Media Alliance Blog

Become a Media Maven: Join The Monthly Sustainers Circle

Posted by on December 22nd, 2016

Communication rights, and especially local and regional work to cement them at home, often gets overlooked, but it is key to so many struggles for health, safety, and freedom.

MA has been here for 39 years, always on one kind of edge or another, and we want there to be a year 40. Please join us.

How do we protect the right to dissent? Crackdowns on journalists, whistleblowers and activists are legion as a toxic combination of greedy telecoms and an unaccountable government try to plug every remaining space for free expression and organizing. They won't rest until the Internet is a toll road for big spenders, and a spy net for the rest of us.

Media Alliance has been carving the space for truth-telling for 39 years. And protecting that space when it is under attack, here in the Bay Area, and all across the country. So many times we are the only, or one of a precious few, voices at one or another public meeting where our freedoms are slowly pushed back, one step at a time.

But the corporations that run the government won’t help dismantle their own influence. The system that lulls us into complacency as our human rights get whittled away wants us doing busy work, not challenging them. Keeping the challenges going, steady and strong and right here at home in California where we live and work together, that can only be supported by you. Media Alliance will keep lighting the fire. With your help.

The arc of justice is realized by claiming the space to create alternate narratives.

We've got some great gifts for you, a 30% discount off the mind-bending titles from MIT Press, including Low Power To The People, the chronicle of the pirate radio movement. Local filmmaker Donna Lee's video story of blogger Josh Wolf's 226 day stay in federal prison to protect his videos, a crucial moment in the history of citizen journalism and the brand new Hella Privacy t-shirt.

We know money is tight and so many worthwhile causes are asking you for $100 right now. So make it easy. Join the sustainers circle for $5 or $10 a month, and donate a cappucino or two to media justice every month.

Most importantly, you’ll know that you personally did something to reclaim the space to tell the truth here in California.

The truth will set us free. Nothing else can.

Interrupting Surveillance-In Silicon Valley and Beyond

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on September 23rd, 2016

This blog entry was written by Media Alliance ED Tracy Rosenberg for the ACLU as part of a national rollout of surveillance equipment transparency ordinances developed and implemented by Bay Area anti-surveillance activists.


Interrupting Surveillance in Silicon Valley and Beyond
September 21, 2016
Issues : Privacy and Government Surveillance, Racial Justice, Technology and Civil Liberties

By: Tracy Rosenberg follow @twrling

Public cynicism about government is at an all-time high – and we all know the reasons. That's why it's pretty remarkable when activists use public government processes to attack a scary and overwhelming problem like surveillance – and it works.

Bay Area activists have seized on a strategy to localize the fight against government spying and enlist city councils and county supervisors – who are far more approachable and accountable than remote DC officials – as allies in building community control of surveillance equipment. City by city and county by county, transparency regulations are being discussed. As the motto of one of the most active community groups in the country Oakland Privacy says, “I've Been Watching You Watching Me."

With a virtually untapped flow of militarized equipment and techno-gadgets from the federal government into local cities and counties, watching the watchers is exactly what hasn't been going on. The use of surveillance equipment has been anything but transparent, rarely discussed, pushed through on consent calendars and sometimes even legally hushed up, as was the case with the notorious non-disclosure agreements applied to “Stingray” cell phone interceptor equipment.

Now that is starting to change.

Bay Area activists including Media Alliance, a 39-year-old media watchdog concerned about the transformation of the Internet from a tool for connection into a spying dragnet, went into the belly of the beast of technological innovation – Silicon Valley – to talk transparency and community accountability (as laid out in the ACLU of California's guide for communities, Making Smart Decisions About Surveillance).

The first thing that happened was Santa Clara County's planned acquisition of a notorious “stingray” cell phone interceptor device collapsed, after public scrutiny about whether the country had a privacy policy or any usage regulations in effect for use of the fake cell phone tower on the city's residents. Then under the able leadership of Supervisor Joe Simitian, the county passed in June of 2016 the first global transparency equipment ordinance in the United States. The historic ordinance established pre-purchase approval, required use policies, annual accountability audits and consequences for abuse - for all spying equipment, past present and future.

