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After Buffalo, Media and Tech Can’t Look Away Any Longer

This tragedy should be a catalyst to a fundamental reckoning.
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WASHINGTON – After a series of secret meetings this week between the Federal Communications Commission and top industry lobbyists was revealed by the Wall Street Journal, FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus tried to explain away the backroom meetings in a post on the FCC’s blog.

In response, Free Press President and CEO Josh Silver made the following statement:

“It is deeply disturbing that the FCC’s Chief of Staff is not only meeting exclusively with industry representatives on the future of the Internet, but when faced with criticism, he is also making weak excuses for the agency's behavior alongside vague promises to include others somewhere down the road. Paying lip service to transparency and being transparent are two different things.

“Lazarus’s claim that these meetings were not subject to ex parte rules is a red herring. Either the FCC is hosting these meetings to discuss FCC action on the future of the Internet, in which case they are subject to ex parte rules, or the FCC is secretly conspiring on a legislative strategy with only the largest telecom industry representatives and lobbyists at the table. That’s even more outrageous.

“The FCC’s blog post is a fig leaf attempting to cover for what appears to be secret negotiations to sell out the future of the Internet. It’s a preposterous assumption that inviting comments from the public carries the same weight as a face-to-face meeting with some of the most powerful industry leadership and lobbyists in Washington.”

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