Mr. Obama, Make Media Reform a Priority

On Thursday, 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

Along the campaign trail, in recent speeches, and in his technology
agenda, President-elect Barack Obama has made big promises on media and
technology issues; finally an opportunity to see real change in our
media landscape - from diversity in our news to getting fast,
affordable, "neutral" Internet connections to every home and business.

Center for American Progress, SEIU, NOW, Free Press, ACLU, DailyKos,
Members of Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and hundreds more organizations and
individuals signed on. The breadth and depth of the signers reflects
growing awareness that every issue we care about - from the economy to
national security, from health care to civil rights - depends on the
ability of the fourth estate to provide critical journalism, and
connect all Americans to the information superhighway.

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.

The letter includes six of Obama's best quotes on media reform to
remind him that his words have not fallen on deaf ears; we've been
listening, and now we're watching to make sure these promises aren't

What did Obama say? Enough to bring a tear to the eye of anyone who
wants more investigative reporting and intelligent programming, and
less Nicole Smith and blathering pundits. Here are the choicest sound

  • Protecting 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."
  • Promoting 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."
  • Diversifying Media Ownership: To create "the diverse media environment that federal law requires and the country deserves."
  • Renewing 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."
  • Spurring 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
  • Ensuring 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."

Obama has already made the call to create a more vibrant, diverse
and democratic media system and to deliver the benefits of the open
Internet and new technology to all Americans. Now he simply has to
appoint policymakers who will carry out his mandate.

You can read the letter and add your own name here.

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