The mission of Free Press – the organization I work for – is to educate the public about the media policy decisions that shape everything we watch, read and hear and to amplify the voice of the public in those policy debates. For too long, media policy has been made in our name, but without our consent. Policies are shaped by those who have access to the halls of power, and we are fighting every day to give the public a seat at the table so that our policy makers hear from real citizens, not just corporate lobbyists.
However, recently a number of people have questioned if the public should really have a say in media policy. The policies that govern everything from cable TV to mobile phones and radio to the Internet are extraordinarily complicated, and involve a range of engineering, law, and business problems (as well as implications for civic, democratic and justice issues of course). For shorthand we usually just say this stuff is wonky. Some have argued, that given the complicated nature of these debates what can the public add and who really should be dictating the future of our media system? (more…)