This book examines the reasons behind the declining fortunes of public access channels. Public access, which provided perhaps the boldest experiment in popular media democracy, is in steep decline. While some have argued it is technologically outmoded, Caterino argues that the real reason lies with the rise of a neo-liberal media regime. This regime creates a climate in which we can understand these changes. This book considers the role of neo-liberalism in transforming notions of public obligations and regulation of media that have impacted non-profit media, specifically public access. Neo-liberalism has tried to eliminate public forums and public discourse and weakens institutions of civil society. Though social media is often championed as an arena of communicative freedom, Caterino argues that neo-liberalism has created a colonized social media environment that severely limits popular democracy.
1. Public Access in Decline.- 2. The Frankfurt School and its Aftermath.- 3. Public Interest Standards from Radio to Public Television.- 4. The Emergence of Public Access Television.- 5. Neo-liberalism the Public Sphere and the Decline of Public Obligation.- 6. Access Under Attack: Some Examples.- 7. Looking Through the Wrong End of the Telescope: Internet Democracy vs Public Access.- 8. A Future for Public Access?.
Brian Caterino is an independent researcher who lives in Rochester, USA. He taught at SUNY Brockport, USA, and the University of Rochester, USA, and worked in public access for a number of years. He is the co-author of Critical Theory Democracy and the Challenge of Neo-Liberalism (2019).
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