Bill Moyers has a 90-minute documentary on Net Neutrality that will air over Public Broadcasting Service stations on Wednesday evening, Oct. 18. Check your local listings for time.
Here's a link to the show, called “The Net @ Risk.” Watch the preview, and you can get a feel for the show.
Moyers and his staff held an online chat this afternoon to talk about the show. The first hour will be a look at the struggles over the issue at the federal and state levels. The last half-hour will focus on how low-power radio stations kept information flowing in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina at a time when commercial stations were shut down.
Moyers said in the chat that while there's a great deal of public support for an open Internet, large campaign contributions have prevented Congress from acting, much as such contributions have contributed on a variety of other issues. Moyers noted that over time, each new medium has been promised to enlighten the public and further the goals of democracy, whether the medium was radio, TV or cable. Today, however, those are all controlled “by commercial and corporate interests.” He warned that, “If past is prelude, we shouldn't be sanguine about the Internet because large economic interests can move the agenda to benefit their interest and purposes.”
Producer Rick Karr, who did much of the reporting for the show, said there would be comparisons between Internet service in the U.S. and abroad, and of the struggles of local communities to provide their own service, even as local telecom companies opposed the efforts.
Coincidentally, the online chat, hosted by Free Press, took place a couple of hours after a news conference in which PK President Gigi Sohn, Free Press Policy Dir. Ben Scott, Amazon's Paul Misener and American Electronics Assn.'s March-Anthony Signorino discussed the FCC meeting later this week at which the Commission is scheduled to take up the AT&T/BellSouth merger and the Notice of Inquiry on Net Neutrality. Gigi's statement from the press conference is here.