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Strategies for Media ReformInternational Perspectives$
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Des Freedman, Jonathan Obar, Cheryl Martens, and Robert W. McChesney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271641

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271641.001.0001

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A Victory for Digital Justice

A Victory for Digital Justice

(p.107) Chapter Eight A Victory for Digital Justice
Strategies for Media Reform

Joshua Breitbart

Fordham University Press

In 2009, digital justice coalitions in Detroit and Philadelphia seized an opportunity to turn a new federal policy into a lasting transformation of the Internet’s role in their local communities. When Congress created the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), the media reform movement marked it as a major, but partial, victory. Considered a victory because the BTOP marked a dramatic shift in federal policy from a reliance on the private market to a more active role for the government in extending the benefits of the Internet to everyone across the United States. Partial, though, because the hard work of devising and enacting a new approach to the Internet remained. In Philadelphia and Detroit, the coalitions used the grant-seeking process to craft visions for how the Internet could better serve their respective communities, and turned these visions into successful proposals for the newly available BTOP grant funds. With the grants, the local communities formed relationships, developed skills and built infrastructure with which to take on new challenges. The digital justice coalitions proved a highly effective strategy for transforming the local digital ecosystem in response to the conditions created by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.

Keywords:   American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, broadband adoption, Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, civic hacking, Detroit, digital inclusion, digital justice, Philadelphia

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