This week presidential candidate Howard Dean takes over Lawrence Lessig’s weblog, which focuses on free speech, media consolidation, copyright issues and the Internet. An excerpt from Dean’s first post:
The Internet might soon be the last place where open dialogue occurs. One of the most dangerous things that has happened in the past few years is the deregulation of media ownership rules that began in 1996. Michael Powell and the Bush FCC are continuing that assault today (see the June 2nd ruling).
The danger of relaxing media ownership rules became clear to me when I saw what happened with the Dixie Chicks. But thereâ€™s an even bigger danger in the future, on the Internet. The FCC recently ruled that cable and phone based broadband providers be classified as information rather than telecommunications services. This is the first step in a process that could allow Internet providers to arbitrarily limit the content that users can access. The phone and cable industries could have the power to discriminate against content that they donâ€™t control or– even worse– simply donâ€™t like.
The media conglomerates now dominate almost half of the markets around the country, meaning Americans get less independent and frequently less dependable news, views and information. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spoke of the fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power. No consolidated economic power has more opportunity to do this than the consolidated power of media.
(Thanks to Geheimbundler for the link.)