This week a group from the Open Technology Institute (OTI) will join the thousands of media makers and journalists, activists, advocates, policymakers, and technologists convening in Denver at the National Conference on Media Reform. Every two years, lead media reform advocacy organization Free Press invites people from all over the world to connect, strategize, share skills, and brainstorm ways to reform media and technology to strengthen democratic practices.
The National Conference on Media Reform is the largest gathering on media reform in the country. Some of us here at OTI have attended every NCMR since it began in 2003 and for others the 2013 conference in Denver will be a first. The veterans of past NCMRs at the Open Technology Institute all agree: Free Press organizes a must-attend event for anyone who understands the importance of advancing media policies in the interest of the public and building accessible communications platforms for the health of our communities and the future of democracy in the U.S. and the world.
From community wireless networks to discussions about the hazards of media consolidation, to privacy on the Internet and the future of global media activism, the Open Technology Institute is thrilled to present and participate in the three-day conference.
Interested in learning how new technology can link cell phones and laptops to create a wireless communications network that operates independently from corporate or government Internet connections? Visit OTI’s Jordan McCarthy, Nat Meysenburg and Daniel Staples at theMedia Hacklab where attendees can tinker with a demonstration ofCommotion, a new peer-to-peer wireless mesh network designed by OTI.
The Open Technology Institute serves as lead evaluators of a broadband adoption program in Philadelphia funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which supported over seventy new public computer centers in Philadelphia. Kayshin Chan and Josh Breitbart are speaking on “Meaningful Broadband Adoption” with others working on BTOP funded projects in Detroit, Florida and Colorado.
Mark Lloyd, director of the Media Policy Initiative and Emmy winning broadcast journalist, will moderate the panel “More Diversity, Less Consolidation: How to Change the Media.” Joining the discussion is former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps and other leaders from the public interest community. Before coming to the Media Policy Initiative, Lloyd served as general counsel at the FCC. Also attending from the Media Policy Initiative is April Glaser, who previoiusly worked in community radio policy and will participate in sessions on low power FM and grassroots lobbying.
Two of OTI’s policy specialists, Patrick Lucey and Hibbah Hussein, will attend NCMR to network and make connections around topics ranging from community broadband networks to online privacy. Offering a fresh perspective on privacy and security, OTI senior field analyst Seeta Peña Gangadharan is presenting her latest research on privacy and surveillance of new Internet users on Saturday at the session “This Conversation is Being Recorded.”
Most of the country is limited to two choices when subscribing to an Internet connection at home, severely limiting consumers’ choice and driving up prices. Gene Kimmelman, director of the Internet Freedom and Human Rights program at the Open Technology Institute, will lead a session titled “Liberating Cable’s Captive Audience: Can Consumers Cut the Cord?” Susan Crawford, whom OTI recently hosted for a public event to talk about her new book, Captive Audience, will be featured as a panelist in this session.
Gene Kimmelman and Program Associate Sarabrynn Hudgins of the Internet Freedom and Human Rights program will hold an ancillary meeting on global internet freedom issues for international attendees. Also in the international arena, media policy fellows, Minna Aslama Horowitz and Jonathan Obar, will present at the session “International Activism and the Globalization of Media Power” to discuss global efforts at democratic media reform.
Sascha Meinrath, director of OTI, will speak at the conference’s closing plenary session on Sunday. Meinrath was listed as one of the top 100 in Newsweek’s Digital Power Index in 2012 and is internationally recognized as pioneer of community Internet projects and advocate of the public interest.
Below is a complete list of the sessions where staff, fellows and colleagues of the Open Technology Institute will present: