House Commerce Committee to Mark Up Internet Governance Bill

The House Commerce Committee has scheduled an April 17 markup of a bill that would codify the earlier sense of the Congress resolution endorsing the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.

read more

UCC OC Inc. and allies move to block expansion of Securus predatory phone rates

The United Church of Christ, OC Inc. was pleased to join with Public Knowledge, Free Press and Rainbow/PUSH to block the purchase of the telephone company Securus Technologies, Inc. by the Hedge Fund ABRY Partners.  Securus provides phone services to prisons, and its business model relies on charging predatory rates to the families of prisoners, who have no choice but to pay high prices or forgo speaking to their loved ones.  The groups jointly filed a petition at the Federal Communications Commission last night in response to a filing by Securus requesting FCC permission to complete the proposed transaction.  Public Knowledge, Free Press, UCC OC Inc. and Rainbow/PUSH released a joint statement.  Cheryl Leanza, policy advisor for UCC OC Inc., said, “Predatory prison phone rates are a moral issue for the faith community—these types of businesses should be stopped, not allowed to expand.  Companies that invest in these predatory businesses risk endangering their public reputation.”


To learn more about predatory prison phone rates and UCC OC Inc.’s efforts to eliminate them, go to

The FCC faces questions and challenges as it awaits a new chairman

A Q&A with Phil Weiser -- a former senior adviser for Obama on technology and innovation, and current dean of the University of Colorado’s law school.

read more

Television set for a revolution

About 90 percent of Americans pay for television, giving them scores of channels to choose from, but four free-to-air networks they can pick up with a “rabbit ears” aerial still account for 96 of the top 100 primetime programs. Audience inertia and brand loyalty built over decades mean that ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC still account for 40 percent of all primetime viewing. Their unique ability to attract mass audiences, particularly for live sport, has kept TV advertising healthy even as advertising dollars fled other media for Google and Facebook.

read more

UCC OC Inc. to Honor Three Media Justice Advocates

For immediate release

April 11, 2013




The United Church of Christ’s historic media justice ministry, the Office of Communication, Inc., today announced the three media justice advocates who will be recognized this fall at the 31st Annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture and Awards Ceremony:


  • The 2013 Parker Lecture will be delivered by Hilary O. Shelton, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Policy Director NAACP Washington Bureau. 


  • Albert H. Kramer, founder of the Citizens Communications Center, will receive the Everett C. Parker Award, recognizing an individual whose work embodies the principles and values of the public interest in telecommunications.


  • Malkia Amala Cyril, founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice, will receive the Donald H. McGannon Award, given in recognition of special contributions in advancing the roles of women and persons of color in the media and in the media reform movement. 


The 2013 Parker Lecture and Breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. on Wednesday October 1 at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 945 G Street NW, Washington, DC.


Hilary O. Shelton brings a depth of experience and insight that should continue the Parker Lecture’s long history of inspirational and thought-provoking speakers.  In his current position, Shelton is responsible for advancing the federal policy agenda of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. He has been an outspoken advocate for diversity in the media and importance of communications policy with respect to vindicating civil rights.  He has been instrumental in the passage of such key pieces of legislation as The Civil Rights Act of 1991, The Civil Rights Restoration Act, The Violence Against Women Act, The Hate Crimes Statistics Act, The Native American Free Exercise of Religion Act, The National Voter Registration Act, The National Assault Weapons Ban, Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. 


Prior to joining the NAACP, he served with The College Fund/UNCF, also known as The United Negro College Fund, and the United Methodist Church’s social justice advocacy agency, The General Board of Church & Society.  He is a member of People’s Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington.


Albert H. Kramer has been a tireless advocate for the public interest in telecommunications since he left a large law firm in 1969 to found the Citizens’ Communications Center, playing a major role in OC Inc.’s own historic work during that era. The Media Access Project was “incubated” at the center during Kramer’s tenure, and he went on to spend 20 years on MAP’s board of directors, 15 of them as chairman. He served as director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection during the Carter administration, one of the agency’s most activist periods. During this time, the agency addressed a wide range of consumer issues, including used car sales, truth-in-lending laws, fair credit regulations, abusive funeral home practices and, for the first time, unfair advertising targeted at children. He also served as the founding chairperson of the Communications Consortium Media Center, and served there as a board member for more than 20 years. 


