The Free Press: Broad Coalition Unites to Protest Unfair Postal Rates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 20, 2007
9:35 AM

CONTACT:  The Free Press
Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x 22

 
Broad Coalition Unites to Protest Unfair Postal Rates
Postage plan pushed by Time Warner would cripple small and independent publishers; Congress calls hearing to investigate.
 
WASHINGTON A broad coalition of small and independent publishers sent a letter to the Postal Board of Governors last night, opposing a plan that burdens smaller publishers with higher postage rates and unfairly locks in the best prices for the largest media companies. The crippling hike proposed by the nation's largest publisher, Time Warner Inc. could push many smaller magazines into bankruptcy and make it almost impossible to launch a new independent publication.

The coalition, which includes publishers from across the political spectrum, is demanding that the postage increase be delayed until Congress can determine how postal regulators came to the decision without public involvement or congressional oversight. Publications that signed the letter include The American Prospect, The American Spectator, Commonweal, In These Times, Mother Jones, Ms. Magazine, National Review, The Nation, The New Republic and WORLD, among others.

"These new rates impose huge hardships on small publications," said Teresa Stack, president of The Nation. "I can say with confidence that some magazines will go out of business because of the increase."

The coalition is working with Free Press, the national, nonpartisan media reform organization, to educate more Americans about the threat and urge Congress to investigate the unorthodox rate increase. Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia said this week that he will convene a hearing to investigate the matter.

The coalition believes there should be a mostly equal increase in the mailing costs for both large and small publishers and that any changes should be implemented slowly to allow businesses time to adjust. The Time Warner plan favors large, ad-heavy magazines like People at the expense of smaller publications like In These Times and The American Spectator. It penalizes thousands of small- to medium-sized outlets with disproportionately higher rates while extending privileges for bigger companies.

"My argument to the postal service is: give us time to adapt the increase is too big, the period of time to respond to the increase is too short," said Nick Eicher, publisher of WORLD.

"This is not a left or right issue, it is a democracy issue," said Robert W. McChesney, president and co-founder of Free Press. "This increase goes against more than 200 years of postal policy, which has promoted the spread of diverse publications in competitive markets as a means to foster a free, vibrant and independent press. Congress must step in to protect smaller media from new regulations that would undo this history."

For more information about the campaign against the postal rate increase, visit http://www.stoppostalratehikes.com.

A copy of the letter sent to the Postal Board of Governors is available here: http://www.freepress.net/docs/aprillettertopbg_2.pdf

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