11/07

As you may already know by now, tons of channels are changing on Bright House Networks in every one of its Tampa Bay area cable TV systems in seven counties. Pinellas County has been hit the hardest, with 42 different channel changes, including moving the government and public school channels into the high definition tier. It’s all in the name of standardizing channel numbers in every market….

I also got this email from the good folks at Verizon:

“Our channel line-up for PEGs is already “in order” and will not be changed. The link below provides you with our overall line-up. The PEG channels are available to both analog (Local Package on this list) and digital customers in the same location. The overwhelming majority of our FiOS TV customers take the digital Premier package. One, it is the foundation of our bundled offerings; and two, at $42.99 for standalone (STBs, taxes and fees are extra), it is priced very competitively to Bright House’s analog and digital packages.”   —>
http://blogs.tampabay.com/media/2007/12/mass-confusion.html
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Beware Of Channel Changes: Playmates Turn Up Where Government Used To Be
by Walt Belcher
The Tampa Tribune (FL)
12/11/07

In the great channel shake-up that is going on with Bright House Networks today, Hillsborough County subscribers don’t get a break when it comes to getting E! separated from C-SPAN2.  For years, this odd combo has shared the same channel space. It’s politics in the daytime and pop culture at night.  C-SPAN2, which features coverage of Senate hearings, runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Then E! kicks in and runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Today, this odd couple has moved from channel 51 to channel 22, formerly the home of Hillsborough County Government Television.

If you haven’t been paying attention, and you click to tune in to see the next Hillsborough County Commission meeting or a Planning Commission meeting, you might be surprised to find something such as “The Girls Next Door,” the E! series that follows the adventures of three of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Playmates.  After a few minutes of that, you may not care that the Hillsborough County government channel has moved to channel 622. All the access channels are up in the 600s now.   —>
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec/11/ba-beware-of-channel-changes-playmates-turn-up-whe/
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Controlling the Internet
by Mic Mell
State of Mind of The Art
12/11/07

As if throttling Bit Torrent, blocking access to sites like AllofMP3.com and PirateBay, and endless industry litigation aren’t eroding net neutrality enough, the IFPI is taking it a step further.  The IFPI is an international version of the RIAA, and the recently sent a memo to the European Union about file sharing.  The IFPI wants to see Europe’s internet monitored, managed, and controlled.  They are presenting a “complete solution to piracy”.  This three step process looks something like this:

1.  Scan the entire internet for audio files, and block files that don’t match up to a database of music.  This practice is called content filtering.  Although it seems benign, the practice of monitoring the entire internet is a slippery slope toward full scale surveillance.  Aside from harming commerce and academic research, having a huge government database of people’s web activity can be used for more malicious purposes then chasing down people who are illegally downloading music.

2.  Blocking peer to peer protocols.  A protocol is a standard for connecting and sharing data, and P2P networks have their own protocol.  If ISPs systematically ferret out and block these protocols, academics and businesses won’t be able to share large files, either.   —>
http://www.polyvibeentertainmentgroup.com/2007/12/11/controlling-the-internet/
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/24/07

November 26, 2007

[blip.tv ?posts_id=504973&dest=-1]
episode 22. drishti media & video volunteers
by noneck
On the Luck of Seven (India)
11/23/07

(T)he journey into understanding participatory culture doesn’t start with digital technology. the study of participatory culture should arise from the understanding that one shoe doesn’t fit all. since my time in ahmedabad, i’ve come to see drishti and video volunteers as the premier example of interactivity between online/offline, between old media/new media, between bitching and getting things done. the prime directive should not exist on earth. if we truly care about a participatory society, we must embrace tools as forms of technology and work hard to impart their use among all. i hope you check out more of video volunteers work.
http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode_22
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Weapons of mass distraction
by asterix786
Straight from the Gut (India)
11/20/07

There’s a looming threat of misinformation in the Indian subcontinent. Most media houses are either run by businessmen with strong links to politicians or worse, run by the khaki-clad themselves. If it was a covert operation earlier, today the ownership is out in the open. Every political party worth its salt is trying to gather as much media steam to envelop the country. Knowledge is power, but when the power of disseminating it is at the hands of netas, you have to take every information from their media vehicles with much introspection. —>
http://asterix786.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/weapons-of-mass-distraction/
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Why the Maghreb needs community radio (Morocco)
by Hélène Michaud and Andy Sennitt
Radio Netherlands Worldwide
11/22/07

All that’s needed to create a community radio station is a low-powered transmitter and antenna, a small studio and a microphone. Yet this phenomenon, considered irreversible and essential to development and democratisation elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, has not spread to the countries of the Maghreb. However, there are increasing calls, in particular in Morocco, to introduce community radio.

