(For more information on NHMC’s advocacy for an open internet, visit: www.nhmc.org/openinternet)
NHMC Calls on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Assert Authority, Preserve Equality on the InternetWashington, D.C. – Today, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) was disappointed to learn that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a large portion of the FCC’s “network neutrality” rules. The FCC’s network neutrality rules provided a solid first step towards equality on the Internet. They guaranteed a few basic consumer protections that have made the Internet the democratizing force that it is today: that Internet service providers – many of whom enjoy virtual monopolies with customers who have only one or two viable Internet options – allow their customers access to the entire Internet; and that Internet service providers cannot block or slow down access to any lawful website. The rules were not perfect, for instance, they arbitrarily failed to protect wireless customers to the same extent as hard line customers, but they were important touchstones to ensure fairness on the Internet. “Latinos and other people of color have long faced discrimination at the hands of mainstream media. Over the open Internet, we have been able to push back against this discrimination, tell our own stories fairly and accurately, organize, and even earn a living. Today’s D.C. Circuit Court decision puts this Internet freedom in jeopardy,” stated NHMC’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Jessica J. González. “The court decision to vacate rules that prevent discrimination and blocking access to online content is disconcerting, however, language in the opinion signals that the FCC is well-footed to tackle net neutrality from a different angle. The court clearly states that the FCC’s justification for net neutrality rules ‘is reasonable and supported by substantial evidence.’ Moreover, it provides a roadmap for the FCC to assert its authority over Internet service providers and ensure Internet equality moving forward. Based on Chairman Wheeler’s encouraging statement issued earlier today, NHMC expects that the FCC will move expeditiously to that end,” stated NHMC’s Policy Director, Michael Scurato. The D.C. Circuit Court opinion is available here. Background materials on network neutrality are available here.