Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bill Moyers: We ‘Lit a Fire’ in Washington

Veteran television journalist Bill Moyers opened the National Conference for Media Reform Friday with praise for's grassroots campaign to keep the Internet open and fair for all comers.

"You lit a fire under people to put Washington on Notice," Moyers said before a packed house of more than 3,000 conference goers.


Click Here To Watch Moyers' YouTube Speech

Net Neutrality, which Moyers dubbed the "Equal Access Provision of the Internet," became a broad public issue "that once again reminded the powers that be that people want the media to foster democracy not to quench it."

Moyers called our campaign critical, as soon virtually all media will be delivered to homes via a single high speed broadband connection.

“This is the great gift of the digital revolution and you must never let them take it away from you,” he said.

"Without equality of access the Net will become just like cable television where the provider decides what you see and what you pay."

Moyers highlighted's grassroots organizing and online lobbying efforts, saying that Washington "hadn't reckoned with this movement."

"Free Press and orchestrated 800 organizations, a million and a half petitions, countless local events, legions of home-made videos, smart collaboration with allies in industry and a top-shelf communications campaign," he said.
"Who would have imagined that sitting together in the same democratic broadband pew would be the Christian Coalition, Gun Owners of America, Common Cause and And who would have imagined that these would link arms with some of the powerful new media companies to fight for the Internet's First Amendment."
Speaking about the recent agreement by AT&T executive Ed Whitacre to adhere to strict Net Neutrality as a condition of his company's $86 billion merger with BellSouth, Moyers said, "AT&T had to cry uncle."

"The agreement marks the first time that the federal government has imposed true neutrality -- oops equality -- on an Internet Access Provider since the debate erupted almost two years ago."

Regarding our prospects for 2007 and beyond, Moyers said this:
"I believe you changed the terms of the debate It is no longer about whether equality of access will govern the future of the Internet, it's about when and how.

"It also signals a change from defense to offense for the backers of the open Net. Arguably, the biggest most effective online organizing campaign ever conducted on a media issue can now turn to passing good laws rather than always having to fight to block the bad ones."
>> Watch the video at:

>> For full video of Moyers' speech, visit the Media Reform Conference Blog.

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