One of the main proponents is Professor Jamal Eddine Naji, who holds the UNESCO Chair in Public and Community Communication in Rabat. The reforms announced by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to fight corruption and improve the country’s human rights records must be extended to the media, he says, in order to be successful.

Professor Jamal has been trying to mobilise Morocco’s burgeoning civil society to consider using community radio as a tool. Many private radio and television networks have recently been launched in Morocco, but “we need to go much further in the direction of the appropriation of the media by Moroccan citizens.” And this means opening up the media landscape to community radio. —>
http://www.radionetherlands.nl/features/media/071122-maghreb-community-radio
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Wired resistance in Pakistan
by Amber Vora
Rabble News
11/23/07

It should come as no surprise that on the fateful night of Musharraf’s first coup in 1999, one of the only showdowns occurred at the state-run PTV television station. The offices were stormed by armed men, some backing Musharraf and others backing then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. At the time PTV was the only news station in Pakistan, so controlling its broadcast meant controlling the news. PTV went off the air for 3 hours that night. When it returned, it was to announce the dismissal of Sharif’s government.

Loss of access to communications has become a warning sign to Pakistanis that trouble may be brewing. In September 2006, a massive power outage caused an interruption of television broadcasts, spurring rumors that another coup had transpired. In that instance a technical failure, not the Army, was to blame.

This time around, when Musharraf declared de facto martial law on November 3, there were many more television stations to shut down – ironically the very same private stations that were allowed to flourish under his rule. He also placed severe restrictions on print media, leaving most Pakistanis with limited information about what is happening inside their own country. However, such measures no longer control the flow of information as effectively as they did eight years ago…

Several LUMS students I interviewed spoke with the giddiness of those who have only recently discovered their power. Their sentences were peppered with the parlance of blackberries, blogs, facebook and flickr. A senior named Ayesha described how SMS’s spread faster than wildfire across the campus, announcing and coordinating meetings and rallies.

Photos of a favourite professor being arrested by police were circulated over the Internet, outraging previously apolitical students. Cricket star turned political party leader Imran Khan, who temporarily escaped arrest, issued YouTube appeals from hiding encouraging students to mobilize. —>
http://www.rabble.ca/news_full_story.shtml?x=64736
~

Cable bill proves campaign reform need urgent
by Dave Zweifel, editor
Capital Times (WI)
11/23/07

On Sunday the State Journal ran a front page story that suggested the new “cable reform” legislation might not save consumers money after all. So what else is new? The story confirmed what opponents of the legislation had been repeatedly saying as loudly as they could for months and months while AT&T and others filled campaign coffers in the state Legislature.

It’s what we said in numerous editorials leading up to the final vote in the state Senate earlier this month and what several in-depth reports by our reporter Judith Davidoff revealed several weeks ago. Not only is this new law unlikely to save cable TV customers any money, it severely weakens the consumer safeguards that have been in place in Wisconsin since cable TV arrived on the scene.

A majority of the state Senate thumbed its nose at the consumer advocates, who wanted some safeguards written into the bill. Those advocates wanted to protect things like the funding of public access channels, which cable TV firms are required to provide now.

If the Assembly concurs in a few changes made by the Senate and Gov. Jim Doyle signs the measure, and the betting is that he will, local control of cable will be taken away. The state’s Department of Financial Institutions, a department led by political appointees, will provide oversight instead.

In what has to be the irony of ironies, the supposedly corrupt state of Illinois enacted a much more consumer-friendly cable law when that issue came before its Legislature earlier this year. It remains a mystery why Wisconsin legislators couldn’t insist on at least the same safeguards.

And when the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the organization that monitors campaign contributions, detailed the largess senators received from AT&T and others supporting the legislation, there were howls of indignation from the politicians. It’s irresponsible, one Senate staffer wrote me, after we printed the WDC’s report that the 23 senators who voted in favor of the bill received $1.2 million in contributions from the special interests backing the legislation.

No, what’s irresponsible is the Legislature’s continued failure to fix this system that allows special interests to ply government officials with huge sums of money and, in the end, get what they want at the expense of the public interest. Even if this were all somehow just a coincidence, the public perception is clear — our government is for sale to the highest bidder. —>
http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/column/258402
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AOC & LUS’ Franchise
by John St. Julien
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
11/23/07

This morning’s Advocate has a story focusing on one benefit from Tuesday’s approval of the LUS’ cable franchise: Acadiana Open Channel (AOC) will benefit to the tune of $50,000 dollars and a new capacity to offer on-demand programming.

As Blanchard points out, most of the franchise agreement is, for legal reasons relating to the (un)Fair Competition Act, a clone of Cox’s 2000 agreement. There are some differences, however, including the way the LUS agreement deals with the Acadiana Open Channel:

Each year, the Cox franchise agreement requires Cox to pay $50,000 to the open channel to run a public access channel, although that figure can go down if the city-parish doesn’t match funds up to a certain amount.

The LUS agreement calls for the open channel to get a flat $50,000 regardless of any conditions.

While there is a dark lining on this silver cloud, my guess is that Ed Bowie over at AOC’s Lee Avenue offices regards this as a good thing. After all, the perennially cash-strapped organization is getting a new, solid, continuing funding source for the next 10 years. With new federal regulations threatening to further erode the principle of local control of cable media by telling localities that they can’t demand much of anything other than cash for letting cable corporations rent their rights-of-way all public access groups are facing a bleak future. Likely LUS’ commitment will make it politically difficult for Cox to back out of its commitments just because the Feds say they can renege. Cox appears to have a good relationship with AOC. The corporation recently extended AOC’s reach into the surrounding communities recently (you can see AOC’s programming in X, Y, Z now) and provides AOC with net connection. (LUS should certainly match that.)

Even as AOC programming has solidified—it now really fills the two channel slots it has been allocated—and in part because of increased demand for its services AOC’s staffing problems have increased. This is especially true in the critical technical area that will be its future and the additional shot of money will no doubt be helpful there.

But there is a downside to the LUS’ unconditional gift to AOC. It’s unconditional. That means that should the council decide it doesn’t want to match LUS’ contribution in the same way it matches Cox’s then their decision to be chintzy doesn’t let LUS off the hook. With the Cox money the local government has to continue to support AOC or let Cox walk away with money that could be returned to the community. The way LUS has set up its contribution the city is freed from that responsibility. Of course that doesn’t free it from the moral obligation to help pay for valuable community resources. AOC is a magnet for creative types and AOC’s broadcasting of public meetings is an essential public resource. The city-parish should do the right thing. —>
http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2007/11/aoc-lus-franchise.html
~

Mark Cuban upset with P2P freeloaders
by PelicanKiss
Housequake.com
11/23/07

In a blog titled “An Open Letter to Comcast and Every cable/Telco on P2P” Mark Cuban urges broadband Internet providers to “BLOCK P2P TRAFFIC , PLEASE.”

Calling P2P users “freeloaders” he urged internet service providers to charge commercial rates to users Seeding or relaying P2P traffic. He said “The last thing I want slowing my internet service down are P2P freeloaders. Thats right, P2P content distributors are nothing more than freeloaders. The only person/organization that benefits from P2P usage are those that are trying to distribute content and want to distribute it on someone else’s Bandwidth dime.”

The outspoken billionaire arguably has an interest in freeing up bandwidth currently being used for P2P traffic. His 2929 Entertainment venture is working to implement a distribution plan that includes simultaneously releasing movies theatrically at the same time they’re available in home video formats. No doubt he’d benefit from reduced P2P traffic as it would free up bandwidth that could be used to deliver quality hi-def content. However, rival content providers are testing P2P technology, most notably BitTorrent, for their own content delivery. Even the music industry is looking at the potential of a P2P distribution model. No doubt they’re less than thrilled with his proposal. —>
http://www.housequake.com/showthread.php?threadid=96912
~

More cities broadcasting their business on the Web
In effort to increase transparency, more municipalities air meetings, offer services online
by Elizabeth Langton
The Dallas Morning News
11/24/07

Two decades ago, broadcasting city council meetings on cable access was cutting edge. But not in the age of wireless Internet, YouTube and podcasts. Now people expect information on demand, and government is responding by putting more and more of its business on the Web.

Municipalities across the Dallas-Fort Worth area offer a variety of online services, such as ways to report tall grass and broken streetlights or to pay parking tickets and water bills. Some have posted videos on YouTube and set up podcasts on iTunes. And a growing number provide on-demand video of council meetings. “It’s fast food, immediate gratification,” said Laura Hallmark, assistant to the city secretary in DeSoto. “Everybody is in a hurry. They want what they want, and they want it right away.”

The Texas Legislature first offered online video of proceedings in 1999. A handful of state boards offer webcasts of their meetings. When New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer took office in January, he ordered that all of the state’s public meetings be broadcast on the Internet to make government more accessible. —>
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/112507dnmetcitiesonline.16620d3.html
~

The Role of Ethnic Media and Ways to Report on Minorities
by Andrew Lam
New America Media
11/24/07

It is very difficult to frame the picture of the US media because we’re in a period of great turmoil. We have cable, DSL, bloggesphere, major, alternative, youth, and ethnic media, just to name a few. More fragmentation is sure to happen as more individuals have the power to be broadcasters and reporters and entertainers than ever before. We’re also in the age of citizen reporters- people who have a mobile phone and tape and take pictures and film events and break news before any professional journalist can arrive to the scene.

