LISTEN TO JOSEPH TORRES HERE:
The principle of Network Neutrality is straightforward: there should be one set of rules governing the internet, not special treatment for the wealthiest. Net Neutrality supporters believe that the length of time it takes to upload a website should not be faster for those who are rich, and slower for those who are not. Despite being a simple concept, many members of Congress – as well as many unions and civil rights groups – are either against Net Neutrality or have remained on the sidelines of this fight for free speech in the 21st century.
Joseph Torres works for Free Press. He spends much of his time lobbying members of Congress on Net Neutrality. Torres is part of a significant and growing group of activists who refuse to sit idly by as the internet goes the way of prior media breakthroughs like radio and television, ending up in the hands of the most powerful.
Without Net Neutrality, Torres fears that the internet will become another victim of a corporate takeover, eventually resembling cable television. Torres said, “Cable television had the great promise of one day being this great information, communication system that was going to give everyone a voice. Cable has been carved up by the big corporations and has little value of actually providing real news and information to the public.”
While Torres presses the case for Net Neutrality on the Hill, he is up against the industry’s lobbyists who are far more numerous and better funded. The telecommunications giants – some of the largest corporations on earth – know that there are billions of dollars at stake over who controls the internet and they are spending huge sums of money to defeat Net Neutrality. Their largesse is not just finding its way into the pockets of politicians. Several civil rights groups have received major donations from these companies. These recipients, which purport to be about justice, have staked out positions opposing Net Neutrality in too many instances.
Unfortunately, it is not just civil rights groups which have sat on the sidelines. Many unions, despite the fact that they are regularly misrepresented by the corporate media, are also opposed to Net Neutrality. In order to make up for the absence of civil rights groups and unions in this struggle, individual civic participation is all the more critical. Check out savetheinternet.com or colorofchange.org to learn more and to join this fight for free speech and democracy in the 21st century.