Stopping Big Media

I've been a member of Free Press for a couple of years and they really do important work. For C&Lers looking to get involved in grass-roots campaigns on progressive issues, Free Press can certainly use your help.


Hundreds of liberal activists are expected to pack the pews tonight at the Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio , to protest a Bush administration plan. It has nothing to do with Iraq. It is about rules governing how many properties media companies should be allowed to own in local markets.

Kevin Martin, the Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, wants to loosen existing ownership limits on newspapers and broadcasters to allow them to own both in most markets. But his efforts have stalled, the result of a surprisingly energetic grass-roots opposition campaign guided by Free Press, a nonprofit with offices in Washington and Northampton, Mass.[..]

For a relatively low-profile organization, Free Press is on a roll. Four years ago, it used old-fashioned grassroots organizing, along with basic Internet tools, to help derail the FCC's years-long effort to relax media ownership rules. Last year, the group thwarted a multi-million dollar lobbying effort by the Baby Bells to rewrite the nation's telecom laws over "net neutrality," the idea that Internet providers can't discriminate against any Internet traffic.

Progressive, left-leaning grass-roots activists have gotten more attention for their opposition against the Iraq war, but their bigger impact may have been on national media regulations and telecom policies. By mobilizing the progressive left to focus on media and telecom issues, Free Press has effectively blocked some of the most-wanted issues on corporate wish-lists.

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