Who Will Defend the Rights of People of Color to an Open Internet? We Speak for Ourselves.
Last updated: March 25, 2010 - 9:55pm
[Commentary] In every competition, there's a winner and a loser. The open Internet protections being debated by the Federal Communications Commission right now will determine who wins and who loses in the fight over whether big companies or regular people will control the Internet. I want everyday people to win.
It makes sense that the threat of digital redlining has some civil rights groups in the DC beltway concerned. This concern has resulted in some groups like the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), run by David Honig, taking a position against the open Internet protections that would ensure that the Internet remains an un-gated platform for self-representation, innovation, and opportunity. What doesn't make sense is that groups like MMTC would deny that the financial relationship between them and the same media companies that are blackmailing the communities MMTC claims to represent, has an impact on their position on open Internet protections. I agree with Garlin Gilchrest II of the Center for Community Change that the undue pressure of big media on some civil rights groups like MMTC to advocate against strong open Internet protections has pushed those organizations dangerously close to unwittingly and unwillingly becoming astroturf groups. I don't understand why a group claiming to represent the interests of people of color like me would focus on us only as consumers of a commercial broadband and not as communities who deserve all the richness an open Internet has to offer.
If MMTC won't stand for the millions of people of color and poor people outside of the DC beltway, who will? Perhaps its simply time for us to speak for ourselves, and demand the strongest open Internet protections possible. Who speaks for communities of color and the poor about open Internet protections? We speak for ourselves.
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