As you may have heard, the latest round of secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks have been taking place in Malaysia over the last two weeks. As with previous rounds, the Malaysia TPP talks took place in an atmosphere of near-total secrecy. Citizens, public interest groups, and internet users have been completely excluded from the negotiations, which are taking place between a small cabal of old industry lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats.
Fair Deal Coalition members have been active on the ground and online to challenge the closed-door nature of the talks, and to sound the alarm about extreme Internet Censorship proposals contained within the TPP.
Big Media's extreme proposals would invade your privacy, criminalize everyday Internet activity, and cost you money. If Big Media get their way, Internet service providers could be forced to monitor their users and even disconnect entire families from the Internet for something as innocent as accidentally sharing a copyrighted recipe online.
As word spreads about these extreme proposals, citizens and pro-Internet organizations are fighting back, led by the Our Fair Deal Coalition, which brings together over 16,000 active citizens and over 30 major organizations from across the Trans-Pacific region. Coalition members are taking action online and offline to force decision-makers to listen to the public, not just to old industry conglomerates.
Fair Deal Coalition member Consumers International hosted a popular debate in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia to coincide with the TPP talks. A diverse group of prominent panelists debated for and against the motion that “The TPP will harm Asia’s growing digital economies”.
Over 40 people spoke on the night, joined by webcast participants from around the world. After much in-depth discussion, the debate was won by those who argued that the TPP would indeed harm Asia’s growing digital economies - read a full report from the debate here.
Coalition members were also active online, spreading the word on social networks about the harmful impacts the TPP’s Internet censorship proposals would have on our society and our economy. OpenMedia.org community member Tim Galli asked on Facebook: “Isn't it strange how the unelected get to determine our future?”, while Bob Settle pointed out that: “It seems wrong for the Government to be entering into secret trade talks, and it seems in recent history every time the Government has done it the result has been bad for most people.”
Canada’s Official Opposition Trade Critic Don Davies M.P. also weighed in to support the Fair Deal campaign, stating: “We deserve a #FairDeal. Let's work together to keep our internet open.”
To build on this growing momentum, the Fair Deal Coalition marked the end of the talks by launching an exciting new initiative designed to ensure citizen voices are heard. As OpenMedia's Awna Besan writes: “Our new Internet Voice tool seeks to challenge the restrictive nature of the TPP by inviting citizens, artists, business people, educators, parents, and people from all walks of life to have their say about what a fair digital future for all should look like.”
At the time of writing, it’s been just 48 hours since the launch of our Internet Voice tool - yet already thousands of citizens are speaking out, determined to shape their Digital Future for themselves. Citizens are taking the time to share their vision for a Digital Future that works for all of us - not just unelected lobbyists and old industry conglomerates.
Here at OpenMedia we’re working hard to pull together all this citizen input into a Fair Deal plan that decision-makers will find impossible to ignore - read more about what citizens are saying at OpenMedia.org/DigitalFuture.
With the next round of TPP talks in Brunei now just weeks away, momentum is rapidly building behind the campaign to stop Big Media’s extreme Internet Censorship plan and to open up the TPP to pro-internet voices. Don’t let a small cabal of old industry lobbyists decide your future for you - Speak out now and share your vision for our Digital Future today.