Court Decision to Uphold Net Neutrality a Major Victory for Communities of Color
Christina DiPasquale (National Hispanic Media Coalition): 202-716-1953; firstname.lastname@example.org
Timothy Karr (Free Press): 201-533-8838; email@example.com
Cayden Mak (18 Million Rising): 510-394-2342; firstname.lastname@example.org
Poonam Mantha (ColorOfChange): 646-200-5330; email@example.com
Steven Renderos (Center for Media Justice): 646-276-7544; firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON — Voices for Internet Freedom, a coalition of organizations representing communities of color, is thrilled with a June 14 federal court decision to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality rules.
Last year, the FCC adopted strong Net Neutrality protections that prevent internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from discriminating against, interfering with or blocking content online. And these rules ensure the FCC has the authority it needs under Title II of the Communications Act to enforce its rules.
The broadband industry sued the FCC last year to strike down the Open Internet Order, but the court today upheld it in all respects.
The Voices partners — the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange, Free Press and the National Hispanic Media Coalition — have worked for years to ensure that communities of color are heard in the fight to protect the open internet.
Last year, more than 100 civil rights and racial justice groups urged the FCC to adopt strong Net Neutrality rules.
This historic victory is also important because the court decisively affirmed the legal authority the FCC used to underpin the Net Neutrality rules, which is the very same authority the FCC used to modernize Lifeline for the digital age. The FCC’s Lifeline order, passed earlier this year, is an essential tool to bridge the digital divide and bring communities of color — who are less likely to have broadband connections — into the digital age.
Quotes from the Voices partners and supporters appear below:
Center for Media Justice Executive Director Malkia Cyril:
“Those who lost their lives at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, most of whom were Black and Latino, are 49 of the many reasons we celebrate the court’s decision today to keep the internet open. In moments like these, the dead need the living to speak for them. With a truly open internet, we can hear the voices of those who lost loved ones, organize vigils nationwide to honor their passing, oppose the hateful rhetoric that compromises democracy, and organize to prevent this from ever happening again. Today is a celebration of those whose voices have for too long gone unheard.”
ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson:
“Today’s decision by the D.C. Circuit Court to uphold the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules in full marks a historic victory for Black communities. Net Neutrality is essential to protecting our free and open internet, which has been crucial to modern-day civil rights movements and fights for equality. Our ability to have our voices heard in this democracy depends on an open internet because it allows voices and ideas to spread based on substance, rather than financial backing.
“This victory once again defies conventional wisdom that corporate money trumps people power, but there’s still more work to be done. ColorOfChange and our allies will continue to work tirelessly to ensure Congress does not stand in the way of these rules, and that the internet remains free and open for all.”
Free Press Senior External Affairs Director Joseph Torres:
“The court ruling means the internet will remain an open platform where we as people of color can speak for ourselves without needing to seek permission from corporate gatekeepers. Historically such gatekeepers have excluded and misrepresented our communities on closed-media platforms. This has caused us great harm.”
National Hispanic Media Coalition Vice President of Policy Michael Scurato:
“Today’s decision is a decisive victory for those who rely on the open internet to express themselves, organize, make a living, participate in policymaking, get a job, earn an education and do all of the critical things that we so often take for granted. Not only does this victory preserve the open internet, regardless of whether one accesses it at home or on a mobile device, but it reaffirms the FCC’s authority to take action that will help bring millions more online through Lifeline and other programs. Hopefully, rather than continuing to fight this losing battle against openness, entrepreneurship and innovation, opponents will now turn to constructive endeavors, like making sure that everyone in this country can access affordable broadband.”
18 Million Rising Media Justice Campaigner Mark Tseng Putterman:
“Today’s court ruling in defense of Net Neutrality policies is a victory for all Americans — but especially for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other communities too often pushed to the margins of this country’s economic, political and cultural institutions.
In our heightened political moment of xenophobia, Islamophobia, police violence and government surveillance, an open and equal internet is an invaluable tool for AAPI community-building, cultural expression and grassroots political organizing on our own terms. Today’s court decision affirms the foundations laid by last year’s FCC Net Neutrality order, reflecting a powerful and growing consensus that online expression must remain democratic and free from corporate interference, favoritism and gatekeeping.”