Monday, August 08, 2005

Cause for concern: the corporatization of the internet

Virtually all media in this country is owned by a handful of conglomerate mega-corporations. The domination of media by such a small number (little more than 6) companies who have interlocking boards of directorates poises a serious threat to American citizens' right to a free a press since these media monopolies and their conflicts of interest have led to a dramatic narrowing of exceptable discourse.*

The 21st century answer to this problem has so far been the internet, a truely democratic medium where anyone and everyone with a connection has free an open access to a wide range of information and opinion - it is a place where diverse perspectives can be given a voice. This is in part due to the fact that so long as the main means of gaining access was through dial-up connections the net was regulated by the same anti-trust and public service restrictions as the phone companies. But with the increasing use of DSL and cable connections the internet now faces the same threat of corporatization that the rest of media has seen. And not surprisingly, the mainstream media has done little to alert the public at large of this important issue.

Most people take it for granted that they will continue to have open access to the world wide web. I did. But then I read News Incorporated: Corporate Media Ownership and its Threat to Democracy and was made aware that the future of the internet is by no means secure, and that the same media monopolies which control the mainstream media are now encroaching on the net. Indeed, just this past Friday the FCC "eased rules governing high-speed Internet services offered by phone companies."

With this in mind, here is a link to a chilling essay written by Elliot D. Cohen, the editor of the aforementioned News Incorporated, warning of the problems now facing "the greatest bastion of democracy in human history." The picture Cohen paints is not pleasant:

The days are now numbered for surfing an uncensored, open-access Internet, using your favorite search engine to search a bottomless cyber-sea of information in the grandest democratic forum ever conceived by humankind. Instead you can look forward to Googling about on a walled-off, carefully selected corpus of government propaganda and sanitized information "safe" for public consumption. Indoctrinated and sealed off from the outer world, you will inhabit a matrix where every ounce of creative, independent thinking that challenges government policies and values will be squelched. Just a wild conspiracy theory, you say? No longer can this be rationally maintained

*To learn more about the corporatization of the media visit the Media Reform Information Center

1 comment:

Kvatch said...

Thanks for the comment on Blognonymous. I clicked through to the Buzzflash article...very good.