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“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
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“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
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“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
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Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
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6. Closing Access to Information Technology

Source: Dollars and Sense, September 2002
Title: “Slamming Shut Open Access”
Author: Arthur Stamoulis
Evaluator: Scott Gordon Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Daryl Khoo

Technological changes, coupled with deregulation, may soon radically limit diversity on the Internet.

The 7,000 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) still available today are quickly dwindling to just two or three for any one locale. They are being bought out by large monopolies that also control your local phone, cable, and possibly, satellite internet.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress are currently overturning the public-interest rules that have encouraged the expansion of the Internet up until now. Much of this is due to the lobbying tactics that cable and phone industries use to mute the competition, take advantage of technological changes and push for deregulation to consolidate market control.

A policy of open access currently makes it possible for people to choose between long-distance phone providers. This open access policy has also allowed one to choose between AOL, MSN, Jimmy’s Internet Shack, and thousands of other ISPs for dial-up Internet access. Phone companies would like to use their monopoly ownership of the phone wires to have total control over phone-based Internet services as well, but telecom regulations are in place that prevent them from blocking out other companies.

Unfortunately, as the general shift from dial-up to broadband Internet access gets underway, the FCC is moving in with a series of actions that threaten to shut down open access. In 2002 the FCC decided to characterize high-speed cable Internet connection -largely controlled by AOL-Time Warner, AT&T Broadband, and other large corporate players-as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” This designation frees cable broadband from telecom rules, giving the cable companies that own broadband lines the ability to deny smaller ISP companies access over their cable lines. Cable itself is a monopoly in most towns; so anyone who signs up for cable internet will typically have no choice other than to use the cable company’s own ISP.

Such degree of market control spells trouble for freedom of information on the Internet. Cable and phone monopolies would become clearinghouses for information. Corporations and government agencies will hold tremendous power to filter and censor content. ISPs already have the capability to privilege, or block out, content traveling through their web servers. With the demise of open access regulations, Internet content will likely resemble the “monotonous diet of corporate content” that viewers now receive with cable television.

The monopoly power being handed over to the cable and phone companies will enable them to sell different levels of Internet access, much like they do with cable television. For one price, you could access only certain pre-approved sites; for a higher price, you could access a wider selection of sites; and only for the highest price could you access the entire World Wide Web. This is already the way that many wireless Internet packages operate. It’s clear that “marginal” content that isn’t associated with e-commerce, big business, or government would have a hard time making it into the first-tier, “basic” packages. This isn’t censorship, we’ll be told. It’s just that there is only so much bandwidth to go around, and customers would rather see CNN, the Disney Channel, and porn, than community-based websites, such as http://www.indymedia.org.

UPDATE BY ARTHUR STAMOULIS: Most people still do not understand how differences in regulations governing different technologies threaten the future of the Internet-and industry is continuing to use that to their advantage.

In November 2002, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved Comcast’s $47.5-billion purchase of AT&T Broadband, creating the largest cable company in the world. Neither the FCC nor the Department of Justice imposed any rules forcing the newly formed behemoth to offer customers the Internet Service Provider (ISP) of their choice. Thus, 30% of cable subscribers now have little-to-no say over what high-speed cable broadband ISP they will use. It’s simply Comcast or nothing.

Senator McCain’s effort to allow phone companies to bar other ISPs from the DSL lines-the Consumer Broadband Deregulation Act-thankfully went nowhere during the 107th Congress. While behind closed doors lobbying has undoubtedly continued, the FCC has also done little on this front in the first half of 2003, focusing instead on dismantling the few remaining media ownership regulations for television, radio and newspapers.

Of course, the elimination of ownership rules for television broadcasters could also have an impact on the Internet. In 1996, television stations were given the right to the “digital” spectrum free of charge, another one of Congress’ gifts to industry worth billions upon billions of dollars. This digital spectrum gives owners the option to broadcast as many as five channels on the space previously needed for just one. As television stations typically get preferred treatment with cable companies in terms of transmission deals or must-carry regulations, media conglomerates that can buy up lots of TV stations now will likely have considerable access to cable bandwidth. This is especially valuable as TV and the Internet merge into next-generation interactive television (ITV) applications.

Whether public interest or community-access programming will have a place in this brave new Internet world will depend upon how loudly people demand it. Fortunately, the biggest untold media story of 2003 is that people are coming together to demand their media rights. The Bush administration’s deregulatory bonanza was met with loud protest from groups as disparate as the National Organization for Women and the National Rifle Association, the Catholic Conference of Bishops and the AFL-CIO. Online progressive organizations like MoveOn.org and Common Cause have also mobilized their members in the fight for media democracy. People from coast to coast have protested in the streets on these issues.

Readers interested in learning more about how regulations and technological changes affect the Internet should turn to the Center for Digital Democracy (democraticmedia.org), a group that has provided the best policy analysis expertise on these issues for years. Activists should also get in touch with Media Tank (mediatank.org), a leader in grassroots media democracy organizing. Finally, people should follow the progress of Free Press (mediareform.net), a new project aimed at becoming a national clearinghouse on media issues, started by veteran media critic Bob McChesney.

  • Dacia Shelvin May 20, 2010

    I really enjoy the article.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  • itil October 12, 2010

    While we’re on the subject of 6. Closing Access to Information Technology | Project Censored, In any career field one wants to prove his skills and potentials. Especially for IT-cians they need to hone up and update their abilities with the latest technological contents.

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