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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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April 21, 2008 4:04 PM

FCC Stanford hearing

Posted by Ryan Blethen

"I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea that my ability to speak my mind to whoever wants to hear is a matter of corporate grace rather than constitutional right, and I suspect other Americans will feel equally uncomfortable if the FCC abandons its responsibilities and fails to act."

That is what Harold Feld from the Media Access Project told the five members of the Federal Communications Commission at its Stanford hearing last week. The commissioners held the hearing to find out more about net neutrality and what network service providers like Comcast have been doing to block or degrade content.

Feld, who blogs at Wetmachine, was not the only person to elaborate on the need for net neutrality. Ben Scott, his entire statement can be found here, of Free Press said:

"There are two competing visions for the future of the Internet - open versus closed. Will we embrace the openness that has shaped the Internet to the present day? Or will we permit network owners to move to the closed systems of content control we have had with cable television and broadcasting?...Openness simply means that Internet policy should promote free speech and commerce in the online marketplace. Openness means faithfully guarding against interference from the cable and telephone companies who have the power to become gatekeepers between consumers and producers of Internet content."

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