Alliance Tells Obama: Put Public Interest First in Picks for FCC, CTO

FreePress

For Immediate Release

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Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

Alliance Tells Obama: Put Public Interest First in Picks for FCC, CTO

Center for American Progress, SEIU, NOW, Free Press, ACLU, DailyKos, Members of Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Hundreds More Call for Leaders that Support Media Reform and Net Neutrality

WASHINGTON - Today, an alliance of more than 100 groups, unions, musicians,
bloggers and media and technology leaders sent a letter to
President-elect Barack Obama calling on his administration to appoint
leaders who will reform the media and protect the open Internet.

"This letter is a ringing endorsement of the media and technology agenda President-elect Obama has already set forth," said Josh Silver,
executive director of Free Press, the media reform group that
coordinated the letter. "Public-interest groups, bloggers and the
creative community strongly support Obama's pledges to diversify media
ownership, renew public media and promote fast, affordable, open
Internet access. The letter's signers now call on Mr. Obama to appoint
public officials who will carry out our shared goals."

Obama will soon appoint the first-ever White House chief technology
officer, along with positions at the Federal Communications Commission,
the Federal Trade Commission, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and
in the Commerce, Education, Justice and Agriculture departments.

Those signing the letter include members of Pearl Jam and R.E.M.,
bloggers from DailyKos, FireDogLake and OpenLeft, scholars Tim Wu and
Lawrence Lessig, and organizations like the Center for American
Progress, Service Employees International Union, National Organization
for Women, American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org, American Library
Association, UNITY: Journalists of Color, the Hip Hop Caucus, and the
Future of Music Coalition, among others.

The full text of the letter is below. To see the list of signatures, go to: http://www.freepress.net/files/FCC-Obama-Letter.pdf

President-elect Obama:

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

We congratulate you for putting crucial media and technology issues
in the public spotlight. Not only did your campaign embrace new
technology and innovative media, you have embraced these values in your
policy agenda. Your commitment and detailed plan represent a
fundamental shift toward communications policy in the public interest.
We happily offer our support and service in pursuit of our common goals.

We look forward to working with the leaders you will appoint to the
White House, such as the Chief Technology Officer, the positions on the
Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission,
Corporation of Public Broadcasting and in the Commerce, Education,
Justice and Agriculture departments. We urge you to select strong
proponents of the public interest who will embrace and enact the policy
proposals you made on the campaign trail to shape the future of the
media, the Internet, the economy -- and our democracy.

Together, we have a unique opportunity to break with the past, lift
the stranglehold industry lobbyists have had on communications policy,
and put the public's priorities first. In your own words, you pledged:

  • Protect an Open Internet: To "take a
    backseat to no one in my commitment to Net Neutrality" and "protect the
    Internet's traditional openness to innovation and creativity and ensure
    that it remains a platform for free speech and innovation that will
    benefit consumers and our democracy."
  • Promote Universal, Affordable Broadband:
    To see that "in the country that invented the Internet, every child
    should have the chance to get online" by bringing "true broadband to
    every community in America."
  • Diversify Media Ownership: To create "the diverse media environment that federal law requires and the country deserves."
  • Renew Public Media: To foster "the
    next generation of public media," and "support the transition of
    existing public broadcasting entities and help renew their founding
    vision in the digital world."
  • Spur Economic Growth: To "strengthen
    America's competitiveness in the world" and leverage technology "to
    grow the economy, create jobs, and solve our country's most pressing
    problems."
  • Ensure Open Government: To reverse
    "policies that favor the few against the public interest," close" the
    revolving door between government and industry," and achieve "a new
    level of transparency, accountability and participation for America's
    citizens."

The more than one hundred people who signed onto this letter -- and
the millions more we represent in our organizations, workplaces and
communities -- join your call to create a more vibrant and diverse
media system and to deliver the benefits of the open Internet and new
technology to all Americans.

View the full list of signatures: http://www.freepress.net/files/FCC-Obama-Letter.pdf

 

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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