Malkia Cyril, founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice, has been on the frontline of the fight for a free and fair internet for more than 15 years. They helped put the phrase “net neutrality” on the map. That’s why we asked Cyril—who played a major part in the push to get the Obama administration to pass net neutrality rules—how the FCC’s repeal of the regulations will affect the lives and political power of marginalized people. Here’s what they said, via email:
“Today, communities of color, women, rural communities, low income people and all those who rely on an open internet to seek opportunity and participate in democracy were dealt a serious blow when the Republican majority FCC repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules.
“These constituencies, more than most, will suffer from the higher internet and cable prices and the pay-for-play Internet service they are likely to be subjected to without net neutrality rules to prohibit it. Even more concerning: By giving virtual monopolies more power, competition will decrease, disproportionately harming rural communities and all of us who often only have one provider to choose from.
“Movements fighting for rights and justice for these groups will suffer too from the slowing down and blocking of content and the preferential treatment that paid content is likely to receive over content that is free and available to the public. What happens to the Black voters of Alabama who surely used the open internet to turn the tide in that race? Or the #MeToo movement that used the open internet to speak truth to power? The movements against police violence and for a clean Dream Act will all suffer if they don’t have a fair and unbiased platform on which to speak.
“But activists won’t stop fighting. We’ll see the FCC in court, we’ll demand Congress reject this repeal, and we’ll stay in the street until justice is done.”