Major news organisations are losing viewers/listeners/readers while small news providers sometime discover that they can reach far wider audiences than they ever dreamed before. The mainstream press is shrinking and many are putting their resources on-line. This is where it’s still dynamic and vibrant.

Ethnic media, however, are growing and there’s still room to grow as the US demographic shift is changing very quickly, toward more a pluralistic society. In California, one out of 4 persons is an immigrant and 40 % of California households speak a language other than English. Our news organization has a directory of ethnic media and so far we identified more than 2500 news outlets that serve ethnic communities in the US. We think the real number may be more than double of what we chronicled.

When we did a poll as to how many American adults access ethnic media, the results were astounding: 51 million American adults access one form of ethnic media or another. That’s about one sixth of the general population. Half of them use ethnic media as their primary source of information. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the white population in the US will be under the 50% mark. This means that there’ll no longer be a majority. It also means that we should all prepare ourselves to find good viable models for our very pluralistic society. —>
http://blogs.newamericamedia.org/andrew-lam/893/the-role-of-ethnic-media-and-ways-to-report-on-minorities
~

Finding their own voice
by Matthew Ricketson
The Age (Australia)
11/24/07

HERE are two snapshots of the ways young people engage with the media: the first is from the shootings in April at Virginia Tech in the US, where, as Cho Seung-hui went on a rampage over several hours, students sought information and sent out news by using their mobile phones and laptop computers wirelessly connected to the internet.

They sent text messages to reassure their parents; they called friends, asking if they had heard of anything untoward at their college; they urgently searched online news websites for official confirmation, and they used their mobile phones to film the terrifying events as they happened.

In this snapshot, young people performed not only the traditional role of eyewitness to newsworthy events but used modern communication technologies to act as news-gatherers. When the mainstream media arrived, desperate to find out what had led one student to shoot 32 of his classmates and teachers, many young people showed an acute awareness of the media’s modus operandi and a savvy regard for the value of controlling their own “story”.

These young people are not just consumers of the media, but “pro-sumers”; that is, producers as well as consumers, who in the world of web 2.0 interact with media outlets and even create their own media.

The second snapshot comes from a survey, released in the same month as the shootings, that tested young people’s knowledge of news and current affairs. Conducted by the Pew Research Centre, a philanthropically funded nonpartisan “fact tank” based in the US, the survey showed that 56% of people aged 18 to 29 performed poorly on its test. Only one in six performed well. The test asked Americans to identify various public figures and tested their knowledge of recent events such as the Democrats gaining a majority in the House of Representatives, as well as their understanding of issues such as whether more civilians than troops have died in the Iraq war. The Pew Centre found that only one in four young people could identify Nancy Pelosi, who this year became the first female Speaker of the House, but that 95 per cent could identify Arnold Schwarzenegger — they got a tick if they identified him as either California Governor or a former action movie star.

What are we to make of these seemingly contradictory snapshots? When it comes to media, are today’s young people free-thinking innovators or self-centred escapists? Are we looking at a possibly disastrous decline in public knowledge, or a youth-led backlash against elitist and increasingly irrelevant traditional media?

Discussion of the issue is fraught, both because young people act as a lightning rod for society’s anxieties and because the media are a conductor for those anxieties. Further complicating the picture are the changes blowing through the media — the biggest since the introduction of television more than 50 years ago. So how, exactly, are young people using the media? —>
http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/finding-their-own-voice/2007/11/23/1195753307168.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/10/07

November 12, 2007

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State of Emergency in Pakistan: An Analysis of Local Media
by Huma Yusuf
MIT Center for Future Civic Media
11/09/07

Much can be said about Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf’s decision to declare a state of emergency in my home country. In this post, I will set aside political commentary and restrict my comments here to the role that news media and new media are playing in the national crisis.

On Saturday, November 3, soon after proclaiming emergency rule in a televised address, Musharraf demanded that all cable operators stop beaming the broadcasts of all local and foreign new channels, except those of the state-owned Pakistan Television. Nearly 30 channels were promptly taken off the air. On Sunday, policemen raided the Islamabad offices of Aaj TV, a private news channel, and attempted to confiscate the channel’s equipment.

This nationwide broadcasting blackout was accompanied by sporadic efforts to cut telephone lines and jam cell phone networks, even though the telecommunications infrastructure in Pakistan is privately owned. According to VOA News, the telephone lines of Pakistan’s main independent news channel Geo TV were cut.

