SOS: Save Our Spectrum for media freedom

I’m strongly committed to promoting media freedom, but have never been the placard-carrying, slogan-shouting type. Street activism is necessary — but not sufficient.

I’ve been more interested in studying trends and conditions, trying to anticipate what the next big threats, challenges and opportunities are, and how best we can respond to them.

For years, I’ve been writing and talking about the need for proper spectrum management as a pre-condition for media freedom and media pluralism. Last week, I once again spoke about these core issues at OUR Media 6 Conference in Sydney.

I’ve just adapted my Sydney panel remarks into an op ed essay, just published by the UK-anchored media website, Media Helping Media.

Here are the first few paras:

On May 3, the annual World Press Freedom Day will once again be observed worldwide, focusing public attention on a multitude of threats to freedom of expression through the mass media.

But amidst the extremely relevant and necessary slogans, we are unlikely to hear this one: Hands off our spectrum!

Yet saving our spectrum is critical for ensuring media freedom.

The electro-magnetic spectrum has been called the ‘invisible wealth of nations’ — conventional broadcasting relies on the fair, equitable and sound management of this common property resource.

And as economic and cultural practices move more and more into the digital realm, the spectrum’s value is only set to increase.

But few people -– even within the media profession and industry -– appreciate our dependence on this finite resource. Out of sight does seem to push it out of most people’s minds.

Therein lurks a danger: what we don’t see and value can be quietly taken away, without many of us realizing it.

Read full article and leave your comments

Added on April 18: anchored in the US has also just re-published the article. Read their version here

Added on April 19: Free Press.Net has also reproduced the article.

Added on April 20: FreePress.Net in the US reproduces the essay

Added on April 21: Bytes4All South Asian ICT wevsite reproduces my essay

Added on April 21: Reclaim the Media website also publishes the article
Thanks to everyone who considered it worth amplifying to their audiences — we need to spread the word! – Nalaka

One Response to “SOS: Save Our Spectrum for media freedom”

  1. Al Alegre Says:

    Great article, Nalaka. I sent it to the APC lists…Fred Noronha suggested I post it to the Bytes for All list…but I would rather you do it dont you think?
    In any case, congrats, and keep up the fine incisive writing…
    BTW–lets collaborate on Open Spectrum, part of our advocacy too


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