mass media and freedom of speech

Access to information has profound consequences to our democracy. Mass media need to be accessible to the public as a means of both transmitting and receiving information.

The mass media, including print and broadcast media, are being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations. They screen out information that does not fit into the "norm" and thus the media become a means of maintaining the status quo. The media have become a major vehicle for advertising and promoting corporate messages.

An informed electorate is critical to good government. Our legal right to criticize government is essential to the effective working of democracy. The U.S. Bill of Rights sets forth the rights and freedoms that cannot be denied or abridged government. The scope of the First Amendment is extensive and prohibits any law which would abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for determining and advocating telecommunications policies that ensure the First Amendment rights.

The privatization of the broadcast airwaves, one of our most important taxpayer assets, has caused serious deformations of our politics and culture. The private broadcasters control what the public owns; and in return for free licenses to use taxpayer property, broadcasters give us a steady stream of coarse, redundant, superficial programming and almost exclusively decide who says what on our public airwaves. They have refused to air television and radio advertisements for progressive causes, even if those representing these causes were willing to pay going rates.

News coverage of political campaigns has diminished in recent elections, making it less likely that "minority" parties and points of view will be mentioned at all, much less covered in depth. This allows only those with the most money and / or influence to easily retain or gain power, thus diminishing the power of the electorate.

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