MediaJustice

Posted by Robyn on Tuesday, 10/05/10

The fight over net neutrality continues, and it's now in Chairman Genachowski's hands to make a decision about protecting the free and open internet.  PTP has come out as a strong supporter of codifying net neutrality into law. We’re happy to be allies of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) and the Center for Media Justice in taking a strong stand in favor of ensuring that the internet remains a level playing field for everyone, particularly for poor communities and communities of color that often bear the brunt of information/technology discrimination.

Below are remarks from Arif Mamdani, our Executive Director, delivered at the public FCC hearing about the Future of the Internet in Minneapolis, MN, August 19th, 2010:

"My name is Arif Mamdani, I’m from St. Paul, Minnesota, and I’m the director of the Progressive Technology Project – a member of MAG-Net. For 12 years, we’ve worked with community organizers around the country, helping them to use technology to do their work better, more easily, with better results. For us, the story of the last 12 years has been the story of the internet. Today, there are almost no technologies that we’re using that don’t touch the internet in some way, and I can attest to the power of the internet for communities and community organizing.

Let me give you a really concrete example. There’s an environmental group in Kentucky who’ve seen really dramatic growth in their membership over the last several years. Being in Kentucky, one of their big issues is the negative impact that coal mining has on the communities in the state. Their growth has gone hand in hand with their increase in online communications – email lists, their website, and now blogging, social media, and online video. What it has meant is that they’ve been able to reach out and connect their local communities with supporters across the country and in doing so, they’ve taken a local issue and helped people across the country understand the impact of the energy decisions that we make.

They depend on net neutrality to make that work. Without a content neutral internet, their efforts would never have gotten off the ground because as a small community group, they simply don’t have the resources to pay for privileged access. So affirming net neutrality is critical – without it, our communities won’t have the ability to tell their stories and know that they’ll be heard – if we don’t codify net neutrality, we’ll silence the voices of communities and small organizations across the country.

Let me say one more thing. The internet has been a content neutral network from the beginning. It was designed that way because the initial designers believed in the power of simple networks. Their design meant that regardless of what was being transmitted, the actual technology didn’t have to work terribly hard to make any decisions – it was just a transmission layer. This simplicity and lack of centralized control is what made the internet the powerful tool that it is today. By codifying net neutrality, all we’re doing is putting into law what has always been the heart and power of the internet – transmission of anything, to anywhere, regardless of what it is.

For me, the bottom line is this. Fundamentally, I think net neutrality is a question of freedom, and I want an internet that is as free as this country is."

Learn more and join the fight to protect net neutrality at www.savetheinternet.com and www.latinonetlibre.com.

Agree with PTP about internet freedom?  Let us know by contacting us or share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ptptweets using the hashtag #mediajustice.

Suggested Tweet:
PTP wants a free #internet & #net #neutrality http://bit.ly/90Shb0 #mediajustice | Ask #genachowski to deliver.

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