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Latinos & the Net Neutrality Debate

August 31st, 2010 · 2 Comments

Imagine trying to get on the internet to view your favorite websites and not being able to reach the content that you typically find because certain sites  have been prioritized by your provider. Or imagine having to pay to access certain sites on top of what you already pay for monthly internet service. This gets to heart of the net neutrality debate, and it is an issue that bloggers, blog readers, and anyone who enjoys freely surfing the internet for information, communication and commerce should care about because sites like this one could be affected especially when we provide information about campaigns that challenge the traditional media such as “Basta Dobbs” or even the DREAM letters campaign raising awareness about undocumented students.

Last week a new coalition, Latinos for Internet Freedom “LIF”, was formed to fight for internet freedom and to support the concept of net neutrality. Over 40 local and national groups comprise this coalition from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists to more local groups like the New Mexico Media Literacy Project and CARECEN. These groups realize that our livelihood depends on an open and free internet that allows us to communicate, organize, and challenge the traditional propaganda machines.

If you notice, some of our community’s most prominent or noted civil rights organizations have not joined the newly formed LIF coalition. Notably absent are NCLR, MALDEF, and LULAC. However, this should not be a big surprise since big telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon tend to be high level donors to these organizations. But since many of the grassroots organizations do work that fits in line with and supports the stated goals of the larger Latino organizations, I would hope that they (the holy trinity of NCLR, MALDEF, and LULAC) will eventually join this fight.

I was able to ask Roberto Lovato of Presente.org about the absence of some of these larger Latino civil rights organizations from the net neutrality fight, and he offered this:

“The response to our launch of the Latinos for Internet Freedom coalition has been overwhelming. Latinos and non-Latinos from across the country have stepped to say they want to keep the internet as open and free from the excessive greed and control of extremely powerful corporations. These same corporations that have, over the past 10 years, spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence “opinion leaders” and “civil rights” organizations. That so many leaders and organizations have joined our fight despite the attempts to buy Latino opinion speaks well of these leaders and organizations- and of our cause. Other leaders “brillan por su ausencia”, they shine for their absence against the dark cloud of corporate control looming over the internet. The conspicuous silence of some “civil rights leaders” around network neutrality, an issue at the core of the civil and human rights struggles of the present and future, provides, I believe, an opportunity for the courage and conviction of the brave new leaders of the Latino community to shine forth. Digital age activists like LIF members  Amalia Deloney of the Center for Media Justice, Andrea Quijada of the Media Literacy Project and Steven Renderos of the Main Street Project stand to inherit and redefine what were the civil rights struggle of the industrial age civil rights organizations. They are at the heart of Latinos for Internet Freedom.

To my knowledge, Janet Murguia and the Natonal Council of La Raza have remained neutral about network neutrality.”

If you want to preserve the free and open internet that allows you to go where you want to when you get online, please take action here and consider voicing your concern to Latino oriented organizations who are not yet taking a stand in the net neutrality fight.

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Tags: Civil Rights · community organizing and activism · Digital Divide · LULAC · MALDEF · Media · National Council of La Raza · Technology

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jaango // Sep 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Sad to say, but the majority of the Hispanic members of Congress are “in the tank” for Verizon and AT&T, given their sizable amounts of compaign contributions received.

    As such, “fighting city hall” is not going to impact LULAC, Maldef and NCLR. They will follow where the Hispanic leaders in Congress dictate. Be so advised. Thus, following Congressman Grijalva, will keep the Latino from being kicked to the curb, especially for the long run.

    Jaango

  • 2 Saul Davis // Sep 28, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I am asking for your support of Edgenics Broadband Initiative. Contact your U.S. Rep. and tell them that there must be other players in the broadband space that will met the needs of the unserved and underserved masses. Someone that will bring affordable broadband and value added services such as e-Health, Telemedicine, and e-learning in order for us to grow and create opportunities for ourselves. A decision must be made by Sept. 30th. I am encouraging anyone who reads this to contact your U.S. Rep. and Senators to voice your support. This effort will create jobs as well as economic development in areas where it is badly needed. Thanks for your support in advance.

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