Headlines from the Feb. 2 radioshow: Journalists Beaten in Oaxaca, a Pro-Fair-Use Bill, The House’s Telecomm Agenda

Community Radio Journalists Beaten in Oaxaca
Two community radio journalists were beaten by state-supported militants in the Mexican state of Oaxaca on the night of January 24.

One was arrested. According to a report from the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, known as AMARC, the incident occurred during a confrontation between militants of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI, and the grassroots community council of San Antonio de Velasco in Oxaca. Both journalists report for community radio station Radio Calenda.

These acts of violence are part of an ongoing struggle between the former national ruling party PRI which is still in power in Oaxaca, and the popular movement that believes the state’s governor is illegally holding power.

AMARC says that this incident is one in a series of violence perpetuated by the Mexican state, which has used excessive force to attack freedom of expression, association and assembly, all of which have been widely documented by human rights organizations.

The state-sponsored beating of these two community journalists comes after a bad year in general for journalists in Mexico, where nine were killed in 2006, according to Reporters Without Borders. A significant portion of the violence against reporters happened in Oaxaca.

New Book Covers Oaxaca’s Popular Assembly

The ongoing popular resistance in that Mexican state is the subject of a new book by Nancy Davies, who appeared twice last year on this program. The book is titled “The People Decide: Oaxaca’s Popular Assembly,” and is being released by the publishing arm of NarcoNews.com.

The book brings together none months of Davies’ regular reports from Oaxaca, where she lives, and is compiled by George Salzman, who appeared with Davies on mediageek, and radical social philosopher James Herod, a member of the Lucy Parsons Center collective. The book includes an extensive introduction by Salzman, based on his own eyewitness experience in Oaxaca, along wit a special update from Davies appearing for the first time in print.

NarcoNews is a very grassroots organization that has been able to find the funds for an initial press run of 1000 copies. In order to fund a larger printing, NarcoNews is asking interested readers to reserve their copies in advance. You can find out more at NarcoNews.com

A Pro-Fair Use Bill

A bill that would undo some of the more odious portions of the Digital Milennium Copyright Act is due to be introduced before the end of the month by Virginia Rep. Rick Boucher. This bill, which failed in previous sessions of Congress, is supported by the Consumer Electronics Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge.

If passed Boucher’s bill would end the ban against using circumventing anti-piracy technologies for purposes that don’t otherwise break copyright law.

At the present time it is illegal to break anti-piracy tech, like the encoding on commercial DVD movies, in order to make a backup copy of the movie, or to extract a clip for use in a way that is legal under Fair Use provisions.

Boucher’s bill, which is not quite finished, aims to restore to people the ability and right to circumvent such encryption to make such legal uses of copyrighted material.

Predictably, both the movie and recording industry lobbies oppose the bill, and given that Hollywood is represented by many Democrats in Congress, there may be some bipartisan opposition in Congress too.

Laying out the House’s Telecomm Agenda
A little bit more of what the new Democratic Congress is going to do about the internet has become clearer. On Feb. 2, Massachussetts Rep. Edward Markey, the new chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, delivered the keynote address at Consumer Federation of America’s Consumer Assembly in Washington, D.C. In it Markey outlined his committee’s telecommunications agenda for this session of Congress. He emphasized making broadband internet service ubiquitous and affordable, and ensuring Network Neutrality with what he called “an open architechture that supports internet freedom.”

Fellow Democrat Rep. Rick Boucher delivered a similar, but perhaps more industry-friendly message earlier the same week, speaking at the Third Annual State of the Internet Conference. He told the conference, “The Internet must remain open and accessible to all, but we don’t want to hobble innovation within the network.”

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