Santa Clara may have been the first, but they won't be the last. Supported by community activists who are challenging every local municipality to do what Santa Clara did, transparency legislation is spreading widely.

Just here in the Bay Area, Alameda County delayed a stingray upgrade until the development and passage of one of the strongest cell phone interceptor use policies in the country and is considering a global equipment ordinance. In neighboring Berkeley, the venerable university town passed an approval of concept for surveillance equipment transparency. BART, the region's rail transit agency is developing a comprehensive privacy policy for its cameras and license plate readers. Palo Alto, home to Stanford University, has expressed the need to develop city policy. Santa Rosa, the Sonoma County capital, whose acquisition of social media monitoring software just surfaced via an ACLU public records request, is responding to community inquiries about surveillance activities.

This buzz of activity reflects two things: genuine public anxiety about the extent of spying and surveillance and the commitment of community groups to engage to recover some control over how they are watched and profiled.

It is possible to interrupt the seemingly inevitable mushrooming of blanket surveillance.

Tracy Rosenberg This guest blog is by Tracy Rosenberg, the Executive Director of Media Alliance (www.media-alliance.org).

Media Action Grassroots Network 2016

Posted by MAG-Net on September 23rd, 2016
Media Action Grassroots Network

Every year, media justice organizations from all over the country convene under the name The Media Action Grassroots Network.

Here, illustrated more vividly than usual, is what happened this year in the 2016 Annual Report from the Anchor's Congress convening.

Fighting the Beast on Bryant at City Hall

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on June 6th, 2016
Media Alliance

On Thursday June 2nd, I joined dozens of people who live or work in San Francisco's Mission District at the San Francisco Planning Commission to speak up against yet another huge luxury housing development proposed for the neighborhood. The activist-dubbed “Beast on Bryant” adds 196 more luxury units to a neighborhood already built out way in excess of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, and removes tens of thousands of square feet of badly needed light industrial space. The project was opposed by the San Francisco Labor Council and the Building Trades Council.

While the Planning Commission's tendency to rubber stamp housing projects is infamous and nobody really expected the project would go down to defeat, the surprising part of the day and evening spent at City Hall was the full court press of the San Francisco Sheriff's department. Why were the sheriffs intervening in Planning Commission decisions? Was this on someone's order?

When I arrived at 3:00pm, the scene outside of Room 400 at City Hall was complete chaos. Scores of burly carpenters from the Northern CA Regional Carpenters Council all wearing jackets saying “CIA”, were roaming the hallways along with dozens of Mission District residents. The Carpenter's Council had broken from the Building Trades Council and hatched an independent deal with developer Nick Podell.

An inquiry at the door to the hearing room led to being told by a sheriff the hallway was about to be “cleared out”. Not wanting to be “cleared out”, (whatever that meant), I tiptoed away and found a quiet spot some distance away.

About an hour later, I ventured back to the hearing room, peered in, and saw 70% or more of the seats were now occupied by the dozens of carpenters who had been milling about in the hallway. There was a long line to the right of the door filled with other people. I asked for admittance to the room as I was planning to speak and was told to get in line, despite at least 5 visible empty seats in the room. I pointed out I had been there an hour ago and had been told to leave or get cleared away. I wasn't told to get in a line. So why was I not at the front of this line? That didn't go over well.

After being invited inside the hearing room by a colleague on a bathroom break who told me there was a seat empty behind her, I found myself accosted by the Sheriff insisting I could not sit there. I asked point blank if all the seated people had arrived more than 90 minutes ago, as I had, and if they all intended to address the commission on the item now up. The sheriff raised his voice and the meeting was briefly interrupted. I left to avoid further disruptions and spent another 90 minutes in the hallway line watching numerous people being admitted to the room in front of the people in line.

