The Assault on New and Alternative Media

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“Typing computer screen reflection” by Almonroth

-Eric Scott Pickard is a poet, artist, activist, and journalist. He is a co-founder of Free Radical Media, a host of the Free Radical Media Podcast, and a journalist with The Fifth Column News.

The Internet has been often likened to the printing press; a new technology that revolutionized communication and the freedom of information. But like the printing press, the Internet has also been the target of restrictions by those in the halls of power, who see freedom of information as a threat to their positions of privilege.

Why is this, exactly? What could possibly be the harm in having an informed populace? The danger, of course, is that people can find out what the agendas of their leaders are – and they, throughout history, have very seldom been aligned with the interests of those who are ostensibly lead.

In recent years there have been many attempts to restrict a free and open internet. Often framed as copyright protection laws, these plans would limit the options of internet users the world over and place control in the hands of corporate entities. There is also the issue of privacy, as government agencies monitor and collect communications, ostensibly in the interest of “national security,” and corporate groups gather data in order to sell advertising, and thus products. These are serious, dire issues, issues that we must have a continuing conversation about, and practices that we should resist. But this is not my current subject of concern.

My concern here is the freedom of the press. Lauded in the United States as something that is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of that country, freedom of the press I see, rather, as a basic human right. It is a basic facet of humanity that we possess language, and we communicate complex ideas via this natural capacity for communication. The limitation thereof, it almost always seems, is in the interest of the powerful, and indeed the powerful have always imposed these limitations, even on to the modern day.

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