On Tuesday, November 6, Iftikhar Chaudhry, the ousted chief justice of the Supreme Court who is currently under house arrest, called for mass protest against the government and for the restoration of the constitution via cell phone. According to the BBC News Online report, most mobile phone services in Islamabad went down during Chaudhry’s address, prompting suspicions that they had been jammed. The jamming of cell phone networks became de rigueur since emergency rule was imposed last weekend, as the mobile connectivity of the Supreme Court, protest sites, and the homes of opposition politicians and lawyers who are under house arrest is being jammed.

That said, SMS text messaging is being lauded across the blogosphere as the savior of communication in this time of crisis. According to unofficial reports issued by mobile phone service providers, record numbers of text messages have been sent in the past five days as the medium is used to stay in touch and organize protests….

…Given this scenario, designers and activists hoping to build new technologies that can foster civic engagement and community building should consider the power of mesh network options that are independent of centralized communications networks (such as cell phone transmission towers) that are dependent on the licensing mandates of potentially authoritarian governments. The fact that Musharraf chose to block television–the medium that attracts most eyes in Pakistan–should revive interest in local information dissemination options such as community radio and local newsletters.
http://civic.mit.edu/?p=38
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Streaming meetings coming soon to city Web site
by Marsha L. Melnichak
Northwest Arkansas Times
11/10/07

Fayetteville residents will soon be able to watch city government meetings with a click or two on a computer mouse.  Recordings of Fayetteville government meetings, such as the City Council and Planning Commission, will be available for viewing at any time by way of the city’s Web site beginning in early 2008.  No specific date is set, but the service is coming.

“ Basically all the public meetings they do now on the Government Channel can be stream blogged, will certainly be streamed and kept for a year for public viewing, ” said Scott Huddleston, director of the city’s Information Technology department.  “It’s not just live streaming, see it and miss it. It’s live plus it’s stored for a year, ” he said…

… Cold CAT ? The plan for using vendor Web streaming does not include the city’s Cable Access Television (CAT ) station. Richard Drake, chairman of the Telecomm Board of Directors, said he believes board members were “ taken by surprise” by the Information Technology plan. He also thinks it is unfair. “ It’s a good plan, but CAT needs to have their programs on the Web. It would be unfair for everyone else in the PEG system to have their Web streaming costs taken care of by others, and expect CAT to fend financially for themselves. That’s not an even playing field, ” Drake wrote in an e-mail to the Northwest Arkansas Times Thursday.   —>
http://nwanews.com/nwat/News/59131/
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Allen City TV winning program accolades at state, national levels
by Carolyn Tillery
The Dallas Morning News (TX)
11/10/07

The tables have turned on the Allen City Television station. Rather than highlighting the achievements of others in the community, the station is in the limelight itself after winning numerous awards for excellence.  The Allen television station, which can be seen on Time Warner Channel 16 in Allen or online at http://www.allentv.org, received five first-place awards, three second-place and one third-place honor from the Texas Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.

The station also picked up two first-place awards and one second-place honor from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors and the Telly Awards, including an award for excellence in government programming.  “This is the first time in history a Texas station has won for government programming,” said Mark Kaufmann, video producer. “It’s kind of a big deal. This includes counties as well as cities. Second place went to a county station in Oregon.”

Since it launched, ACTV has won more than 70 local and national awards, including its first Lone Star Emmy in 2006.  It started in 2000, when Mr. Kaufmann was hired to run the televised production of the Allen City Council meetings. But he had a few ideas of his own.  “I had a bigger look on the whole station,” he said. “I started out with a VHS camera and a tripod with a bad leg. But in working with the mayor and the City Council, we’ve been able to grow to this.”  In addition to Mr. Kaufmann, the station employs another full-time person and Mr. Kaufmann’s assistant, Imran Ali, a radio, television and film student at the University of North Texas.   —>
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/collin/allen/stories/DN-alfocus_10cco.ART.North.Edition1.41ae939.html
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F.C.C. Planning Rules to Open Cable Market
by Stephen Labaton
New York Times
11/10/07

The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to impose significant new regulations to open the cable television market to independent programmers and rival video services after determining that cable companies have become too dominant in the industry, senior commission officials said.  The finding, under a law that gives the commission expanded powers over the cable television industry if it becomes too big, is expected to be announced this month. It is a major departure for the agency and the industry, which was deregulated by an act of Congress in 1996.

Officials say the finding could lead to more diverse programs; consumer groups say it could also lead to lower rates.  Heavily promoted by those groups and by the commission’s Republican chairman, Kevin J. Martin, the decision would be a notable exception to the broad deregulatory policies of the Bush administration. Officials in various agencies have relaxed industry regulations and have chosen not to challenge big corporate mergers.