Eventually, we hallway people observed that names were being called to speak during public comment although the people called had still had not been admitted to the room and were in the hallway line, or an even bigger group in an overflow room way down the hall, or simply idling elsewhere in the building. We attempted to exchange names and install a runner system to notify people if their names had been called for public comment.

After finally being admitted, more than three hours after arrival and after three aggressive encounters with the sheriffs, I was escorted to a seat between two carpenters. In the two and a half hours I spent in that seat waiting for my three minutes to address the Planning Commission, I had a ringside seat to the phenomenon called man-spreading as occupancy of my seat was somewhat contested.

I finally addressed the Commission, mostly to say the luxury housing threshold in the 25 year duration Eastern Neighborhoods Plan had already been surpassed in the first seven years, the anticipated loss of light industrial space was at 2/3 of the limit in 1/3 of the time anticipated and I wasn't sure where the “planning” was in Planning Commission. I tried to hang in for the duration of the hearing, but was defeated by the incursions into my sitting space. There were thoughts about the discreet use of elbows, but I figured the sheriffs were clearly not on my side should there be an altercation.

Neither of the two carpenters surrounding me, nor 99% of the 70+ filling up the meeting room, made a public comment to the commission despite occupying virtually all the seats for hours on end.

To get to the end of the story, the Beast on Bryant project was approved. Mission District residents were successful in getting a significant increase in the amount of light industrial space that would be recreated in the new project. They deserve plaudits for that hard-won victory.

But many of the people who just wanted to speak their piece about what was happening in their neighborhood experienced inconvenience, harassment, discomfort, unpleasantness and intimidation. They came, not on a payroll but on their own dime, and definitely took second fiddle to an organized campaign designed to make it as hard as possible for them to have their say. That's just plain wrong.

Lifeline Story Bank

Posted by Media Alliance, TURN, Greenlining Institute, Milestone Consulting on March 2nd, 2016
Media Action Grassroots Network

As the FCC debates the modernization of the Lifeline telephone subsidy program to include Internet access for the first time, Media Alliance and the Media Action Grassworks Network (Mag-Net) are taking action to make sure the agency hears from the program's users, its potential users in the future, and the communities most impacted by lack of broadband access.

 The Lifeline Story Bank will collect written testimonies, pictures and short audio or video clips and deliver them directly to the policy makers and the press to make sure DC just doesn't just talk to themselves.

So if you use or might use the program yourself, have friends or family members who do, work with or know of an organization that provides services to seniors, people living on fixed incomes, the disabled, limited english-fluency populations, recent immigrants, single moms or anyone on the wrong side of the digital divide:

Take a moment to 

1) Download our Story Bank Toolkit, a quick guide to everything you need to know about Lifeline and submitting a story to the Bank


2) Visit the  easy submission form and tell them what subsidized broadband access in the home means to you and your community.

Diversity in Television: An FCC Principle Now Being Reconsidered

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on
Huffington Post

An op-ed on the FCC review of retransmission rules and their potentially destructive impact on low-income audiences whose access to pay TV and high-speed broadband is limited due to affordability issues.


A founding principle of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is protecting the public interest in communications - in television, radio, internet and new emerging mediums. In a country of increasing diversity, the public interest is not a "one size fits all" proposition. In the United States of 2016, the public interest must serve a Spanish-speaking mother in Los Angeles as well as it serves a rural rancher in South Dakota or a millennial urbanite in Brooklyn.

As an industry, broadcast television has long served the largest number of Americans with its mass, free, over-the-air broadcasts.

For this reason, Media Alliance finds it troubling that the FCC's current re-examination of the rules for exclusivity may jeopardize local broadcast television as it exists today. The Commission is in the process of reexamining rules which allow broadcasters to negotiate the terms of use for broadcast content to be disseminated to cable providers.

As it stands, broadcasters count on the revenue stream that comes from content negotiations with pay-TV providers. If the current system is upended, some local stations across the country will face the very real possibility of having to shut down due to a lack of adequate funding, because they are not being compensated for their own content.

