WGAE Urges FCC to Maintain Net Neutrality; Implores Public to Submit Comments
NEW YORK, NY (May 18, 2017) – Today, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) filed formal comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the agency to maintain net neutrality protections — rules upheld by the federal courts that have laid the foundation for an open, free and robust Internet.
Upon submitting the comments, WGAE President Michael Winship and Executive Director Lowell Peterson said, “This is critical to free speech in our modern democracy. We implore our members and the public to submit their own comments to the FCC in support of net neutrality. Consumers and content creators have benefited from the FCC’s longstanding commitment to this principle which embodies the simple concept that powerful entities must not control what people watch, read and communicate online. Now more than ever, the American people need and deserve enforceable net neutrality rules, yet multi-billion-dollar technology, telecommunications, and entertainment companies are poised to bend those rules to favor their own immediate self-interest and continue to pump up record-breaking profits. This grab comes in a political environment increasingly hostile to individuals and news organizations that have the temerity to speak truth to power.”
The union’s comments note, “Our members know first-hand how the Internet has transformed the way content is created and distributed, the way people find and watch and read stories and programs and films. There is nothing more vital to American culture and American democracy than the preservation of a free, open Internet in which powerful gatekeepers are precluded from favoring or disfavoring content to further their own economic interests, to advance or thwart a political ideology, or for any other reason.”
The comments also warn, “The absence of any actual regulations in this framework demonstrates that the FCC will be asked to hand the Internet over, lock stock and barrel, to the multi-billion dollar corporations that are eager to transform it into a system of high-profit, low-transparency fast and slow lanes. The Internet would be left to the devices of a few enormously powerful and lucrative private interests. The Internet is the modern town square, the place people exchange ideas and experiences and build a democratic community. But it exists entirely on private property, and if the Federal Communications Commission does not act decisively to protect everyone’s inalienable right to access that town square, democracy itself will suffer grievously.”
The comments conclude, “The most profound innovations in Internet history were made possible precisely because of net neutrality, not despite it. Permitting powerful gatekeepers to control and prioritize what flows through this single pipe, at what rate and quality, has an enormous effect on what Americans watch and read and learn and write and communicate. Equal and open access is essential. Eliminating the Title II order will deprive the American people of precisely that equal and open access. “
ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and broadcast news. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.