Center for Media Justice

Digital Civil Rights Leaders Vow to Fight Net Neutrality Repeal

December 14, 2017 For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

510-698-3800 x 403

Washington, D.C. -- In an anticipated but devastating 3-2 vote today, the FCC gutted the Net Neutrality rules that keep the Internet open in the U.S., established in 2015, in a corrupt process that ignored calls from more than 18 Attorney Generals to delay the vote, and effectively put opportunity and voice for communities of color and low income families second to the demands of big corporations.

Despite millions of comments from Americans across the country in support of the wildly popular rules and polls that showed that the majority of Americans favor net neutrality, the FCC chose corporate profit over the people. Now that Internet Service Providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T have the right to tier service and censor content, the voices of independent artists, small businesses, rural communities, and everyday Internet users now face the real threat of exclusion. But digital civil rights activists won’t back down. They say this isn’t the end of the battle. Activists vow to sue the FCC, while continuing to demand that Congress right this wrong by standing up for net neutrality and repealing this FCC power grab.

The following quotes can be attributed to the digital civil rights advocates of the Center for Media Justice:


“The Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal net neutrality rules is a devastating blow to the civil rights of anyone who depends on the Internet to thrive in the 21st century. From movements against police brutality and for immigrant rights, or the artists and entrepreneurs trying to connect to a broader audience and the struggling families just trying to stay connected to each other -- our democracy, economy and communities will all suffer from this attack on our free speech.

But we won’t suffer in silence. The Center for Media Justice will join dozens of other digital rights champions to take Ajit Pai’s FCC to court to win back our digital voice. We’ll take action in the street if we have to, and do whatever is necessary to preserve the right of communication for communities of color, and all those with voices at the margins who, now more than ever, need to be heard. Ajit Pai does not speak for the majority of people in the U.S., he definitely doesn’t speak for me.” - Malkia A. Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice


“By ending Net Neutrality the FCC has decided to put profit over people. Ajit Pai has pushed through a repeal that only him and a few greedy corporations support while showing little regard for the millions of people all over the country that will be hurt by this decision. Handing control of the Internet over to companies like Verizon and AT&T ensures that poor families, rural communities and communities of color won’t be able to afford the first class Internet they need.

Over the past few months millions have mobilized to submit comments to the FCC, made calls to Congress or protested outside Verizon stores. In the face of overwhelming opposition to repeal Net Neutrality, Pai and the other Republican Commissioners at the FCC have simply chosen to ignore the majority of the country. They’ve also decided to overlook identity theft and possible Russian interference in the public comments process. This decision is an insult to our democracy as Ajit Pai and his Republican colleagues have failed to lead in a way that reflects the public interest. Eliminating the open Internet only serves the bottom line of corporations while relegating the rest of us to a second class experience online.” Steven Renderos, organizing director of the Center for Media Justice

The following quotes can be attributed to leaders in the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net):

"Today's vote to dismantle the rules protecting an open internet was meant to silence us.  It was meant to hurt everyone who is not a telecom company. It's bad for people of all incomes, races, and life choices. And if you organize to lift up your voice, if you fight for the least of us - the poor, people of color, workers and the middle class - this decision will silence you and discriminate against you.

Cities and states across the US have already begun to resist the Trump administration in so many ways, protecting our neighbors and lifting up local solutions.  When it comes to our very right to communicate, we will be no different.  

Here in Comcast's hometown, we've already forced them to expand discount internet to every poor person in the city that asks for it - and we've pushed all our local incumbents to fund digital inclusion work that breaks the digital divide.  We will continue to lead in Philly, and together with all of you, we will fight to build and protect net neutrality, and to ensure that everyone gets the right to communicate, and to be heard." - Bryan Mercer, Executive Director at the Media Mobilizing Project, member of the Media Action Grassroots Network

“The FCC's action repealing Net Neutrality is ripe with damage. It changes the very character of the Internet.

It fundamentally damages the Internet, wrecking the very neutral and egalitarian structure and culture that has made the Internet the most powerful and explosively growing communications technology in human history.

It slaps away the purpose of the Internet which is to allow everyone (the entire human race) to communicate with everyone else: learning from each other, inspiring each other, educating each other and organizing and mobilizing each other. At a time when the very existence of the human race is being threatened, this essential purpose is central to our survival.

Finally, it slaps millions of people in the face because millions have expressed their support for the Neutrality of the Internet affirmed by the FCC a short time ago after years of discussion, debate and litigation. With a tone-deaf slap of Chairman Pai's capricious deregulating hand , all of that effort and work has been flushed away.

It is at once an insult to so many people, an assault on all people and an aggression against humanity's survival efforts.

We at May First/People Link specialize in Internet work and we are committed to joining with hundreds of organizations and millions of people to fight back against this outrageous aggression making sure that it is impossible in the future.” The Leadership Committee, May First/People Link, member of the Media Action Grassroots Network

The Center for Media Justice is a national network hub of social justice organizations building a powerful movement for a more just and participatory media -- with racial equity and human rights for all.

The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), a project of the Center for Media Justice, is the largest multi-issue action network for communication rights, access and representation in the United States.