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COMMUNITY CONTROL

THE LARGER PICTURE

Excerpted from The Minority Report

What is going on with public and community media-including television, radio, internet and print-is important for a lot of reasons. It is often said that a democracy requires that everyone have access to information and opinion. That has always been true. But at this moment, we stand on the brink of a breathtaking change in communication. Computer or "digital" technology is opening the door to interactive, back and forth, communication at all levels of government and social life.

Real popular control over community media is now technically possible. I don't claim to know a lot about that technology, but "we" regular folks had better set up some structures (local media committees, perhaps) to keep us all informed about what is happening. Our city councils and the county board of supervisors are and will be making important decisions about our public media and communications infrastructure. Much of the infrastructure (telephone lines, fiber-optic, satellite, cable modem, DSL, ISDN) is beyond the scope of this publication except to point out that public control over communications requires some of us, at least, to think about it.

Popular control of local media is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue, neither conservative nor liberal. The desire for more control over our lives crosses the usual political borders. Everyone wants it.

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King Collins
king@greenmac.com

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