If stations were forced to shut down, it would be the stations that do not garner the most viewers - including stations that serve minority communities, for example. Spanish-language broadcast networks - such as Univision or Telemundo - are often not viewed at the high levels of their English-language counterparts such as NBC or CBS, simply because many communities have fewer Spanish-speaking residents. Yet, these stations are sometimes the only avenue for low-income families who cannot afford other types of media to get their news and information: from severe weather alerts, to community events, to a roundup of local and national news. If these stations were forced to shut their doors because of fewer viewers, many families that depend upon them could be quite literally left in the dark

The current exclusivity rules preserve diversity in broadcast programming. And while there is nowhere near enough diversity, taking actions to further reduce it in order to increase profit levels for cable providers is not in the public interest.

Media Alliance has long been interested in protecting diversity in media, and holding government accountable for any action taken to decrease diversity in favor of increased corporate profits. It is clear that any action taken by the FCC to change these rules will have a disproportionately negative impact on small, over-the-air broadcasters, many who are minority-owned or serve minority audiences.

We believe that the current exclusivity rules should be preserved by the FCC. Any change to these regulations is a win for Big Cable and a terrible loss for small broadcasters across the country and the local communities in which they serve. The "public interest" that the FCC must protect includes Americans who have affordability challenges with pay TV and high-speed broadband access and the FCC must recognize this when considering how it should act on this important issue.

Tracy Rosenberg is the Executive Director of Media Alliance, based in Northern California. Media Alliance is a member of TVfreedom.org

IVP: Internet Architecture

Posted by on
New Jersey Institute of Technology

An infographic from the New Jersey Institute of Techology serves as an easy intro to the web's internal architecture. 

NJIT Engineering Online

Recording in Progress: Media, Tech and Social Justice

Posted by Recording in Progress on December 7th, 2015

Media Alliance is pleased to be a media sponsor for this series of conversations:

Recording in Progress is a series of panel discussions about innovation and new developments in technology, entertainment, culture, business, art and design. 

Moderated by Tara Conley (Race Forward), this discussion on media, tech and social justice includes panelists Susan Simpson (Undisclosed), Jackie Zammuto (WITNESS), Carmen Perez (Justice League NYC) and Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer (Global Citizen).


Please enjoy!

Practicing Communication Rights: Honduras and South Korea

Posted by Dorothy Kidd on
University of San Francisco

This brief academic paper by USF Media Studies Professor and former MA board member Dorothy Kidd examines democratized media in Honduras and South Korea. 

"Some 30 years after the commission’s publication of Many Voices, One
World, I analyze the contribution of contemporary grassroots communication
praxis to the democratization of communications practice and theory.
Because if the neoliberal shift captured global information and communication
systems for corporate giants and state powers, it also created
conditions of radical possibility. Media activists around the world have
appropriated technologies that were first designed for military, state and
capitalist apparatuses, and have reshaped them to meet urgent information
and communication needs of majority populations underserved by commercial
or public service media. As the MacBride Report promised, these media
have provided living examples of more democratic communication.

The Honduran Network of Indigenous and Garífuna Radios, andMediACT
in South Korea, exemplify this movement to democratize communications
from within social justice movements. South Korea is a relatively wealthy,
urban and industrialized country, and one of the most digitally connected
nations in the world; whereas Honduras is primarily rural, with high rates
of poverty, and where only 4.5 percent of Hondurans have regular access
to the internet. Nevertheless, people in both countries share long struggles
for democratization against colonialism and military rule, and more recent
pressures to conform to neoliberal development agendas. Operating in very
different national contexts, the Honduran Radio Network and MediACT are
both deeply embedded within local centers, linked together through a complex
web of global social justice movements and radical communicators,
who are connected both face to face and online.

Read more ...

American Day Dream

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on
Media Alliance

A Review of American Daydream by Margot Eve Pepper

American Day Dream is situated in San Francisco and embedded in the things we love about the Bay Area, but also lodged in the rear corner of our minds that hasn't forgotten the Snowden revelations of June 2013. Or Cointelpro. Or every bit of sickening evidence that we are less free than we think.