“The finding will provide the commission with additional authority to assure that there is opportunity for additional voices,” Mr. Martin said Friday in an interview. “It is important that we continue to do all we can to make sure that consumers have more opportunities in terms of their programming and that people who have access to the platform assure there are diverse voices.”

The commission’s conclusion that the cable industry has grown too large will be used to justify a raft of new cable television rules and proposals. They include a cap that would prevent the nation’s largest cable company, Comcast Corporation, from growing, and would prevent other large cable companies, like Time Warner, from making any new large cable acquisitions.

The decision comes as Mr. Martin is about to formally announce his plan to relax a different media ownership rule. That rule has restricted a company from owning a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same community.

How dominant the cable industry is has been a matter of dispute. The largest cable companies say they are under increasing competition from the satellite and telephone companies. But commission officials and consumer groups say that the large cable companies dominate the marketplace. They cite as evidence the fact that cable rates have risen significantly faster than inflation.

Next week, Mr. Martin is expected to formally propose that the newspaper and broadcast cross-ownership restriction be relaxed in the nation’s largest cities if the television station is not one of the largest in the community. He has told officials that he hopes to complete action on that rule in December.   —>
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/10/washington/10cable.html?ex=1352350800&en=8e455c2e96e51a1e&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/06/07

November 6, 2007

Lawmaker hopes to help rural cable users ease ‘digital divide’
by Steven Walters
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
11/05/07

Madison – A state senator from western Wisconsin will try to rewrite a controversial cable franchise bill to require AT&T, cable and other companies to contribute up to $7.5 million to a new “digital divide” fund to make sure rural areas get the same services as cities and suburbs. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) said she will try to make sweeping changes to the Assembly-passed cable deregulation bill, which is scheduled for a Senate vote on Thursday. She said her changes will be modeled on a law passed in Illinois.

Vinehout said the bill up for a Senate vote was written largely by AT&T, so it does not contain needed consumer protections and offers no assurances that rural areas – such as her part of Wisconsin – will get the next generation of telecommunication services  “I’m representing the people that weren’t at the table” when AT&T, cable companies and a few legislators wrote the bill, Vinehout said in an interview…  Vinehout said the changes she and Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona) will offer would:

• Require AT&T and other large telecommunications companies to either make services available in at least 90% of Wisconsin or pay $7.5 million into a “digital divide” fund, which would be administered by the Public Service Commission. The fund would be used to make sure rural areas get access to new technology. Illinois created a $15-million fund, Vinehout said.

“We have a huge difference between access to technology in rural areas and urban areas,” said Vinehout, who said the only options available to her Alma farm are dial-up service or installing a satellite dish. “What we find increasingly is that the rural areas are left out.”

• Require telecommunication companies to pay 1% of their gross receipts to local communities to continue public-access channels, in addition to a maximum 5% payment specified in the Assembly-passed bill. Under that bill, funding for public-access channels would continue for up to three years.  (If the Assembly-passed bill became law, Vinehout said Eau Claire’s community-access channels would lose more than half of their subsidy.)

• Specify consumer-protection requirements for cable and telecommunication companies in state law.  (Under the bill up for a Senate vote, Vinehout said, “We would lose, or roll back, the consumer protection standards that exist now for cable companies.”)

• Require cable and telecommunication companies to continue to provide service to libraries and other public buildings.   —>
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=682662
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CAT may get temporary budget in December
by Emilie Rusch
Columbia Missourian
11/05/07

By January, Columbia Access Television could finally have more stable funding — for nine months.  But once the fiscal calendar page flips from 2008 to 2009, the public access channel’s funding could be less certain.  If the City Council continues on the course set in Monday’s work session, CAT will have to start competing for funding in fiscal 2009 with other public communication programs, including the educational and government access channels.

Allocating the increased cable franchise fee money could mirror the city’s yearly application process for community development and arts grants, which council members agreed was a fair way to disperse public funds.  And while CAT is optimistic things will work out, it’s still frustrating news, CAT director Beth Federici said after the work session.  “We can’t be expected to come back every year,” Federici said. “I can’t hire staff and say every year, ‘You’re going to have to defend your salary.’ We need funding that’s way more stable than a yearly application process to run a TV station.”   —>
http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2007/11/05/cat-may-get-temporary-budget-december/
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Access denied to some Dedham viewers
by Patrick Anderson
Daily News Transcript (MA)
11/06/07

DEDHAM –  The town’s new independent cable access station has begun programming this fall, but a disagreement between cable providers has kept it off some residents’ television sets.  Dedham Public Television, which began broadcasting a town government, education and public access channel in September, has only been available to Comcast subscribers, because the town’s other providers, Verizon and RCN, have been unable to connect to the system.

