House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in a speech to religious broadcasters on Sunday, warned that “the FCC is creeping further into the free market by trying to regulate the Internet.” The speaker was referring to the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules issued last December. “The last thing we need,” Boehner said, “is the FCC serving as Internet traffic controller.”
“…Speaker Boehner’s cautionary stories and bold stands would be inspirational if they were connected to reality. Instead, he is parroting talking points from industry lobbyists, and front groups and intentionally misleading the public.” Free Press CEO Josh Silver.
While pointing out industry lies is vital – these rules aren’t about any government take over, they’re about regulating the telecommunications industry against predatory pricing, tiered service and wireless inequity – we also have to understand that these rules are moral contracts that tell a story about our future, our priorities and Internet freedom.
In a recent Letter to the editor, “The FCC’s role in getting Internet Access for all,” published in the Washington Post, Malkia Cyril, Center for Media Justice’s Executive Director, argued that the FCC is “our best chance to get an equitable solution” to the digital divide.
Calling on the Senate to reverse the House’s Telco Industry led attack on communications rights for all Americans, Cyril also pointed that while the proposed rules may not go far enough to curb all consumer and human rights abuse, the “Federal Communications Commission [should] have the authority to set real and meaningful rules for Internet service providers to benefit all Americans.”
Right now, the story about our future being told by those trying to block the FCC’s authority to ensure equitable access online is, as Cyril put it, “drastically fewer opportunities for millions of Americans to take classes, apply for jobs or attract employers to struggling areas.”
But the truth is, we can tell a new story about the Internet and human rights. As we transition from an old economy to a new information and communications based economy, Internet access, rights and power are key to moving a media justice agenda for poor, rural and communities of color that benefits all Americans. Make no mistake about it, this is more than a jobs issue, though it’s that. It’s also a moral issue – one of opportunity, justice and democracy. At the Center for Media Justice, we believe the power to communicate and imagine and organize for a better future must belong to everyone. Join us as we fight for a strong public voice and to imagine a new future together.