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Linda – Why did AT&T make this commitment to protect net neutraility?
Tom – They agreed to it because two of the FCC commissioners, Michael Copps and Jonathon Addlestein, insisted on making net neutrality a condition of approving this merger. The FCC is has five commissioners, and typically, Adlestein and Copps have been critical of media consolidation and deregulation while the other three commissioners have been more friendly to the interests of the large telecom companies. In this particular case, one of the commissioners, Robert McDowell recused himself from the vote saying that as a former lobbyist for a trade group of AT&T and BellSouth competitors, he wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. McDowell’s recusal created a two to two deadlock on the commission, which meant that AT&T had to agree to preserve net neutrality in order to win the votes of commissioners Adelstein and Copps.
Linda – We will link to articles on this issue in the news analysis section of the Catalyst Radio website.
Linda – A new press release by International Federation of Journalists declares 2006 to be the deadliest year for journalists.
Tom - the International Federation of Journalists, a group which represents half a million journalists in more than 100 countries, said in its annual report that 2006 saw at least 155 killings and unexplained deaths of media workers worldwide. Iraq continued to be the most dangerous place to work; 68 media staff members were killed there in 2006, bringing the total since the war began in March 2003 to 170. The federation also pointed to continuing attacks on journalists in Latin America, where 37 media staff members were killed, most notably in Mexico and Colombia. Thirteen journalists died in the Philippines, pushing the total of such deaths in Asia up to 34.
Reporters Without Borders, based in Paris, said in their annual report that 2006 was the deadliest year for journalists since 1994, with 81 journalists and 32 media assistants killed. A dozen years ago — the year of the Rwanda genocide — it counted 103 reporters killed. In response to this increase in violence, the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 23 passed a resolution condemning all attacks on journalists in armed conflicts and urging combatants to stop singling out members of the media and respect their professional independence.
Linda – In other media news, new data from the Census Bureau shows that people in the United States spend a substantial part of their lives consuming electronic media.
Tom - According to the new U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007, adults and teens will spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) next year watching television, surfing the Internet, reading daily newspapers and listening to personal music devices.
According to projections from a communications industry forecast, people will spend:
* 65 days in front of the TV * 41 days listening to radio * A little over a week on the Internet in 2007 * Adults will spend about a week reading a daily newspaper * Teens and adults will spend another week listening to recorded music * Consumer spending for media is forecasted to be $936.75 per person