For years, Comcast was the town’s only cable provider and was responsible for providing all public access programming.  But as competition has stiffened from newcomers Verizon and RCN, Comcast has moved out of the public access business. This year the company turned over that responsibility, which is funded by all three companies, to the nonprofit Dedham Visionary Access Corp.  When DVAC took over cable access responsibilities and introduced Dedham Public Television this fall, Comcast was the first to be connected to its new Eastern Avenue studio.   —>
http://www.dailynewstranscript.com/homepage/x676132386
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Op Ed: Time For A Falmouth Internet
by David S. Isenberg
Falmouth Enterprise (MA)
11/06/07

Falmouth can’t trust its Internet providers anymore. Two weeks ago, the Associated Press caught Comcast covertly blocking file exchange among peer-to-peer programs such as BitTorrent, Gnutella, and Lotus Notes. Comcast does this by injecting reset messages into Internet file exchange sessions. Reset messages tell one computer in an Internet file exchange that the other computer wants to end the exchange. Comcast’s reset messages are injected in the middle of the connection to fool both ends. The result is unsuccessful file transfer. There are no reports that Comcast’s Falmouth customers are affected yet, but Comcast has not renounced the practice, so it’s only a matter of time.

Until 2005, Comcast couldn’t legally interfere with our Internet activities, but a series of FCC and court decisions now makes it perfectly legal for Comcast, Verizon, and other Internet access providers to decide what our Internet connection can and can’t do. Congress is debating Network Neutrality legislation that would return control of our Internet connection to us. (When a Network Neutrality bill came before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2006, Representative William D. Delahunt was the only Democrat there who didn’t vote “Yes.” He voted “Present.”) So far, Network Neutrality remains an actively debated proposal.   —>
http://www.isen.com/blog/2007/11/op-ed-in-my-home-town-paper.html
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Pakistanis find it on the Web
Musharraf’s crackdown on news and dissent has managed to miss a vibrant Internet community.
by Shahan Mufti
The Christian Science Monitor
11/07/07

Islamabad, Pakistan – When Hamzah Tariq, the owner of a small software-development firm, returned home on Saturday night after Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had declared a “state of emergency,” he discovered that all of the news channels were missing from his cable signal. The only option: PTV, Pakistan’s state-run news channel.  “There was a ridiculous show about bridal makeup and then I read the ticker at the bottom: ‘Chief of the Army Staff declares emergency. Suspends 1973 constitution,’ ” says Mr. Tariq. After half an hour of meticulously applied mascara, there was a news bulletin. “The newscaster came on and read out those same lines, nothing more, and said “and now, some sports.”

So Tariq and millions of other Pakistanis, faced with a ban on about a dozen domestic and international TV news stations and curbs on newspapers, are finding breaking news in live video feeds and special blogs set up online – the only forum of public discourse that the media ban has missed.  Indeed, Pakistan today is a very different country from the one Musharraf took over eight years ago. In his 1999 coup, the military had only to target the offices of PTV, the only TV news source in the country at the time, and cut off all phone lines provided by the state-owned company to complete an information blackout.  Since then, Musharraf has allowed for a blossoming of free and independent media – a force with which, ironically, he now finds himself in contention.

A recent Gallup report suggests that today, more than 15 percent of urban Pakistanis now have Internet access. A small percentage compared with some nations, but a good chunk of Pakistan’s politically active middle class. There are also estimated to be more than 60 million mobile phone users, says Mr. Rehmat. Together, the technologies have connected people in ways unimaginable a few years ago and fed a growing hunger for real-time news.

As a result of the ban, which pushed all TV news off the air, GEO-TV’s news website added streaming video. But the typical 100,000 simultaneous logons that the website allowed quickly proved insufficient. Citing “enormously heavy traffic,” the website went “light” on Sunday by removing all other content except for text updates of breaking news. Later that day, the channel upgraded its servers to allow 500,000 simultaneous users.  “We’re getting millions of unique hits,” says Asif Latif, the webmaster at GEO’s Karachi headquarters. “But our viewers were feeling deprived, so we decided to go online with our telecast and sacrifice the website content.”

Blogs and social networking sites have also managed in the past three days to organize protest rallies, start international petitions, and plan strategies for opposing military rule. Many independent blogs are now also hosting channels like GEO-TV, AAJ-TV, and ARY. While not shown on TV in Pakistan, TV news networks here continue to send reports abroad via satellite. So, Pakistanis living in London or Los Angeles get the news. They, in turn, are putting the footage on their own websites, enabling Pakistanis back home to see the news.

