The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“Fox has said it is not allowing customers of Cablevision’s Internet access service to connect to Fox Web sites or to Fox content on Hulu.com.
“It’s bad enough that millions of consumers in New York and Philadelphia are being deprived of programming distributed by cable. Blocking Web sites, however, is totally out of bounds in a dispute like this.
“This case shows the dangers of unchecked media consolidation and of a retransmission consent regime badly in need of reform. Consumers should not have their access to Web content threatened because a giant media company has a dispute over cable programming carriage. The anti-competitive aspects, particularly when it comes to online video programming, are glaringly obvious.
“The migration of a programming dispute to the online world should also raise red flags for the merger of Comcast and NBCU. If the combined Comcast were to attempt such a maneuver, millions of consumers all over the country would be hurt. Those government agencies evaluating the merger should be alert to the possibility as they decide whether the merger should be approved and, if so, with what conditions.
“Finally, we need to remember that the government’s policy is that consumers should have access to lawful content online, and that policy should not be disrupted by a programming dispute.”
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