Heading to D.C. to show decision-makers that Internet users ‘gon run this town

Heading to D.C. to show decision-makers that Internet users ‘gon run this town
Posted on December 11, 2014 | Open Media | Written on December 11, 2014
Letter type:
Blog Post

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Our own Meghan Sali is in Washington, D.C. right now to tell decision-makers that we'll never accept Internet censorship. Find out what she has to say.

This post is from OpenMedia and does not represent the Fair Deal Coalition.

On behalf of OpenMedia and our growing international community of supporters, I have been given a fantastic opportunity to deliver the voices of everyday Internet users to people in power. As you read this, I am sitting on a plane en route to Washington, D.C., where I will meet with some of the most important decision-makers in the world on digital rights issues, including negotiators from several participating Trans-Pacific Partnership countries.

At OpenMedia, we talk a lot about “delivering voices” of citizens to decision-makers. And that’s because it’s integral to the way that we are able to help people be heard and make change in our society. Whether the issue is Big Telecom’s Internet slow lane plan, the TPP’s extreme Internet censorship, or out-of-control government spying, we make sure your voice gets as close to decision-makers as possible.

So, to give you a sense of what we’re up to this time around, let’s quickly run through my itinerary. My day kicks off bright and early with an important rally to save the Internet outside the FCC’s main headquarters. Our friends at Free Press, Popular Resistance, Fight for the Future, and dozens of other groups are leading a huge rally outside their final meeting of 2014, to let the FCC know we need the strongest pro-Internet rules possible as soon as possible. If you’re in the area, be sure to join us at 9AM!

Then, over the next two days, I’ll be meeting with TPP negotiators from a range of participating countries, including Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States. In my meetings, I will make sure they understand the priorities of Internet users everywhere by hand-delivering the crowdsourced recommendations outlined in the Our Digital Future report, and making a strong call for greater transparency in the TPP’s secretive and anti-democratic process.

This call especially important as President Obama says he’s even willing to defy his party to push this agreement through. In response, OpenMedia supporter Dean Wilkins says:

“I give President Obama props for being intelligent and caring, but I DO NOT understand his support for TPP. How can he not see the dangers to life as we know it in the Americas in many of the provisions? Why so much secrecy? What's the rush?”

I’ll also be meeting with representatives from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee – quite possibly the most powerful committee in Congress – to ensure that they understand the negative impact that fast tracking the TPP’s extreme Internet censorship plan could have on Internet users everywhere, and what copyright priorities are for artists, entrepreneurs, and innovators around the world.

Then, after I’ve finished up with all my meetings, I’m off to RootsCamp to learn and share stories with people from around the world leading the fight for our right to communicate openly and freely online. It’s gonna be quite the tour. :)

Some of my friends and family have asked me, “So when you get in the room with these people, what are you going to say?” And, after a bit of thinking, I realized that my answer is pretty straightforward: Over 300,000 people from around the world took part in producing our crowdsourced plan – the Our Digital Future report. In contrast, the decision-makers I’m meeting with over the next couple days have overwhelmingly heard from big media lobbyists who want to increase their control over what we say and do online.

So, in light of this, my message is pretty simple: right now, we’re the ones representing real people, and you aren’t. So listen up. And together, you, me, and our gigantic community of digital rights advocates from around the world are gonna show these decision-makers that we ‘gon run this town.

Oh - and I’ll be sure to let you know how it went as soon as I’m back in my usual time zone.

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