By: Megan Miles
The way that radio and the internet have been treated by the government and service providers are eerily similar, yet vastly different. They are similar in that they are both under the authority of the FCC and its policies. Title 47 under the Code of Federal Regulations restricts everything radio communication encompasses, including antenna construction or rights given to employees. Like the internet, radio is influenced by the advertisers who invest in their broadcasting and they tend to advertise leaning toward the interests of that governing body. If you are listening to KFI AM640 in the morning on your way to work, which is a conservative news broadcast, you’re more likely to hear pro-life information than you are you hear a campaign program supporting Nancy Pelosi.
The internet was designed to be federal technology which was then released to the world and the government didn’t influence it one way or another. Today, we are struggling to find ways to keep the internet a fair space that provides for society, but websites like Facebook are changing the rules. I was recently proven that during the 2016 Presidential election, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter to the Democratic National Convention where he asked the democratic officials what he could do to help them win. They then gave him the task of censoring certain important names, places, and dates from the Facebook users. Since Facebook is a privately owned company, there was no regulation that could be placed on this censorship.
The first step to finding a productive way to regulate radio and the Internet is to see how people lived their lives before those services existed. Radio was the first wireless connection people had to one another, it is so deeply entrenched into our nation’s history. There are radios in almost every car and they remain relevant today because of sports, news, and advertisements. The internet was a huge adjustment for society, but we have also changed our skillsets in response to the convenience it allows for. You don’t even really need to leave your home for work, school, or grocery shopping in society today, why go to Albertsons when you can order it online instead?