New FCC Chairman Faces Tests on Net Neutrality, Media Ownership Consolidation Issues

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Posted Dec. 25, 2013

Interview with Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the media reform group Free Press, conducted by Scott Harris

netneutrality

With President Obama’s appointment of new FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler and the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of his nomination to become the agency’s chairman on Oct. 29, the era of outgoing FCC Chair Julius Genachowski came to a close. Genachowski had been criticized by media reform democracy groups for cheerleading many communications industry actions, often to the detriment of consumers. Although Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008, pledging to strengthen net neutrality protections for Internet users, Genachowski often caved into pressure from telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast, rejecting tough regulations, supporting instead weaker rules with corporate friendly loopholes.

Genachowski had also been criticized during his five-year term for his lack leadership in advocating any meaningful action on limiting the consolidation of media ownership, and little or no support for policies favoring media diversity, opening doors for women and communities of color to compete for broadcast licenses.

Now with Tom Wheeler’s appointment to head the FCC, there was speculation about where the former lobbyist for the cable TV and cell phone industry, would take the regulatory agency in the coming years. Between the Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the media democracy group Free Press. Here he discusses his group's ongoing work advocating for net neutrality and an assessment of positions taken by the newly confirmed FCC chair Tom Wheeler.

Find more information on the Free Press’s campaigns for media democracy by visiting freepress.net.

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