Latinos Demand Internet Freedom Protection
WASHINGTON - A new coalition of over 40 national and local organizations representing Latino communities, Latinos for Internet Freedom launched today by filing comments with the Federal Communications Commission to keep the Internet open and protect Latino consumers.
As one of the fastest growing communities in the United States, Latinos number 47 million with nearly 19 million online. The groups say strong Network Neutrality - or open Internet - rules would allow Latino communities to reap the economic and cultural opportunity presented by what many have called, “the most inclusive, democratic and transformative communications system ever created.”
"Despite the efforts of some Internet companies to ask Latinos to trade their online rights for corporate dollars, it’s clear Latinos want the Obama Administration, the FCC and Congress to make good on the promise to preserve the open Internet and not cave to the demands of big business,” says Amalia Deloney, policy director at the Center for Media Justice.
Many Latinos may be unaware that Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are spending millions lobbying lawmakers to allow for online discrimination by killing Network Neutrality, the principle that prevents phone and cable companies from prioritizing their own content over others.
Latino groups across the country are speaking up to tell elected officials and regulators why an open Internet is critical to jobs, health, and opportunity for Latinos. At the same time the groups are also speaking out against a corporate takeover of the Internet.
Roberto Lovato of Presente.org, the online advocacy group that called on CNN to fire conservative host Lou Dobbs, summarized, “Without rules of the road that keep the Internet open, Latino consumers and websites like ours are left without protection or non-discrimination standards.”
The coalition is urging FCC Commissioner Genachowski to craft rules to protect Internet Freedom, and asking President Obama to act on his commitment to “take a back seat to no one” in his support for Net Neutrality.
“Our communities care about the future of the Internet, it’s essential now – like electricity. For Latino communities in New Mexico to have a future online, the Internet needs to remain open,” said Andrea Quijada, Executive Director of the Media Literacy Project in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Latinos for Internet Freedom seeks to leverage the voice of this powerful constituency to ensure that equal access and nondiscrimination remains the cornerstone of communication policy.
“I check the Internet daily to communicate with my family, to go online and listen to radio stations from all over the world, I can do my job online, and when I can't make it home for a holiday, my family can watch videos and exchange pictures over the Internet,” says Steven Renderos, Program Director at Main Street Project in Minneapolis and a leader in MAGNet, a local-to-local advocacy network of grassroots community organizations with over 100 member groups nationwide.
Latinos for Internet Freedom is a coalition of local, regional and national Latino organizations and leaders coming together to keep the Internet open and ensure the fulfillment of the creative potential of the Internet for our communities - jobs, healthcare, education, small business innovation and connection to our families, community and neighbors.