It’s the holiday season, and the Federal Communications Commission has been in a giving mood for the largest media companies. Over the past few months, the FCC has adopted a number of items that have relaxed or eliminated rules around media ownership. On their own, these actions allow for the largest media companies to further consolidate, drowning out diverse, independent, and local voices in the marketplace. However, the FCC’s actions have also particularly benefited one broadcast company -- Sinclair -- and its effort to merge with Tribune.
A key question in advance of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference that took place last week in Buenos Aires was whether its full membership would agree to launch new negotiations seeking to create multilateral norms for e-commerce. Since 1998 the WTO has had a work program examining e-commerce issues, but in the past months several members – including Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the European Union, Mexico, and others – circulated textual proposals calling for new negotiations or a working group that could end in new negotiations. Others members – among them the African Group and India – preferred to continue under the current work program instead of launching new negotiations.
This week Public Knowledge’s Director of Global Policy, Gus Rossi, and Development Manager, Katie Watson, traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for the 12th Annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF brings together people from a variety of stakeholder groups, including public interest organizations, government agencies, industry representatives, academics, and others in order to discuss their work and the challenges they each face in creating good internet governance policies. This annual event serves as an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the important work other groups are carrying out, and to share best practices.
The policy sphere has its knickers in a knot over Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s meme-filled video collaboration with The Daily Caller. In the video, Chairman Pai defends his decision to repeal net neutrality protections by enumerating the things folks can still do on the internet.
Despite public outrage and Congressional pressure, Chairman Ajit Pai succeeded in his repeal of vital net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission’s last open meeting of 2017. This attack on the open internet also rolled back Title II classification of broadband and abdicated the FCC’s regulatory authority over the internet to the Federal Trade Commission.