Hannah Sassaman was on Democracy Now! a couple of days ago and it’s a must read/watch/listen for anyone hoping to make changes to the nation’s media system. It’s far too rare to hear anyone articulate such a clear and comprehensive explanation of what we should be fighting for in DC: community-defined media.
In Immokalee, Florida, they have Radio Consciencia. It’s a farm worker-led radio station, where communities can get on the air, talk about indentured servitude in the fields of Southwest Florida and fight to get their labor rights enforced. That is the appropriate communications technology for Immokalee. MNN is appropriate for Manhattan. And we have all of these options that we have determined are important.
By putting all of these different provisions by the telecom companies and the broadcast industry fighting for all of these provisions to be on one bill, they’re trying to divide us. But we have proven that we can clearly articulate to our senators that we want to fight for low-power FM on Senate Bill 2686 and we want to fight for meaningful net neutrality provisions on the bill, as well as locally determined, municipally controlled public access television. We’re a sophisticated group of folks across the United States, who understand why media consolidation affects us.
She was speaking specifically about the LPFM ammendment to the Stevens bill in the Senate, which wound up passing 14-7. But she did it in a way that unified the various messages, rather than diffuse them. The problem with the bill is that it does not protect the open internet and it guts public access.
I’m speaking on a panel with Hannah at the Alliance for Community conference next weekend and I hope she says exactly the same thing because, along with Mike Weisman, we’re talking about community radio and municipal wireless in relation to PEG.
Hannah was great on the “We can do better: moving from policy to action in the media movement [mp3]” panel at the AMC this past weekend. She was also excellent at the bowling alley. Check the post on her blog about the AMC.
On top of everything, Hannah’s band, Kiss Kiss Kill is playing with my friends from Michigan, the Pussy Pirates, tomorrow night at Lava Space! (I’ll be checking out the Pussy Pirates at Club Midway tonight in NYC.)