In the long tradition of dystopian science fiction, but imbued with a humane and strongly feminist tilt, American Day Dream grabs hold of the red pill/blue pill dilemma of Hollywood's Matrix, but without all the futuristic shiny toys.

What if, right here and right now and right down the block, everything we see and do and own, isn't real? Job, home and friends are all a carefully planted illusion to keep us circling a hamster wheel for a social order running for the benefit of others.

In American Day Dream, the gadgets we love don't connect us to humanity. They are the tool that traps us into dreams and prevents us from seeing our own imprisonment. 

The novel addresses the price of looking up from the screen into the void. What would you say to the person who tells you reality isn't real?  Would you love them or hate them, or both at the same time?

The protagonist, a Marin-residing graphic designer with a seemingly cushy job at a biotech firm in downtown SF, temporarily breaks his circuits and faces a dilemma: remember that crack in the fabric of appearances or forget it as quickly as he can.

As he walks the road to choosing frightening reality or comforting dream world,  the designer ponders who he used to be before his cushy condo, how friends, family and acquaintances reconcile their own illusions and what life might be like outside the penal colony.

And he meets a woman.

American Day Dream asks us to consider the joys, and the dangers, of authentic existence when the human experience isn't what we thought it was. When the price of the little compromises is more expensive than we ever imagined and everything we thought was true about life, really wasn't.

There is still a choice to be made in the world of American Day Dream, but time is running out on the dreamers. Jailbreaking isn't just for i-phones. It's for all of us before there is nothing left but pretty trappings on top of a penal colony.

In a society where we are being watched more than we can fully grasp, the distance between American Day Dream's Bay Area and our own is shrinking.

It's a small step between dawn to dusk surveillance and planting us in a customized-just-for-us existence to meet all of our needs as incarcerated worker bees.

American Day Dream makes that leap and then paints the picture of what the hesitant walk along the road of resistance might look like - without the superpowers of Neo - for just a guy and a girl in Northern California.

Anti-Abortion Hackers Target Progressive ISP MayFirst/PeopleLink

Posted by Alfredo Lopez on August 4th, 2015

Attackers continued their assault on May First/People Link operations Monday evening shutting down the organization's website at https://mayfirst.org. All other services continue operating.

The Denial of Service attack targeted the website but, as collateral damage, much of May First's hosting system was paralyzed for a short time about 11:00 pm Monday evening. May First technologists restored all services except May First's own website, the specific target, by 11:30 pm.

The attack follows several days of Denial of Service attacks on May First servers, targeting specifically May First member the National Network of Abortion Funds whose website, http://fundabortionnow.org was down for almost a day last week. That attack appears to have been part of the campaign aimed at the pro-choice movement which included the attacks last week on Planned Parenthood and various pro-choice websites.

Today's action is the first time the attackers have targeted the May First/People Link website specifically.

"We consider our organization attacked when one of our members is targeted so we've been under attack for several days now," according of Jamie McClelland, MF/PL Leadership Committee member. "But the targeting of our website means that these people are not just focusing on the issue of abortion or trying to repress communication about it but punishing an organization that allows that communication. This isn't about choice specifically, this is about May First/People Link and, because of who we are, it's about an entire movement in two countries."

Technologists continue working to return the website to service. No other services are affected at this time.

May First/People Link is a political progressive membership organization specializing in Internet work and the sharing of services with most members in the United States and Mexico. It is the largest organization of its kind in either country.

An Overview of the Open Internet Order

Posted by NANOG on July 28th, 2015
North American Network Operators Group

A 45-minute video describing the historic February 26th Open Internet Order (the net neutrality rules). 

From NANOG (The North American Network Operators Group) 

It's Time for Consumer-Driven Pricing Policies in Cable and Broadband

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on July 28th, 2015
Media Alliance

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a request for comments on how consumers are being charged for video-related services, the notice they are given before these costs appear on their monthly cable bill and whether these fees cause consumers to pay higher prices than the company’s advertised rates for monthly service. The FCC has always had jurisdiction over how common carriers, broadcast, wireless, satellite, cable companies and other telecom entities address consumer interests in their business practices.

