Blog

Welcome to the Free Press blog! We post several times a week on everything from Internet access to free speech to media mergers, so check back often to see what we’re up to.

  • No Cuts to Public Media in the Next Budget

    December 29, 2011

    If you’re like me, you’re used to hearing “This program was made possible by supporters like you” at the end of NPR and PBS shows. But this year those words take on a special significance.

    Thanks to an incredible outpouring of support from people all across the country, public media survived the most serious political attacks in Congress it has faced in years. Repeated efforts to pass bad bills, sneak through dangerous cuts and undermine the fundamental structure of public media failed thanks to the hard work of activists and fans who wrote to Congress, called their policymakers and even showed up in Washington, D.C., to make their voices heard.

  • FCC Ignores Public by Pushing Failed Ownership Policies

    December 22, 2011

    On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission proposed rules that would further weaken media ownership limits for local newspapers and broadcast stations. The agency's proposal is strikingly similar to one adopted in 2007 under former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Those rules were met with overwhelming public opposition from across the country, as well as from bipartisan leaders in Congress, and were thrown out by a federal appeals court last summer.

  • Journalists: Don't Be Objective About Media Transparency

    December 21, 2011

    We try to shine a spotlight on the media policies that shape journalism in America — for better and for worse. The Freedom of Information Act is a key example of how media policy can have a profound impact on journalism. Congress passed it in 1966 and it went into effect in 1967 over the objections of then-President Lyndon Johnson. It has since become a fundamental tool in journalists’ toolbox for accessing government information and holding our leaders accountable.

    The Federal Communications Commission is now seeking feedback on a new rule that could open up even more information to help journalists follow the money in elections and media. However, some broadcasters are lobbying hard to derail this effort at enhanced disclosure.

  • The Truth About Fake News

    December 21, 2011

    A media watchdog sent us this video of Wisconsin station WLUK passing off an AT&T advertisement as news.

    It sounds crazy, but passing an infomercial off as a news story is legal as long as stations disclose the paid pieces at the end of the program.

    But a lot of stations don’t even manage that: They air fake news without providing any kind of disclosure to viewers — a clear violation of FCC rules. And these rules are so weak that stations that do provide disclosure information can get away with text that is barely legible.

  • Big Win! AT&T Drops Its T-Mobile Takeover Bid

    December 19, 2011

    This is huge: AT&T just announced it’s finally abandoning its doomed merger with T-Mobile.

    For nearly a year, we've been showing that this deal would have only meant higher prices, fewer choices and tens of thousands of lost American jobs. Free Press knew it; the Department of Justice agreed; so did the FCC.

  • Stanford Law Prof Condemns Verizon App Blocking

    December 19, 2011

    Two weeks ago, various news outlets reported that Verizon Wireless’ new Galaxy Nexus phone, an Android device that went on sale last Thursday, will not support Google Wallet, Google’s mobile payment application. Based on what we know from press reports, it seems that Verizon Wireless is violating the open-devices and open-applications conditions in its legal licenses for part of the 700 MHz spectrum (the so-called “C-Block”) over which the company’s LTE network operates. There is, however, great uncertainty about what exactly is going on.

  • Free Speech Champion Christopher Hitchens Dies

    December 16, 2011

    Christopher Hitchens was a master at offending just about everybody in the room.

    Hitchens, who died Thursday from complications related to cancer, first earned his literary stripes as a political firebrand on the left. No cow was too sacred for Hitchens, an atheist who excoriated organized religion in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything — and lambasted the previously untouchable Mother Teresa in The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. A longtime lefty, Hitchens alienated his former compatriots when he switched gear in the early aughts and defended the United States invasion of Iraq.

  • Two Important Victories

    December 15, 2011

    We just scored two important victories.

  • The Top 10 Ways the Carriers Tried to Screw Us in 2011

    December 15, 2011

    Another year, another 12 months in which the mobile carriers did their best to screw us.

    AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon do so many bad, annoying and anti-consumer things that it’s almost impossible to document it all. So below is a catalog of simply the most egregious acts the carriers perpetrated this year.

  • Verizon Blocks Again

    December 13, 2011

    Last week Verizon announced it was blocking Google’s new Galaxy Nexus phone from using Google Wallet, the mobile payment app.

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good