Saturday, May 19, 2007

Postal Rates = Free Press

Rate hike pushed by media conglomerate Time Warner threatens small and medium-circulation publications

By Robert W. McChesney

In 1792, the United States Congress converted the free press clause in the First Amendment from an abstract principle into a living reality for Americans by providing newspapers with low postal rates. These low rates were crucial for the growth and spread of the abolitionist movement, the populist movement and progressive politics. More broadly, they have been central to development of participatory democracy in general.

Today, magazines like In These Times face an immediate threat to their financial health, and perhaps survival, due to a massive postal rate increase that will go into effect on July 15.

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