Public media is critical to filling the void left by commercial broadcasters. But several structural changes have threatened the ability of public media to thrive and provide local content.
In this last month, the fight to end the high costs of phone rates in the prison system got a major boost when the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) held its spring meeting and decided to address the high cost of Prison Phone Calls—specifically the FCC’s role in increasing competition for different phone companies, so not one single phone carrier has the monopoly and free reign to inflate their charges that results in low-income families paying up to $6 a minute to call their loved once who are incarcerated.
I appreciated Ariel’s post on the ways women can fight back against the corporate media misogyny as a response to Rush Limbaugh’s infamously stupid comments about Sandra Fluke. I wanted to draw some parallels to other groups of people that are constantly vilified in the media, and highlight how media policies and activism can and should advance social justice.
NAMAC members have mobilized many times in support of strong net neutrality rules that would protect creators of content, as well as its consumers. Outspoken artists were a vital part of the campaign that led to the adoption of the first ever rules by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010. But the future of these net neutrality rules are in doubt, as is the question of whether the FCC can do anything to advance public interest Internet policy.
This past July when the 3rd Court of Appeals remained back to the FCC its attempt to loosen ownership rules largely due to the FCC’s failure to address women’s and minority media ownership a few women’s media organizations decided it was time to become more proactive on women’s media policy. Digital Sisters, New Moon Girls, Women in Film/DC and Media Equity Collaborative galvanized around the National Coalition of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) to formulate a new women’s media policy.
As I wind down my adventures at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas this week, I reflect on the fact that the most powerful and poignant moments didn’t actually take place in halls of the Convention Center. The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), Brown Paper Tickets and Prometheus Radio Project co-hosted a Sunday brunch with a half a dozen local groups located in and around Austin who were interested in taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start a low-power radio station thanks to the Local Community Radio Act that was passed back in December 2010.
The first great awakening that struck me when I took office as FCC Commissioner in 2001 was the awesome power of information infrastructure to propel America’s progress in the 21st century and to enhance our civic dialogue. As broadband took root, those with eyes to see quickly came to see that there was no problem confronting our nation—lack of jobs, inadequate health care, growing energy dependence, deteriorating environment, lack of equal opportunity—that did not have a broadband component as part of its solution.
For the last few weeks, Antoinette Conti has been staring down at me from the sky, and she’s giving me the creeps. The subject of a photograph by artist Zoe Strauss, Conti’s image looms large on a billboard titled “La Corona” in my neighborhood. It’s part of Strauss’ Billboard Project, in which 54 of her images are placed around Philadelphia, coinciding with an exhibit of the artist’s work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.