According to the FCC website, through the Consumer Policy division, they are “…tasked with issuing orders to resolve complaints about unauthorized changes in local telecommunication providers (slamming); conducting rulemakings on slamming, truth-in-billing telemarketing and fax advertising; and monitoring informal inquiries and complaints to identify trends that affect consumers.” Unfortunately, many advocates believe that the focus on consumers has been sidelined since the passage of The 1996 Telecommunications Act. While the act spurred innovative platforms for video distribution and creative content for internet users, it was to the detriment of cable subscribers who realized no real benefits, and instead have experienced nearly two decades of limited choices for service, rising monthly prices and deteriorating customer service. With consolidation happening at a breakneck speed in the cable and broadband markets, it is time that the focus of our 21st century video market policy-making process be placed squarely on the protection of the consumer.

For this reason, Media Alliance applauds the FCC’s undertaking to augment their next video competition report with detailed pricing data and information through their comment process. We have long advocated for increased transparency when it comes to the billing practices of pay-TV and broadband providers and are further encouraged that the FCC’s action is not an isolated incident.

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are increasingly losing their patience with the unscrupulous practices of the pay-TV industry and are calling for inquiries with the interest of consumers in mind.  Last year, Senator McCaskill asked probing questions of cable providers who experienced first-hand how cable operators have overcharged and misled consumers with complicated fee structures and surcharges. Time and time again, McCaskill has sought to bring accountability to the pay-TV industry by calling for legislative hearings around cable billing practices.

The momentum continued with a letter on July 9 from Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) calling for the FCC to collect detailed pricing data on broadband and cable services on a state-by-state basis and comparatively in rural versus urban areas. Their letter also recognizes the lack of competition in the pay-TV industry citing that fact that only “37 percent of Americans have more than one option for high-speed broadband providers.” The senators declared that a lack of competitive choices and a marketplace that continues to move toward more consolidation has left Americans with “de facto telecommunications monopolies” across the nation. These are factors that need to be addressed at a granular level by federal regulators.

The FCC’s action to collect broadband and pay-TV pricing data will go a long way in helping consumers better understand exactly what it is they are paying for in their monthly bills. The pay-TV companies have this information. We simply need our leaders in Washington D.C. to ask the right questions so that regulators can then deconstruct the fees, surcharges, equipment rentals and other miscellaneous costs.

Thanks to leaders in the nation’s capital, we are taking the first step towards creating greater pricing and billing transparency for consumers of pay-TV and/or Internet subscription services in America.

2015 Northern California Press List Out!

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on July 22nd, 2015
Media Alliance

The Media Alliance 2015 Northern California Press List is out!

The 2015 Northern California Press List provides 1200+ media contacts in an easy-to-manipulate Excel spreadsheet, including daily/weekly newspapers, televison and radio stations, hyperlocal news websites, and selected national alternative press.

Use this link to pick up your copy.

Media Alliance produces this community press list to help nonprofits and activists reach the media consistently without having to pay the prohibitive prices charged by commercial public relations efforts.

Pair your press list with a Media How To Guide, if you haven't already, to get everything you need to know for low-cost high-impact guerilla publicity.

The press list retails for $50 (discounted for MA members) so make sure to let people know about it who could benefit from the resource.

We're Moving!

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on July 4th, 2015

MA is pleased to announce that we'll be returning to San Francisco in May of 2015, joining the new artistic community at the Pacific Felt Factory in San Francisco's Mission District.

First the details: Our new address as of May 4, 2015 will be: 2830 20th Street, Suite 102  San Francisco CA 94110

Our building has entrances both on 20th Street and on 19th Street at the corner of Bryant behind the gate that would be at 2751 19th Street.

Follow this link for pics of the new office in development.

Our new telephone number as of May 4, 2015 will be (415) 746-9475. ED Tracy Rosenberg can also be reached directly via mobile phone at 510-684-6853, which is unchanged.