As a lawyer once again engaged in private practice, Kramer was a leader in firmly establishing the rights of private users and competitors to connect to what was then the monopoly telephone network and ensuring the right to nondiscriminatory treatment. In the wake of the divestiture of AT&T, his work on behalf of equipment manufacturers and other technology companies helped lead to an explosion of innovation on the edge of the network. He has continued to play key roles in advocating for the public interest in proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and during the months leading up to the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.


For the past 15 years, Malkia Amala Cyril has worked to increase the diversity and accountability of the media reform movement itself, and to help grass-roots social justice leaders, including women, young people and persons of color, learn the skills they needed to be effective  advocates. In 2001, she founded the Youth Media Council in Oakland, California, demonstrating the close connections between the political activism of young people and the media.  While there, she authored a number of important works, including an analysis of newspaper coverage of juvenile justice in California and assessments of local television and radio stations monitored by young people. 


 Out of that work, Cyril went on in 2008 to found the Center for Media Justice (CMJ), a national organization committed to creating media and cultural conditions to strengthen the movements for racial justice, economic equity and human rights.  Cyril later co-founded  the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), which brings together more than 120 affiliated organizations nationwide to advance a shared agenda for media justice. Through her leadership, CMJ has helped to equip the next generation of media reform activists through training, field organizing and grassroots education and advocacy.  The daughter of activists who instilled a deep appreciation for culture, movement-building and social justice, Cyril is also an accomplished creative writer, her work has been published in In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers, Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poet’s Café, and Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing. 


The Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture was created in 1982 to recognize the Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker, founder of OC Inc., and his pioneering work as an advocate for the public's rights in broadcasting.  The event is the only lecture in the country to examine telecommunications in the digital age from an ethical perspective.  Past speakers have included network presidents, Congressional leaders, FCC chairs and commissioners, as well as academics, cable and telephone executives and journalists.  For ticket information visit


The Cleveland-based United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination with some 5,700 local congregations, recognizes the unique power of the media to shape public understanding and thus society as a whole.  For this reason, the UCC’s OC, Inc. works to create just and equitable media structures that give a meaningful voice to diverse peoples, cultures and ideas.  Established in 1959, OC Inc. ultimately established the right of all citizens to participate in FCC proceedings as part of its efforts to ensure a television broadcaster in Jackson, MS, served its African-American viewers during the height of the civil rights movement. 

Parker Lecture Honorees 2013

Hilary O. Shelton

Hilary O. Shelton

Albert H. Kramer

Malkia Amala Cyril




United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc.

Cheryl A. Leanza, media contact

202-841-6033 (mobile)

US regulations hard on small phone firms, Sen Pryor, panel hear

While scattered populations and difficult terrain make it hard to provide phone and Internet access in rural America, government regulatory burdens are an even bigger problem, the vice president of Arkansas-based Ritter Communications told a Senate hearing.

read more

Broadcasters Circle Wagons Against a TV Streaming Upstart

When Chase Carey, Rupert Murdoch’s top deputy at News Corporation, told broadcasters about his contingency plan to turn the Fox network into something available only on cable, he knew policy makers would be listening, too. But a few of them were busy that day, meeting with Chet Kanojia, the very man who had provoked Carey’s stark warning.

read more

Arming Cable Against the Open Internet

Cable television companies are distressed about how quickly Internet and mobile viewing are stealing customers. Now, technology firms want to sell them ways to offer the personal choice of mobile, while justifying the goodies that come to someone who pays for a subscription.

read more

Silicon Valley lobby group draws critics

It is said to have a $1 million joining fee and boasts some of technology’s biggest names among its members – including its founder, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. But Silicon Valley’s latest attempt to form a lobbying group has been attacked by rivals in the tech sector as an interference in politics that risks attracting negative publicity.

read more

House panel set to debate CISPA

The House Intelligence Committee will meet behind closed doors on the afternoon of April 10 to mark up a controversial cybersecurity bill before it heads to the floor for a vote, which could come as early as next week.

read more