“We Oppose Emergency in Pakistan,” a group on the social networking website Facebook, now has more than 3,000 members. The website has appointed officers and coordinators in at least 30 different cities across the globe. From Pakistan to New York, London, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland, expatriate Pakistanis are organizing protests and discussing strategies for the days to come. The group helped stage a protest outside the Pakistani embassy in London on Monday, which drew hundreds.

“This just isn’t sustainable,” Rehmat says of the government crackdown. As an example, he mentions the rumors that circulated Monday about a possible military coup against Musharraf. The rumors were so pervasive, the president had to publicly deny them. The government, he says, is digging its own grave by cultivating a credibility deficit.  “People had become very used to knowing,” says Rehmat. “You can’t just take that away from them. It’s only going to create more hate.”
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1107/p01s02-wosc.html
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Fixing the “clear mismatch” between technology and copyright law: six ideas
by Anders Bylund
Ars Technica
11/05/07

A lobby group from the free-speech, fair-use side of the tracks just presented a six-step reform program for outdated US copyright laws. Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn presented the plan in a New Media conference speech at Boston University recently and expressed no patience with the “disconnect between the law and the technology” of media production and distribution.  “For the past 35 years, the trend has been nearly unmitigated expansion of the scope and duration of copyright, resulting in a clear mismatch between the technology and the law,” she said. Advances in technology keep making it easier to copy and distribute songs, movies, books, and so on. Meanwhile, the kind of legislation that gets big-money lobby support from content producers makes it increasingly illegal—but not necessarily harder—to use these new powers of information and entertainment.

The question is: how to fix it? According to Sohn, fair use reform is at the top of the list. The US must allow for more incidental and non-commercial media uses; it is currently far too easy to break the law without knowing it, as anyone who has ever worked in a library knows. Sohn also argues that the landmark Betamax decision from 1984, which gave consumers a green light to make use of recorded materials at home and to “timeshift,” should be elevated from a mere legal precedent into actual law. Innovation in media distribution is currently harmed by the fear of spurious lawsuits, as Big Content argues that the Betamax decision should only be interpreted in the most limited sense (as only applying to analog signals, and only applying to timeshifting on a VCR).

She also criticizes the DMCA, arguing that it needs some limitations to keep the number of frivolous takedown notices to a minimum. Sohn suggests that copyright holders be given a dual-edged sword: give them power, but also punish them for “knowingly or recklessly” demanding takedowns without a real case. In other words, shut down the SLAPP suits and the other forms of censorship that comes via the DMCA.

Then there’s the whole kerfuffle with digital radio. Sohn thinks the music industry suffers from a “byzantine” licensing system in need of a clear and simple legal framework. Traditional radio broadcasters enjoy lower royalties than their new-media rivals (e.g., web radio) thanks to “solely a historical accident,” and the playing field needs to be leveled. At the same time, it’s simply too hard to find the rightful owners of a composition and its recorded performance and get cleared to use them. Public Knowledge wants that quagmire cleaned up, too.   —>
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071105-fixing-the-clear-mismatch-between-technology-and-copyright-law-6-ideas.html
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A Day Full of No Iran War Activity
by Bruce Gagnon
Organizing Notes (ME)
11/06/07

Today I spent a couple of hours working at the voting polls here in Bath gathering signatures on a petition calling on the Maine congressional delegation to speak out now and forcefully against Bush’s impending attack on Iran. We will have had volunteers there from morning til the polls close at 8:00 pm.  Our local group, PeaceWorks, is doing this in several towns in our MidCoast Maine region today.  The response from the public was better than I had expected. I had little trouble getting people to sign the petition or take the leaflet that we had prepared on the subject.

Earlier in the day we taped my public access cable TV show on the same subject – an Iran attack. We turned the tables and had one of our PeaceWorks leaders, Rosalie Tyler Paul, interview me. Usually I do the interviewing. Eric Herter produces my show, which is called This Issue, and is now editing it and putting maps of Iran and photos of everyday Iranian life into the final product.   —>
http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2007/11/day-full-of-no-iran-war-activity.html
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Ithaca DSA Presents: Humanitarian Crisis for Immigrants
by Theresa Alt
Ithaca Action Network (NY)
11/05/07

Ithaca Democratic Socialists of America Presents #324:  “Humanitarian Crisis for Immigrants.”  Arnoldo Garcia talks about the wall to keep immigrants out, dangerous border crossings, workplace raids, and a history of discrimination against speakers of languages other than English…  This program will be available Tuesday in the Alternatives Library in Anabel Taylor Hall on the Cornell Campus.
http://ithacaactionnetwork.blogspot.com/2007/11/ithaca-dsa-presents-humanitarian-crisis.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org