The reason dystopian tales are so appealing is they play to our deepest fears about a future where technology, greed and lust thrive unbridled by human compassion, social justice and environmental consciousness. Dystopian thrillers may be exhilarating, but only because no one expects to actually live that way. As the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to repeal Net Neutrality, I began to envision the future of public media in grim, dystopian terms. Net neutrality was a long time coming, but when it finally rolled out in 2015, the entire public media community breathed a huge sigh of relief. By requiring Internet Service Providers and government entities to treat all data on the Internet equally, net neutrality ensured public media would not be gentrified off the digital media landscape.
Sadly, in just two short years, we once again face the prospect of a grossly inequitable media terrain in which ISPs, not the public, get to decide who has access to what, at what speed and at what price. As an organization that helps provide consumers and educators with public media, and as supporters of content that tells stories about the Black experience, we at Black Public Media are deeply concerned.
Net neutrality is our best hope of ensuring the content we support gets shared on a level playing field. With it gone, public media will have a much harder time finding and serving its audience, and the digital divide will once again marginalize the voices of communities of color in the digital space.
Help us help save Net Neutrality. Write and call Congress to urge them to stop the FCC’s plan to end Net Neutrality.