The good news: The new space will provide the classroom, workshop and event space that Media Alliance has been missing in Oakland, contained within a new vibrant art space with lots of cross-fertilization and fun, creative things going on.

Being a part of the community will allow us to permanently lower our rent while increasing our physical capacity in a long-term secure space dedicated to art and social justice, freeing us from the commercial real estate market and the exploding costs in our adopted Oakland home.

It was a difficult decision to leave Oakland, a city MA has grown to love after the forced exodus from San Francisco in 2005, but the long-term security and stability of the nonprofit in today's always-challenging financial conditions was our first priority. Media Alliance intends to continue robust participation in public policy throughout the Bay Area, but especially on both sides of the Bay, which are both our professional and personal homes.

There will be a little moving upheaval during the last week of April and first week of May, but bear with us and we'll do our best to be fully up and running as quickly as possible.

 And stay tuned for classes and events. We've heard you these past few years about wanting more of that, and this new office is designed with more public events and workshops in mind.

Thank you for your support and sharing the excitement of this move with us. Any helping hands in the last week of April for the schlepping of boxes are very very welcome.

 Towards peace and justice (and San Francisco)


Cable Competition Vetoed at FCC

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on June 5th, 2015
Media Alliance

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dealt a blow to cable regulation when Chair Tom Wheeler declined to join democratic commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel in dropping the presumption of effective cable competition in most cities and counties.

The presumption means that the burden of proof to assert that cable competition is insufficient falls on city and state governments who must mount a case to prove their point. Failing a monumental effort on their part, federal regulators will presume that effective cable competition exists. 

Clyburn and Rosenworcel argued that "streamlining" should not take the form of an expedited process to avoid oversight and accused the agency of racing past the statutory requirements and providing such broad relief to cable companies as to increase burdens on local franchising authorities and potentially result in price increases for consumers.

However, FCC chair Tom Wheeler voted in favor of the presumption and it passed the commission on a 3-2 vote.

Media Alliance agrees with Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel and hails them for their attempts to preserve oversight by franchising authorities and not streamline away local cable regulation.

Below is the public interest letter sent by several organizations including MA asking the FCC not to presume effective cable competition.

Kick The Kickbacks Video

Posted by Champaign Urbana IMC on May 27th, 2015
Illinois Campaign for Phone Justice

This video produced by the Champaign-Urbana Independent Media Center and the Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice exposes the actions of phone service provider Securus Technologies and the Illinois Department of Corrections in gouging nearly $12 million a year from the families of the incarcerated from over-priced phone call.

Sign the petition to encourage the FCC to finish reforming the prison phone call system and cap phone rates for all kinds of phone calls for good. 

Make Cable Prove There Is Competition

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on May 7th, 2015
Media Alliance

FCC filings can be dry: but what it comes down to is whether cable companies have to prove there is effective competition or whether communities have to prove there isn't. 

 We believe the burden of proof should be on the big cable companies, not local towns and cities with less resources and less to gain from a big federal fight.

Here's our note to the FCC, joined by the Greenlining Institute, to say the burden of proof belong with Big Cable.

Talking About Media Concentration

Posted by Kellia Ramares on

This 30 minute interview was recorded and produced by Kellia Ramares and will eventually be part of an article for Alternet looking at the impact of monopolies of many kinds on the democratic deficit. 

The impacts of media concentration on freedom of expression, implied and absolute censorship and information economics in a wideranging discussion with MA Ed Tracy Rosenberg. 

Fact Sheet on California Impacts of the Comcast-Time Warner Merger

Posted by Caifornia Coalition to Stop The Comcast Monopoly on April 18th, 2015

This fact sheet was prepared by the California Coalition to Stop the Comcast Monopoly (Writers Guild West, Media Alliance, Consumers Union, The Greenlining Institute, TURN and Common Cause). 

It stresses the California-specific impacts of the proposed merger on the state, which is one of the most heavily affected states in the nation.

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