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Free Press advocate visits campus

Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the largest media reform organization in the United States, Free Press, spoke to Ohio University students about the changing media climate last week. 

Aaron's lecture was targeted toward one word – change. He spoke as part of the Free Press campaign to promote awareness of political media issues on college campuses across the nation.

"Aaron's presence was needed because students should realize that the current media system is in need of reform," said Bernhard Debatin, director of studies for the Honors Tutorial College's journalism program.

Debatin said he was glad that both the Scripps School of Journalism and the Scripps College of Communication sponsored the talk because it attracted more students.
During his talk, Aaron proposed looking to other countries for examples of reform methods, including a journalism "trust fund" financed by public tax dollars and private media organizations funded by advertisements.

Aaron said the United States ranks 17th in the world for its public expenditures on media, and the large media conglomerates are taking the freedom of the media away from the people.

He called attention to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a law that allows everyone equal opportunity to enter the business of communication. The act protects what Aaron calls net neutrality.
Net neutrality forbids the amount of Internet exposure and content to be controlled by a select group of corporations, hindering the freedom embedded in the Internet medium. Aaron said net neutrality recently stood on the chopping block of the U.S. Senate, who voted for upholding net neutrality.

"Net neutrality inhibits the growth of corporate Internet control," Aaron said in a Huffington Post article. "If we were to lose net neutrality, we would lose all of the great new things that haven't yet been invented or imagined."