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Media Issues Top Obama's Online Tech Agenda

By: John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

Network neutrality, media diversity, and parental control of the media are at the head of the new administration's tech policy agenda, at least according to the agenda section of the White House Website.

According to the revamped site, the new president and vice president "will work to ensure the full and free exchange of information through an open Internet." To that end, the first two bullet points are as follows:

  • "Protect the Openness of the Internet," which translates to "Supporting the principles of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet."
  • "Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligation of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum."

The third item is: "Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment."

Obama has long expressed concern about the media's affect on kids but has also made the point, in policy statements and in an interview with B&C, that he favored technological solutions. That is reflected in the wording of the first part of the item. "Give parents the tools and information they need to control what their children see on television and the Internet in ways fully consistent with the First Amendment."

All three were part of the president's campaign pledges but did not have so prominent a place on his campaign Web site tech agenda. Helping draft that agenda was Julius Genachowski, who is Obama's presumed pick for FCC chairman.

Also on the list are deploying next-generation broadband, one of the keys to the new president's economic stimulus package, and improving first-responder communications.


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