Broad Alliance Urges Obama: Put Public Interest First in Picks for FCC, CTO

An alliance of more than 100 public interest organizations, unions, musicians, bloggers and media and technology leaders sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama calling on his administration to appoint leaders who will reform the media and protect the open Internet. The letter, copied below, also highlights six key technology and media policy priorities he has previously supported in his public statements.

Obama will soon appoint the first-ever White House Chief Technology Officer (CTO), along with positions at the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and in the Commerce, Education, Justice and Agriculture departments.

Those signing the letter include members of Pearl Jam and R.E.M., and organizations like the Center for American Progress, Service Employees International Union, National Organization for Women, American Civil Liberties Union,, American Library Association, UNITY: Journalists of Color, the Hip Hop Caucus, and the Future of Music Coalition, among others.

The full text of the letter is below. Click here to see the list of signatures.

President-elect Obama:

We congratulate you for putting crucial media and technology issues in the public spotlight. Not only did your campaign embrace new technology and innovative media, you have embraced these values in your policy agenda. Your commitment and detailed plan represent a fundamental shift toward communications policy in the public interest. We happily offer our support and service in pursuit of our common goals.

We look forward to working with the leaders you will appoint to the White House, such as the Chief Technology Officer, the positions on the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, Corporation of Public Broadcasting and in the Commerce, Education, Justice and Agriculture departments. We urge you to select strong proponents of the public interest who will embrace and enact the policy proposals you made on the campaign trail to shape the future of the media, the Internet, the economy -- and our democracy.

Together, we have a unique opportunity to break with the past, lift the stranglehold industry lobbyists have had on communications policy, and put the public's priorities first. In your own words, you pledged:

  • Protect an Open Internet: To "take a backseat to no one in my commitment to Net Neutrality" and "protect the Internet's traditional openness to innovation and creativity and ensure that it remains a platform for free speech and innovation that will benefit consumers and our democracy."
  • Promote Universal, Affordable Broadband: To see that "in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online" by bringing "true broadband to every community in America."
  • Diversify Media Ownership: To create "the diverse media environment that federal law requires and the country deserves."
  • Renew Public Media: To foster "the next generation of public media," and "support the transition of existing public broadcasting entities and help renew their founding vision in the digital world."
  • Spur Economic Growth: To "strengthen America's competitiveness in the world" and leverage technology "to grow the economy, create jobs, and solve our country's most pressing problems."
  • Ensure Open Government: To reverse "policies that favor the few against the public interest," close" the revolving door between government and industry," and achieve "a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America's citizens."

The more than one hundred people who signed onto this letter -- and the millions more we represent in our organizations, workplaces and communities -- join your call to create a more vibrant and diverse media system and to deliver the benefits of the open Internet and new technology to all Americans.